EARTH A New Wild

(Rochester, NY) – EARTH A New Wild, a new five-part series that takes a fresh look at humankind’s relationship to the planet’s wildest places and most fascinating species, airs four consecutive Wednesdays, February 4-25 on WXXI-TV. The first two episodes air back-to-back on February 4 at 9 p.m., the final three air the following Wednesdays at 10 p.m. Dr. M. Sanjayan, a leading conservation scientist, takes viewers on a stunning visual journey to explore how humans are inextricably woven into every aspect of the planet’s natural systems. The series features spectacular natural history footage from the most striking places on Earth, filming encounters between wild animals and the people who live and work with them. With up-close looks at a range of species, from giant pandas to humpback whales and African lions to Arctic reindeer, Sanjayan reveals that co-habitations with animals can work — and be mutually beneficial.

With 45 shoots in 29 different countries using advanced filming techniques, the series provides all the spectacle of the best nature documentaries but goes a step further to capture encounters between wild animals and the people who live and work with them. These up-close looks at a range of species, from giant pandas to humpback whales, African lions and Arctic reindeer, uncover how people and wildlife –even top predators – can thrive alongside each other and be mutually beneficial.

Each of the five episodes Home, Plains, Forests, Ocean and Water visits a different, critical habitat in which humans are engaging with nature in new ways.  People in these “frontier” places are discovering new and surprising roles wild nature plays in our lives and the critical role people can play in restoring our natural world.

Following are descriptions of the five episodes featured in EARTH A New Wild:

  • Home airs Wed., February 4 at 9 p.m. Travel to the frontier of the wild to take a fresh look at humankind’s relationship to the great wild animals of our world.  Viewers will discover how captive-born pandas are learning to be wild and witness release of the first captive-born female giant panda into the wilds of China. From there, audiences will literally fly with vultures in the Himalayas, travel with Jane Goodall to Tanzania where she first began her work and where chimps and humans are now sharing the land, and finally, learn a shocking lesson from a community of people who live under the constant threat of man-eating tigers. “Home” reveals the threat human beings pose to our world’s extraordinary animals and their habitats, yet it also relays powerful, dramatic human stories that teach us that wildlife and human life can thrive side by side.   Here, on the frontiers, viewers will encounter a new kind of wild – one our very survival depends upon.
  • Plains airs Wed., February 4 at 10 p.m. The plains and grasslands of world are home to the greatest number of mammals on Earth and our breadbasket. They are also among the most endangered places on Earth.  Traveling to the great plains of the world – from Africa to the artic tundra, Sanjayan discovers that people and wild predator play an active and beneficial role to the revitalization of these habitats. Wildlife highlights include the first HD footage of rutting Saiga antelope on the steppes of Russia and the return of an ancient tradition in the artic: the castration of reindeer males not by mechanical means but by biting. Here on the plains, human-animal conflict is at its highest but so is the promise that humans, by mimicking or working with top predators, can restore these grasslands to their former glory.
  • Forests airs Wed., February 11 at 10 p.m. A journey deep into the great forests of planet Earth reveals a new way of looking at wild places and the people and animals that live there.  In the Amazon, Sanjayan travels deep into an uncharted area known as the intangible zone, home to previously “uncontacted” tribes. From there, he travels to British Columbia’s Great Bear Rainforest where he captures rarely filmed wolf behavior.  Then it is on to Portugal’s cork forests and finally, Sumatra, where frightening elephant battles are exploding. Viewers will discover that today, Earth’s great forests home to a surprising number of people and very likely supported vastly larger human populations in the past. What do these human forest dwellers know about how people can sustain the great forests – forests that, in turn, sustain the world.
  • Oceans airs Wed., February 18 at 10 p.m.Reporting from one of the most remote coral atolls on Earth  (Palmyra Atoll), the Bahamas, and from New York Harbor, Sanjayan draws deep on his own ocean experiences to reveal a vibrant community of scientists, engineers and fisherman who are discovering new ways help maintain the remarkable productivity of oceans. He is aware of the vast threat facing our oceans, but standing in the water playing mid-wife to a large lemon shark is just one of the moments that give him hope that we can turn around our influence on this, the wildest habitat on Earth. “Oceans” concludes in the New York Harbor, inviting viewers to reimagine what oceans can provide us in our ever-increasing numbers. 
  • Water airs Wed., February 25 at 10 p.m.  To unravel the dramatic connections between fresh water and the health of the planet, Sanjayan travels to some of Earth’s greatest bodies of fresh water.   Highlights include: the never-before-seen-on-television gathering of people, elephants and lions at the Singing Wells of Northern Kenya and Sanjayan’s epic kayak journey down the Colorado River from its source to where it dies out before reaching the sea. From there, viewers will discover why a depletion in fish stock in Lake Malawi is giving rise to HIV infections; meet the man who stopped the Sahara desert with an ancient use of nature; and witness one of the greatest ecological disasters on the planet:  the Aral Sea in Uzbekistan.

Pictured: Host Dr. M. Sanjayan in the rich mangrove forests of Sundarbans. Here the proximity of humans and tigers is having tragic consequences.
Credit: Courtesy of Joe Loncraine

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