28
Nov
2010

The WildLife: Orangutan Rehabilitation, Michelle Desilets, Part II

Michelle Desilets, Executive Director of the Orangutan Land Trust, discusses the rehabilitation of rescued orangutans and new approaches to help save this species in the second of a two-part interview. She tells “The WildLife” host Laurel Neme how a rescued orangutan learns to be wild with mesmerizing stories of the "school" at Nyaru Menteng Orangutan Reintroduction Project in Kalimantan, Indonesia. She also explores innvoative ways to help protect orangutans and their habitat. Michelle Desilets has been working on orangutan conservation alongside Lone Droscher Nielsen, the internationally well-known champion of these apes, for over 15 years. Together, the two women founded the Nyaru Menteng Orangutan Reintroduction Project which now has over 600 orangutans in its care, making it the largest such center in the world. Michelle also founded the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation UK (BOS) and served as its Executive Director and initiated a number of international campaigns to help orangutans, such as campaigns to end the illegal trade of orangutans and to repatriate known smuggled orangutans, as well as the campaign for sustainable palm oil.  Currently, she is the Executive Director of the Orangutan Land Trust. She also sits on several working groups in the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil and spends a good deal of time at the Nyaru Menteng project. This episode of “The WildLife” originally aired on The Radiator, WOMM-LP, 105.9 FM in Burlington, Vermont on April 12, 2010, and was repeated on November 29, 2010.

23
Nov
2010

The WildLife: Orangutans, Michelle Desilets, Part I

Michelle Desilets, Executive Director of the Orangutan Land Trust, divulges the interesting biology and habits of orangutans in the first of a two-part interview. She gives “The WildLife” host Laurel Neme an insider’s look at what makes these red apes fascinating, endearing, infuriating and worthy of protection. Did you know orangutans don’t like the rain? Yet they don’t complain and instead fashion roofs and umbrellas out of leaves. You’ll also gain insights into why these animals are under threat.

Michelle Desilets has been working on orangutan conservation alongside Lone Droscher Nielsen, the internationally well-known champion of these apes, for over 15 years. Together, the two women founded the Nyaru Menteng Orangutan Reintroduction Project which now has over 600 orangutans in its care, making it the largest such center in the world. Michelle also founded the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation UK (BOS) and served as its Executive Director and initiated a number of international campaigns to help orangutans, such as campaigns to end the illegal trade of orangutans and to repatriate known smuggled orangutans, as well as the campaign for sustainable palm oil.  Currently, she is the Executive Director of the Orangutan Land Trust. She also sits on several working groups in the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil and spends a good deal of time at the Nyaru Menteng project.

In this podcast, you’ll also hear Shawn Thompson, author of The Intimate Ape. Shawn is a university professor at Thompson Rivers University in British Columbia, Canada as well as a writer. To write The Intimate Ape, he spent years hiking through the jungles of Borneo and Sumatra and had many adventures — from getting chased by wild pygmy elephants in Borneo, to sleeping inside the zoo in Jakarta.  This episode of “The WildLife” originally aired on The Radiator, WOMM-LP, 105.9 FM in Burlington, Vermont on April 5, 2010, and was repeated on November 22, 2010.

15
Nov
2010

The WildLife: Wildlife Filmmaking, Chris Palmer

Chris Palmer, veteran filmmaker and author of Shooting in the Wild: An Insider’s Account of Making Movies in the Animal Kingdom (Sierra Club Books, 2010), exposes the dark side of wildlife filmmaking. He tells “The WildLife” host Laurel Neme about his experiences in wildlife filmmaking, its conservation impact, and how audiences are deceived as filmmakers take shortcuts to get their “money shot.” Did you know the famous shots of lemmings hurling themselves over a cliff in the 1958 Disney documentary "White Wilderness" was faked, and that the film crew actually threw the animals to their doom? Chris Palmer reveals the motivations for this type of trickery and why these deceptions can be both helpful and problematic. He’ll also discuss the implications of intrusive, on-camera hosts like Jeff Corwin, Steve Irwin and Bear Grylls, and what the sensationalized “fangs and claws” type shows, like Man vs. Wild, mean for wildlife conservation.

Chris Palmer has produced more than 300 hours of original programming for prime-time television and theatrical release over the past 25 years. His films have been broadcast on the Disney Channel, TBS Superstation, Animal Planet and PBS, as well as in IMAX theaters. He has many awards, including two Emmys and an Oscar Nomination. In 2004, he founded the Center for Environmental Filmmaking at American University’s School of Communication, which he now directs. Profiles about Chris and his book have appeared in many different media outlets, including National Public Radio (NPR), the Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post, as well as on Nightline, Good Morning America, the Today Show, the Fox News Channel, and other networks. This episode of “The WildLife” aired on The Radiator, WOMM-LP, 105.9 FM in Burlington, Vermont on November 15, 2010.

4
Oct
2010

The WildLife: Hawaii’s Aquarium Trade, Rene Umberger

Rene Umberger, dive master and activist, discusses the marine aquarium trade in Hawaii and its impact. She tells “The WildLife” host Laurel Neme that every year, over 30 million fish are plucked from their coral reef homes for use in the aquarium hobby, with over 1,500 species targeted. Nearly all, 98 percent, of these saltwater aquarium animals are wild caught because captive breeding is difficult, if not impossible. She also notes that the Hawaiian islands are a key source of reef fish for the aquarium trade because of its many endemic species. However, over the last 20 yrs, the state has seen declines of 14 to 97% of aquarium fish species outside of protected areas. Millions of Hawaii's reef animals are collected annually, although nobody knows exactly how many because collection reports are not always filed and none are verified against the actual catch.  In fact, experts estimate the true catch may be 2 to 5 times higher than 500,000 to 1 million fish reported.

Rene Umberger has logged over 10,000 dives as a scuba instructor and dive guide on Maui since 1983.  Her concern for Hawaii's coral reefs led her to develop projects to address impacts to these fragile ecosystems.  These include partnering with marine tourism, conservationists and educators to create interpretive materials and environmental standards for marine tour operations (which have since been adopted statewide). She’s also developed and organized, in partnerships with local fishing supply stores and the NOAA Hawaii Marine Debris Action Plan, underwater clean ups that have removed and partially recycled over 4000 lbs. of Ulua fishing gear from entangled corals along heavily fished shoreline sites. In recent years her work has focused on educating Hawaii's communities and leaders on the impacts of the aquarium trade and advocating for strong protections for Hawaii's coral reef wildlife. This episode of “The WildLife” aired on The Radiator, WOMM-LP, 105.9 FM in Burlington, Vermont on October 4, 2010.

27
Sep
2010

The WildLife: Bear Behavior & Emotions, Else Poulsen, Part II

Else Poulsen, bear expert and author of the book SMILING BEARS, shares her insights into bear behavior and emotions through stories about some of the bears she has known. She also details to “The WildLife” host Laurel Neme how she uses this knowledge to improve the lives of bears in captivity in this second of a two-part interview. Else Poulsen has worked at the Calgary and Detroit zoos and is known internationally for her captive bear husbandry and rehabilitation. In 2000 she won the Zookeeper Research Excellence Award from the American Zoo and Aquarium Association’s Bear Taxon Advisory Group. She currently lives in southern Ontario, Canada and works as an animal management consultant for zoos, sanctuaries, wildlife rehabilitators, and other animal welfare groups. She’s written about her experiences in an engaging narrative non-fiction book, SMILING BEARS: A Zookeeper Explores the Behavior and Emotional Life of Bears, which has been short listed for the Edna Staebler Literary Award for Creative Non-Fiction . This episode of “The WildLife” aired on The Radiator, WOMM-LP, 105.9 FM in Burlington, Vermont on September 27, 2010. (Part I aired on September 20, 2010.)

20
Sep
2010

The WildLife: A Zookeeper’s Bear Adventures, Else Poulsen, Part I

Else Poulsen, bear expert and author of the book SMILING BEARS, talks about her adventures as a zookeeper and her work uncovering the emotional lives of bears in this first of two-part interview. She reveals to “The WildLife” host Laurel Neme what makes these creatures so special – something she’s learned from years of raising bears, nursing bears back to health, comforting bears, communicating with bears, teaching bears, and learning from bears. Else Poulsen has worked at the Calgary and Detroit zoos and is known internationally for her captive bear husbandry and rehabilitation. In 2000 she won the Zookeeper Research Excellence Award from the American Zoo and Aquarium Association’s Bear Taxon Advisory Group. She currently lives in southern Ontario, Canada and works as an animal management consultant for zoos, sanctuaries, wildlife rehabilitators, and other animal welfare groups. She’s written about her experiences in an engaging narrative non-fiction book, SMILING BEARS: A Zookeeper Explores the Behavior and Emotional Life of Bears, which has been short listed for the Edna Staebler Literary Award for Creative Non-Fiction . This episode of “The WildLife” aired on The Radiator, WOMM-LP, 105.9 FM in Burlington, Vermont on September 20, 2010. (Part II aired September 27, 2010.)

23
Aug
2010

The WildLife: Wildlife Rescue Centers, Tracy O’Toole

Tracy O’Toole talks about the illegal international pet trade in Central America and what happens to birds, primates and other animals once they’re confiscated by wildlife law enforcement. She tells “The WildLife” host Laurel Neme about the challenges facing wildlife rescue centers and what’s required for successful rehabilitation and release of seized wildlife. Listen and hear how parrots rescued from the fate of being illegally shipped around the world must relearn to fly and hunt, why release sites are so important for success, and the psychological impact of the process on the animals. Tracy O’Toole currently serves as the Director of Wildlife Development Programs for the International Trade and Development Division of Humane Society International.  She oversees programs to build capacity in Central America for enforcement of laws to stop wildlife trafficking and for establishment and running of wildlife rescue centers. She also works on public education and outreach programs to combat illegal wildlife trade throughout the region. Before joining the Humane Society, Ms. O’Toole worked extensively in the fields of international development and conservation for various donor organizations including the U.S. Agency for International Development and Europe Aid. She holds a master’s in International Business, a B.A. in International Relations, and is fluent in French, Portuguese and Spanish. This episode of “The WildLife” originally aired on The Radiator, WOMM-LP, 105.9 FM in Burlington, Vermont on January 11, 2010 and was rebroadcast on August 23, 2010.

16
Aug
2010

The WildLife: Elephant Seals, Christine Heinrichs

Christine Heinrichs exposes elephant seals’ captivating habits and bizarre lifestyle as she takes us to Piedras Blancas elephant seal rookery on California’s central coast. She tells “The WildLife” host Laurel Neme how elephant seals spend 8 to 10 months a year in the open ocean and that, to find food, they dive incredibly deep, up to a mile underwater.  Twice a year they migrate thousands of miles to their land-based rookeries to give birth, breed, molt and rest. Listen as we meet some of these fascinating creatures — such as bull elephant seals who battle rivals for months only to lose out when the females finally come ashore and a courtly male who escorts his lady friend through hoards of suitors so that she can safely reach the ocean — and find out just how much we still have yet to learn. Christine Heinrichs is a docent with Friends of the Elephant Seal (www.elephantseal.org) who works at Piedras Blancas elephant seal rookery where she helps protect these large marine mammals and educate visitors about their unique characteristics.  She enjoys animals of all kinds, wild and domestic, and has written two books on domestic poultry, How to Raise Chickens and How to Raise Poultry, which focus on raising traditional breeds in small flocks. This episode of THE WILDLIFE aired on The Radiator, WOMM-LP, 105.9 FM in Burlington, Vermont originally aired on December 7, 2009 and was rebroadcast on August 16, 2010.

21
Jun
2010

The WildLife: Brazil’s Illegal Bird Trade, Juliana Machado Ferreira

Brazilian biologist Juliana Machado Ferreira discusses the illegal wildlife trade in Brazil. She tells “The WildLife” host Laurel Neme about the domestic market for pet birds and what role wildlife forensic research can play in helping to expose and stop this trade. She also discusses her genetic research into the DNA of four songbird species and how knowledge of their geographic origin can help with the rehabilitation and release of illegally captured animals. Juliana Machado Ferreira is a passionate Brazilian biologist who seeks to save the world one bird at a time. She is a TED Senior Fellow and is pursuing her doctorate in Conservation Genetics at the Laboratory of Evolutionary Biology and Vertebrate Conservation (LABEC) at São Paulo University. She also works with SOS Fauna. Her current research project involves developing species-specific molecular markers and population genetics studies of four passerine birds, with the aim to understand the distribution of their genetic variability and to track down the origin of birds seized from illegal trade. She works closely with the US National Fish and Wildlife Forensics Laboratory, and her ultimate goal is to help set up a Wildlife Forensics Laboratory in Brazil.This episode of “The WildLife” aired on The Radiator, WOMM-LP, 105.9 FM in Burlington, Vermont on June 21, 2010.

31
May
2010

The WildLife: Whooping Cranes, Matt Mendenhall

Matt Mendenhall uncovers the silly antics of whooping cranes, from their strange “whooping” call to their captivating mating dance. He tells “The WildLife” host Laurel Neme how, as “goats” of the wetlands, whooping cranes will munch on whatever food is available. He also reveals how their large size, about 5 feet tall, lets them bully other creatures yet how one tiny creature, a common fly, annoys the bird so much that it drives these massive birds off their nests. Listen and learn what makes whooping cranes so special, how these endangered birds are making a comeback from a population of just 16 individuals in the 1940s, and what scientists are going through – from dressing up in whooping crane costumes to teaching the chicks their migration route by following ultralight planes -- to turn this story of near extinction of a species into one of hope and success. Matt Mendenhall is Associate Editor of Birder’s World magazine. He has written about all sorts of birds — from the common Northern Cardinal and Varied Thrush to the endangered Whooping Crane and California Condor to the presumably extinct Imperial Woodpecker. He grew up in Omaha, Nebraska, and is a graduate of the journalism program at Marquette University. This episode of “The WildLife” was originally broadcast on The Radiator, WOMM-LP, 105.9 FM in Burlington, Vermont on January 4, 2010.