150 years ago the passenger pigeon was abundant in the U.S. but by 1914 its numbers had decreased to just one. Today, you can find that bird on display in a Washington D.C. museum. We learn more about the route to extinction for this famous specimen from WAMU 88-5 news reporter Lauren Ober.
Radioactive Wolves: Filmmaker Klaus Feichtenberger takes us behind the scenes of his PBS documentary that chronicles the unlikely story of wolves and other wildlife that are thriving in the area surrounding Ukraine’s Chernobyl power plant, the site of a catastrophic nuclear accident in 1986.
It’s been called the largest mortality event related to marine diseases ever seen. But now scientists are close to solving the mystery behind the massive die off of starfish in the Pacific Ocean. Ashley Ahearn of Oregon Public Broadcasting’s EarthFix project tells us more.
Science historian Laurel Braitman describes herself as someone who “spends a lot of time thinking about humans thinking about other animals thinking about us.” Dr. Braitman’s extensive study of and personal experiences with pets and wildlife has revealed a singular perspective on the subject of animals and mental illness. And her new book, "Animal Madness: How Anxious Dogs, Compulsive Parrots and Elephants in Recovery Help Us Understand Ourselves" is a best seller. Braitman tells us how to identify psychological disorders in non-human species and she suggests several therapeutic options.
We know less about what’s in our oceans than we do about outer space; only about 5 percent of the ocean floor—and about a half a percent of the ocean itself—has been explored. Much of the knowledge we have about the pelagic universe can be found with oceanographer Sylvia Earle, affectionately known as “Her Deepness." Earle shares more than 60 years of unlocking the mysteries of the sea in a new documentary, Mission Blue. We have a preview of the film with a little help from Ms. Earle and celebrated director Robert Nixon.
Saving Chesapeake Oysters From Impending DOOM:The Chesapeake Bay is the largest oyster-producing body of water in the United States but the future for the bay’s ancient mollusks is dim; one estimate puts their population at less than 1 percent of historical levels. One of the suspected causes is a rapid depletion of oxygen, referred to as Dissolved Oxygen Oyster Mortality. The laboratory where researchers are working to understand the problem is known as The Room of DOOM. We sent WAMU reporter Jonathan Wilson to have a look at the groundbreaking science that takes place there.
Joyce Poole is the world’s foremost elephant researcher and a National Geographic Explorer. Her brother Bob Poole is a celebrated wildlife filmmaker. In recognition of World Elephant Day 2014, we speak to them about their efforts to protect African elephants.
The Loh Down On Science: Sandra Tsing Loh introduces us to Joshua Plotnik from Emory University, who studied dozens of Asian elephants in Thailand. Plotnik found out that when the world’s largest land animals panic, they emote a low-frequency, “I’m having a meltdown” rumble that is a highly sophisticated way of communicating their feelings to other elephants.