Endangered Species Handbook

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Video - Films

Endangered Species, General

Note:  The title is followed by the length, producer, distributor (if different from producer), and year film was made.  Unless otherwise noted, the videos listed below are VHS format.  Many are available in Beta, 16mm and other formats.  Some are on laser disks.
+ Indicates video sold or rented with teacher’s instruction guide.

"America's Endangered Species. Don't Say Good-bye." 60 minutes. National Geographic Society. 1998. 
Two photographers, Susan Middleton and David Liittschwager, who produced stark portraits of American endangered species for a 1994 book entitled Witness, became dedicated to the cause of these disappearing species.  This program follows them as they travel to a number of locations where they photograph rare plants and animals and meet the people involved in trying to save them.  One California plant, now reduced to a single specimen, must be skirted carefully to avoid damage to its delicate root system.  Bald Eagles still suffer the effects of DDT along the California coast, and the filmmakers show the incubation of eggs from a Catalina Island nest and the return of one of the few eggs that hatched successfully to the parents.  They visit a breeding center for Black-footed Ferrets, a California hillside where a rare butterfly is being bred in captivity and protected by a former street gang member, and an area of sandy scrub in Georgia inhabited by a legion of endangered species from Indigo Snakes to Gopher Tortoises.  This film avoids tedium with its lively narrative and interviews with experts such as Dr. E.O. Wilson of Harvard University, who waxes eloquent on behalf of saving biodiversity.  Middleton and Liittschwager captured fish, invertebrates and plants on film that had rarely or never been filmed before.  The threats to ecosystems from the loss of imperiled species are explained.  The uncompromising opinions expressed by the photographers are refreshing.  This film highlights the need for citizen participation in helping threatened species and educating themselves about the extent of the problem.  Ecotourism's economic potential might have been stressed more, since economic greed threatens the US Endangered Species Act, which is in danger of being weakened to placate its critics.
"Bird of Happiness." 60 minutes. Nature. WNET/BBC. 1987. (Part 2 of series "In the Shadow of Fujisan"). 
Although the focus of this beautiful film is the highly endangered Red‑crowned or Japanese Crane, the major problems threatening species in industrialized societies can be extrapolated from this example.  Human population growth crowds out wildlife and removes precious wetland habitat, replacing it with development, industry, roads and pollution.  Even the small reserve set aside for this species is not secure, and this film illustrates the importance of public opinion in influencing governmental decisions about what priority wildlife should have when conflict arises.
"The Edge of Extinction." 55 minutes. Georgia Department of Natural Resources. 1996. 
This film focuses on Georgia's endangered wildlife, with footage of the extinct Ivory-billed Woodpecker, sea turtle nesting, Florida Manatees underwater, American Alligators, Wood Storks, and many reptiles and amphibians that are ignored by most endangered species films. 
"In the Wild with Harry Butler." Series of 30‑minutes programs. Lionheart Productions, NY. 
A series shown on the Discovery Channel in the 1980s, the focus is Australian wildlife, yet the overall causes of endangered species are explored by naturalist Harry Butler in plainspoken, spontaneous dialogue.  Management of habitat for commercial forestry, construction of dams, loss of habitat from development, livestock grazing, introduction of exotic species and many of the same causes endangering species worldwide are part of each of the one‑half- hour programs.  Australia's settlement by Europeans was similar to North America's in method and effect on wildlife and nature.
+ "Vanishing From the Earth. Causes of Extinction: Past and Present";
"Consequences of Extinction"; "Saving Endangered Species." Three sound filmstrips, 16‑17 minutes each. National Geographic Society: Educational Services. 1986. Grades 5-9. 
Plants and animals that are disappearing and the consequences, as well as how people can help wildlife are discussed. 

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