Nature: Season 27 (2008 - 2009)

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Season 27
Nature

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Episodes

Air date: Oct 26, 2008

The nature documentary White Falcon, White Wolf journeys to Ellesmere Island, in the northernmost reaches of Canada near the Arctic Circle. Regarded as one of the last areas of pure, unspoilt wilderness on the planet, Ellesmere serves as the home to a number of precious species. But it also falls prey, each year, to a terse spring followed by an interminable, hostile winter - a circumstance that renders the mating period for inhabitants extremely precarious. This program hones in on two residential species of Ellesmere - the Gyrfalcon and the White Wolf. In the first segment (filmed in HD on a cliff across from a nesting site), a breeding pair of Gyrfalcons attempt to hatch a pair of chicks, when in the prior year, conditions led to the starvation of two babies. In the second segment, a pack of Arctic Wolves await a sign that the den-inhabiting female has successfully parented babies - but the young female cub, once born, seems prone to constant danger given her unending curiosity.

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Air date: Nov 10, 2008

F. Murray Abraham hosts this fascinating look at the surprising intelligence found in monkeys. Traveling all over the world, from Africa to South America, the film examines the clever and mischievous behavior of different species of monkeys, discovering that certain traits once thought to be specific to humans - traits like complex reasoning, the use of tools, and emotions like love, fear, and anger - are all exhibited by these smart primates.

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Air date: Nov 16, 2008

F. Murray Abraham hosts this in-depth look at a year in the life of one American bald eagle. Hunted almost to extinction in the 1960's, protective laws and efforts by wildlife conservationists have helped increase the population of the United States' national bird, whose every behavior is just as fascinating as its iconic image.

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Air date: Nov 23, 2008

It marked an unusual and seldom-discussed battle between animal and man: in the year 1893, the bounty hunter Ernest Thompson Seton hearkened out to the rugged canyons of New Mexico to slay a wolf alternately christened "Lobo" and "King of the Currumpaw" by the locals. Lobo courted a legendary reputation as one of the most fearsome beasts in the Old West, notorious for terrorizing ranchers, devouring cattle, and - incredibly - cheating death. The beast eluded trap after trap, prompting nearby residents to solicit naturalist and animal trapper Seton's help. But Seton carried his mission one step further than originally intended, vowing not simply to kill Lobo, but to single-handedly wipe out the entire species. This program documents this astonishing and disturbing story, and reveals how Seton's wolf extermination inadvertently laid the groundwork for the wilderness preservation movement of the 20th and 21st centuries.

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Air date: Jan 11, 2009

Romulus "Rom" Whitaker sustains a reputation as one of the world's most respected herpetologists (scientists who study reptiles and amphibians). But his fascination blossomed from a most unusual source: as a child, he fantasized constantly about validating the existence of real-life dragons. As an adult, this desire evolved into something far more plausible and tangible: Whitaker's quest to chart the actual origins of dragon myths. His love of herpetology inspired him to found the first crocodile bank and snake park in India (a breeding ground for reptiles in the wild), which set a remarkable precedent for wildlife sanctuaries around the globe. This documentary follows Whitaker in a search for contemporary "dragons." He journeys to Slovenian caves, where he encounters the olm - a blind, nocturnal salamander once mistaken for a baby dragon. He then heads off to the rainforest in the Western Ghats of India, where he handles and examines Draco lizards with bright yellow flaps on their necks that extend when the males are threatened or courting. And finally, Whitaker journeys to the Komodo Island of Indonesia, where he encounters the venomous, carnivorous and incredibly dangerous Komodo Dragon - the largest known lizard on Earth.

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Air date: Jan 25, 2009

Intrepid researchers and cameramen track skunks day and night, uncovering how they hunt, forage, mate and raise their young - all the things they're up to when they're not spraying the local dog.

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Air date: Feb 8, 2009

South Africa's Drakensberg mountain range is a geologically unique landscape whose harsh physical terrain is nonetheless home to a diverse collection of flora and fauna. This nature documentary focuses on one of the Drakensberg's animal inhabitants, the eland species of antelope, which makes a yearly migration to the mountains' peaks in search of food.

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Air date: Feb 15, 2009

In this episode of the Nature documentary series, Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Ellen Goosenberg Kent explores the enduring bond between humans and domesticated cats and dogs through the personal stories of pet owners and the animals they love.

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Air date: Mar 29, 2009

This combination nature and travel documentary ventures out to the Kilauea volcano on the Hawaiian island of Hawai'i. A formation that first began erupting in 1983, Kilaeuea now sustains a reputation as the world's single most active volcano. In the 26 years that spanned 1983 to 2009, the volcano consumed an estimated 200 residential homes, but more intriguingly, it also created 544 acres of new land in the process - making it more productive than destructive and qualifying it as one of nature's most intriguing but least understood phenomena. This program witnesses the spectacular eruptions and the devastation regularly wrought, but director Paul Atkins also fixes his lens on the explosive union of 2,000 degree lava and 75 degree ocean water.

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Air date: Apr 5, 2009

Learn how worldwide die-offs of frogs have prompted scientists to take desperate measures.

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