When thunderclouds begin to gather over Botswana’s Kalahari Desert each year, 20,000 zebras get itchy feet. As the first fat raindrops hit the dust, southern Africa’s biggest animal migration gets underway. In a never-ending quest for grass and water, the striped herds undertake an annual epic trek across the vast lunar landscape of the Kalahari’s Makgadikgadi Pans.
Filmed in Panama, Costa Rica and Colombia, this is a story of friendship between a journalist and the sloth she named Velcro and a network of people working to learn more about sloths in order to protect them. Once largely ignored, sloths have become a hot topic of scientific researchers. New studies show that they’re not so “sloth-like” after all: despite their reputation, sloths in fact sleep only about as much as humans do and are much more active in the wild than they are in captivity. Other studies have shown sloths are not as solitary as we thought, that they have social structures and that males even keep small harems of females. New research into the gait of sloths has revealed another surprise. X-ray images and photographic analysis show that sloths actually move just like primates, only upside-down.
With news of another dolphin encounter program coming to Hawai‘i, INSIGHTS ON PBS HAWAI‘I examines the debate over marine mammals’ life in captivity. Is it right to hold marine mammals in captivity for entertainment or research purposes? Dolphins, sea lions, and seals are mainstay attractions at venues across the country. Proponents say the dolphins, sea lion, seals and other animals are safely cared for and they highlight the need for conservation; opponents say the animals suffer from overwork and abuse.
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