Films on Animals

ANIMAL INTELLIGENCE:

Koko  (2004)

Documentary Nature 2004 NR 60 minutes. In the 1970s, a gorilla named Koko taught scientists much more than they’d imagined about how animals, humans included, communicate. This documentary, part of the popular Nature series and narrated by Martin Sheen, examines how Koko interacts with the doctors who studied her, including lead researcher Penny Patterson, with whom she forged a strong bond. By letting viewers in, Koko flung the doors wide open to the world of communication. See Full Review

Koko: A Talking Gorilla  (1978)

Documentary 1978 NR 80 minutes. At the tender age of 3, a female gorilla named Koko was brought to Stanford University, where she learned to communicate through American Sign Language, astounding the world with her ability to “talk.” This fascinating documentary from acclaimed director Barbet Schroeder and cinematographer Nestor Almendros tracks Koko’s early years and shines a light on her controversial work with tutor Dr. Penny Patterson.

The Whale

Documentary 2011 G 1hr 25m. This documentary introduces Luna, a wild killer-whale living off Vancouver Island who befriends a community. His presence there draws conflicted emotions. This wonderful film shows many loving and playful interactions between Luna and people, in a beautiful Pacific Northwest setting.  The way this Orca interacted with us (humans) is far beyond what is usual in the wild. The fact that this highly intelligent mammal sought people out for attention and affection, then communicated and interacted with them, is astounding. Such an amazing creature. See Full Review

Project Nim

Documentary 2011 PG-13 93 minutes. Oscar-winning filmmaker James Marsh peers inside the landmark 1970s experiment for an unflinching look at Nim, the chimp whom scientists raised as human and taught sign language to prove that apes can communicate like humans.

Ape Genius

Documentary Nova 2008. An investigation concerning the great apes intellectual abilities which include bonbos, chimps, gorillas, and orangutans, plus a look at why the ape culture has yet to evolve. Includes an experiment comparing toddlers and chimpanzees, film of apes in their natural habitats and the surprising way they act, from the holding of a pool party to a mother grieving for her dead offspring.

How Smart are Animals?

Documentary Nova Science Now 2011 NR 60 minutes. Astrophysicist and ubiquitous smart guy Neil deGrasse Tyson hosts this fascinating installment of “Nova scienceNOW” that explores the depth of animal intelligence, proving that non-human species are a lot smarter than we give them credit for. Highlights include a dog that knows more than 1,000 words, a school of dolphins that take teamwork to a whole new level, and a talking parrot with a knack for reason.

Animal Misfits

Documentary, 2014, “Nature” Series, TV-PG, 56min. A collection of animals that differ from the normal evolutionary adaptations from the mainstream biome is presented in this fast-paced and very engaging offering. They examine in a rapid-fire manner the special niches these strange and wonderful creatures have carved out for themselves in order to survive in what would initially seem to be very unlikely ways for sometimes millions of years.

Parrot Confidential

Documentary Nature 2013 TV-G 53m. From the wilds of Costa Rica to the suburbs of our own country, parrot owners, rescuers, breeders, and biologists involved in conservation programs share their stories and the stories of their parrots in this bittersweet and unforgettable film. What an interesting documentary about these smart birds. As people have found out, they really should be out there flying free than locked up in a birdcage, eyeing all that freedom they can’t have.  A look at the real problem that many new uninformed parrot aficionados are not often aware of. If you are interested in owning a bird in the near future I urge you to watch this, if you still want a bird afterwards, then adopt or rescue one and be prepared for the commitment and time and patience that these intelligent animals need. The film was entertaining and informative throughout, no dull moments. Worth catching!

Meet the Coy-wolf

Documentary Nature 2014 TV-G 53m. Coy by name, coy by nature: Scientists track a stealthy new hybrid predator that has adapted and evolved over a relatively short period of time.  Beautifully done film showing an incredible predator. The Coywolf — a hybrid, part wolf and part coyote has become magnificently adapted to humans and even urban areas. What is somewhat remarkable, recent, and pointed out by this documentary, is the population of Coywolves that are becoming more abundant near human populations. The Chicago segment is very telling how this coy species has adapted to live alongside, yet avoid humans in daylight and at night. And, yes, New York City. My own urban environment has its Eastern wolves and coyotes dwelling alongside busy rail-yards and occasionally spotted in inner city neighborhoods and suburbs. Helps keep us from being up to armpits in rodents and other vermin. I am so pleased this animal is thriving after learning that our grandfathers’ generation nearly exterminated the wolf. Such magnificent animals. Would much rather have them in our urban areas than rodents — that’s for sure. I hope that we will find a way to live with these beautiful animals. If we can solve the problem that Ranchers and Farmer’s have with the WOLF, then perhaps we can leave them alone and let them do their jobs in the wild and allow us all the wonder of them. Another thought-provoking, informative, unbiased Nature documentary. Great for all ages. This is one of the best PBS documentaries, ever!

My Life as a Turkey

Documentary “Nature” series 2011 NR 51 minutes. When naturalist Joe Hutto became “mother” to a clutch of 16 wild turkey eggs, he had no idea of the heartache and joy that were to become part of his daily existence for the next 18 months, as he raised the chicks and helped them leave the nest. See also: “Living with the Mule Deer of Deadman Gulch.”

Touching the Wild:
Living with the Mule Deer of Deadman Gulch

Documentary “Nature” series 2014 TV-PG 53m. Naturalist Joe Hutto taps into a new understanding of mule deer by living with a herd in the Wind River mountains of Wyoming for almost seven years. Joe spent years getting to know this herd. He had names for each one and they knew their name. What an honor for him to have been accepted as one of their family. They were a wild herd and they knew to avoid man for their own safety, but they came right up to Joe. If you like animals and the great outdoors, this is your film.
See also: “My Life as a Turkey.”

Raccoon Nation

Documentary Nature 2011 NR 52m. The question being asked in this film is – “Are people, in an effort to outwit raccoons, actually making them smarter and unwittingly contributing to their evolutionary success?” Are the ever more complex obstacles that our fast-paced, urban world throws at them actually pushing the development of raccoon brains?

Dogs Decoded

Documentary Nova 2010. Dogs have been domesticated for longer than any other animal on the planet, and humans have developed a unique relationship with these furry friends. We treat our pets like a part of the family, and we feel that they can understand us in a way other animals cannot. Now, new research is revealing what dog lovers have suspected all along: Dogs have an uncanny ability to read and respond to human emotions. What is surprising, however, is new research showing that humans, in turn, respond to dogs with the same hormone responsible for bonding mothers to their babies. How did this incredible relationship between humans and dogs come to be? And how can dogs, so closely related to fearsome wild wolves, behave so differently? It’s all in the genes. Dogs Decoded investigates new discoveries in genetics that are illuminating the origin of dogs—with revealing implications for the evolution of human culture as well. Nova also travels to Siberia, where the mystery of dogs’ domestication is being repeated—in foxes. A 50-year-old breeding program is creating an entirely new kind of creature, a tame fox with some surprising similarities to man’s best friend. Dogs Decoded reveals the science behind the remarkable bond between humans and their dogs and spurs new questions about what this could mean for our relationships with other animal species.

Science of Dogs

Documentary National Geographic 2007 TV-PG 45m. Long known as “man’s best friend,” there are more varieties of dogs than any other species on Earth. This documentary takes a closer look at the history of dogs, and how humans have taken an active role in shaping their appearance and behavior. An installment of National Geographic’s “Explorer” series, the program explains how mankind manipulates science in the interest of creating the perfect pet.

Dogs That Changed the World

Documentary 2007 TV-PG 108 minutes. Man’s best friend is the subject of this in-depth program narrated by actor F. Murray Abraham. Learn how dogs have transformed from fierce, untamable beasts centuries ago to become the preferred pet for more than 750 million people worldwide. In addition to exploring where dogs came from, this informative program looks at where modern technology will be taking dogs in the future. “Dogs That Changed The World” is an outstanding documentary tracing the beginning of the canine to about fifteen thousand years ago when the first wolves stepped out of the forest and approached man. Man hunted but it was the dog who found the prey…the Eskimos of the Arctic could not have survived without their sled dogs who could find home even in the blinding white landscape where man cannot differentiate between the earth and sky. Narrated by Academy Award winner, F. Murray Abraham, this NATURE miniseries is not only for people who love dogs but also for those who enjoy anthropology and how the emergence of the canine was influential in the very survival of early mankind. There are several noted canine specialists and some amazing early footage from the former Soviet Union. Dogs are the first species that have been domesticated and more than 750 million of us share our lives with them. The second part of the series concentrates more specifically on the future of dogs and the now 400 recognized breeds. Fascinating and educational, this is a beautifully filmed documentary with the wolves and all the dogs from various countries in their natural habitat. Excellent. Very Highly Recommended.

Buck

Documentary 2011 PG 88 minutes. Buck Brannaman, inspiration for “The Horse Whisperer,” is revealed as a complex figure in this Sundance Audience Award winner for Best Documentary by Cindy Meehl. The master horseman reveals details of his troubled childhood and his dawning awareness of new ways that humans and horses might work with one another. As Buck learns more about horses, he finds that the ways we communicate with our animal companions offer lessons on how we relate to fellow human beings.

Running Wild:
The Life of Dayton O. Hyde

Documentary 2013 NR 1hr32m. Dedicated to trying to protect wild horses in the Black Hills of South Dakota, Dayton Hyde emerges as a unique brand of hero in this bio-documentary.

Killer Whales

Documentary 2010 TV-PG 43m. Highly social, intelligent, and highly deadly, orcas are the ocean’s greatest predators — and far more dangerous than their Sea World training may suggest.

The Gathering Swarms

Documentary Nature 2014 TV-G 53m.  Explore the worldwide phenomenon of swarm intelligence, as creatures from ants to wildebeest come together in huge numbers with a single purpose.  Spectacular footage! This is one of the best Nature programs I’ve seen. They even make creepy critters like mayflies and locusts mesmerizing. And it’s informative.   But the most important message is about the concepts. Finally a movie that recognizes that animals, and even insects, have the ability to think, sense and react. The final segment shows that without question the collective is always more in tune with it’s surrounding, more able to deal with threats and even the individual zebra thinking benefits from the collectives insight.  Thank you PBS for an incredible insightful example from the animal world on why we puny humans need to listen to our animal cohabitants.  The swarm shows that only by collective “thinking” can the larger groups succeed. A few bees or ants may have to be sacrificed but that’s only to ensure the greater survival.

ANIMAL STORIES:

Animal Odd Couples

Documentary, Nature 2012 TV-PG 53m. Enter stories of the most unlikely cross-species relationships imaginable: a chimp bottle-feeding a tiger cub; a giant tortoise snuggling a baby hippo; a black crow parenting a meerkat. This film will look at these remarkable relationships first hand, and through caregivers, biologists and animal behaviorists, explore what they suggest about the nature of animal emotions.

Shelter Me

Documentary 2012 NR 56m. Aiming to increase the adoption of shelter pets, this uplifting documentary focuses on the success stories, including dogs trained as service animals.

Turtle: The Incredible Journey

Documentary 2011 G 1hr 19m.  Attempting a perilous odyssey its ancestors have undertaken for millions of years, one loggerhead turtle swims from a beach in Florida across the Atlantic Ocean, encountering stunning sea creatures as well as serious hazards created by modern man.

River of No Return

Documentary: Nature 2012 TV-G 53m. This film is a journey into one of America’s best-kept secrets: the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness, with a pair of newlyweds as guides. Not long into their adventure following wolves, an extraordinary    turn of events will change their lives forever.

Earth

Documentary 2007 G 90 minutes. Fueled by dazzling high-definition photography and stunning locations around the world, this nature program captures three animal families in action over the course of a year, revealing how the sun influences animal behavior and migratory patterns.

March of the Penguins

Documentary 2004 G 80 minutes. Award-winning photographer Luc Jacquet takes documentary film to new heights — and depths — with his first feature film, a stunning insider’s look at the life of emperor penguins living in one of the cruelest climates on the planet. The product of more than a year of filming on the Antarctic ice, this Oscar-winning documentary reveals never-before-captured footage of the penguins’ underwater life and explores their steadfast quest for monogamy.

The Crimson Wing:
Mystery of the Flamingos

Documentary 2008 G 1hr 17m.  One million crimson-winged flamingos battle for survival across the stunning backdrop of Lake Natron in northern Tanzania in this Disney documentary.

Jane Goodall’s Wild Chimpanzees

Documentary 2002 NR 42 minutes. Showcased in beautiful IMAX format, this documentary takes viewers into the hearts, minds and world of chimpanzees as it profiles legendary scientist Dr. Jane Goodall’s work among the chimps at Gombe Park on Africa’s Lake Tanganyka. Dr. Goodall and other researchers give us an up-close look at the daily lives of the Gombe chimp families — Fifi and sons Freud and alpha male Frodo, along with Gremlin, Gaia and the endearing Galahad.

Winged Migration

Documentary 2001 G 89 minutes. Amazing cinematography propels this Oscar-nominated documentary that provides a hypnotic, bird’s-eye view of the grueling semiannual migrations of various avian species as they make their way across vast distances to more moderate climates. Truly a remarkable cinematic feat. I suspect I may have enjoyed it more if I had watched the featurettes first. I could have then stopped wondering how they got the shots they did & who did the music–I could have instead let the experience wash over me without mental distractions. Of course I’ll never know. Either way, it’s an experience worth having. Wow!

Never Cry Wolf

Docudrama 1983 PG 105 minutes. Carroll Ballard’s adaptation of Farley Mowat’s autobiographical novel follows Mowat (Charles Martin Smith) into the tundra, where he’s supposed to study the harm that wolves inflict on the caribou herd but struggles to make it in the harsh surroundings. He comes to the conclusion that the caribous’ worst enemies are not the wolves at all. Hiro Narita’s cinematography is spectacular, and the evocative sound was nominated for an Academy Award.

Becoming Human

Documentary Nova Series 2009 NR 3 episodes. Bringing our early ancestors to life through striking computer graphics based on new discoveries, this Nova special examines how early hominids lived and how they evolved through the ages to eventually become modern humans.

Lord of the Ants

Documentary Nova 2008. Biologist E.O. Wilson is profiled in the episode featuring his study in ants and sociobiology.

The Unknown World

Documentary Nova 1996 NR 60 minutes. Join micro-photographer Lennart Nilsson on a hunt for creepy-crawlies lurking in your own home, even on your body. Armed with a special camera, Nilsson captures common bugs and magnifies them to Godzilla size for a new perspective on the ordinary. But perhaps most amazing is what Nilsson captures that’s invisible to the naked eye: larvae in your coat, a swarm of critters in your hair, and the unseen drama that plays out after a kiss.

Microcosmos
(Le peuple de l’herbe)

Documentary 1996 G 1hr15m.  Using microscopic cameras and special microphones, this French documentary is a fascinating look at the world of insects and other minute creatures.

Gates of Heaven

Documentary 1978 NR 83 mins.  Indie documentarian Errol Morris trains his lens on obsessive pet owners and the zeitgeist that supports them, including pet cemetery owners and embalmers.  Morris interviews the owners and patrons of a handful of California pet cemeteries and comes away with a unique, funny, and genuinely touching glimpse at American life.  Pet owners talk candidly about the challenges they face dealing with feelings of bereavement.  One is tempted to laugh at the people for their devotion to their dead pets, but Morris seems to genuinely like and feel for these people, who just want to repay their pets for all the years of love they provided for them.  This is truly a film like no other, and well worth a watch for those who like documentaries that are a little out of the ordinary. This is one of the best and most charming documentaries in film history.  A little side note about this movie: Director Errol Morris was all but dared to make this movie by legendary German filmmaker Werner Herzog.  Herzog told Morris that if he had the courage and resolve to actually make this movie, Herzog would eat his shoe.  Well, Morris completed and released Gates of Heaven, and Herzog proved true to his word.  If you can find the short documentary ‘Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe’, you can actually see Herzog make good on his promise.  Quite an interesting story behind one of the best films, documentary or narrative, ever made.

DANGERS FROM ANIMALS:

Blackfish

Documentary 2013 PG-13 1hr 23m. This fascinating documentary examines the life of performing killer whale Tilikum — who has caused the deaths of several people while in captivity — and questions the safety and humaneness of confining these intelligent creatures. See Full Review

The Elephant in the Living Room

Documentary 2011 PG 1hr 36m. Director Michael Webber takes viewers deep inside the controversial subculture of raising the most dangerous animals in the world as household pets.

Fatal Attractions

Documentary 2010-2011 TV-14 2 Seasons. This Animal Planet series features people who bring deadly animals into their homes and examines the most extraordinary pet attacks of recent years.

I’m Alive

Documentary 2009-2011 TV-PG 2 Seasons. In one moment, a chance encounter with an animal can take your life away, but these attack victims decided to take life back.

Grizzly Man Diaries

Documentary 2008 NR 8 episodes. Drawing on still photographs, journal entries and hours of video footage, this documentary series tracks the life of Timothy Treadwell, the self-proclaimed bear lover who was literally eaten alive by the very grizzlies he worked to protect.

Grizzly Man

Documentary 2005 R 100 minutes. Renowned nonfiction director Werner Herzog chronicles the tragic and untimely death of outdoorsman Timothy Treadwell, who devoted his life to studying grizzly bears living in the Alaskan wilderness — only to have one of them maul him to death.

Eternal Enemies: Lions and Hyenas

Documentary National Geographic 2006 TV-PG 56m. Travel deep into the dark and mysterious animal world of Botswana where never-before-seen footage reveals the intensely brutal and often bloody conflict between lions and spotted hyenas. Filmed primarily at night, this nature documentary provides viewers a “hiding in the shadows” glimpse into the creatures’ ancient rivalry — a savage, almost ganglike feud between the powerful Southern Clan of hyenas and the Central Pride of stately lions.

Moby Dick:  The True Story

Documentary 2002 NR 52 minutes.  The true story that inspired Herman Melville’s classic novel is literally a whale of a tale. In November 1820, the 87-foot whaling ship Essex was rammed by an enraged sperm whale; two collisions left the vessel splintered and the crew afloat on three small boats. This historical documentary explores the survivors’ voyage over thousands of miles of open ocean and their battles with starvation and the elements.

DANGERS TO ANIMALS:

More Than Honey

Documentary 2012 NR 1hr 35m. Already hailed as a definitive work on the subject, this comprehensive documentary examines the disappearance of honeybee populations worldwide.

Vanishing of the Bees

Documentary 2009 NR 87 minutes. This documentary details the economic, political and ecological consequences of a dwindling world honeybee population. It’s a phenomenon with a name — Colony Collapse Disorder — The cause and effect relationship of Bayer’s systemic chemicals used in France, and subsequently banned (with the bees returning within a year) as well as the studies done in the U.S. (proving the chemicals build up in the honey/pollen of the hives) and why so few studies have actually been done (the companies profiting from the chemical sales are responsible for doing the studies – a policy of the EPA.) The monoculture discussion was very clearly an explanation of why the farmers must use these chemicals – because with monoculture a single pest is able to become a massive problem when the entire farm is a food source. This is also why they recommend eating organic (no pesticides), using your local farmer’s market (no monoculture) or even setting up your own garden (full control over what’s put on your crops.) This was not “leftist propaganda.” It was an explanation of the problem, the primary and most likely cause – based on facts, science, and experience; and a series of potential solutions.

Colony

Documentary 2009 NR 1hr 24m. What is bee colony collapse disorder and how does it impact America’s food supply? This documentary explores how the deaths of millions of bees threaten the livelihoods of many beekeepers and the nation’s crops.

Queen of the Sun
What Are the Bees Telling Us?

Documentary 2010 NR 1hr 21m. This film documents the surprising importance of the lowly honeybee, describing how bees’ pollinating activities play a crucial role in the food chain and how recent catastrophic “colony collapses” could interrupt global food production.

Blackfish

Documentary 2013 PG-13 1hr 23m. This fascinating documentary examines the life of performing killer whale Tilikum — who has caused the deaths of several people while in captivity — and questions the safety and humaneness of confining these intelligent creatures. See Full Review

The Cove

Documentary 2009 PG-13 92 minutes. Reveals slaughter of wild dolphins for food in Japan. Daring animal activists arrive with surveillance equipment at a scenic cove in Taijii, Japan, to capture footage of a secretive and heavily guarded operation run by the world’s largest supplier of dolphins. As the group sets out to expose the horrifying truths behind the capture of dolphins for the lucrative tourist industry, they also uncover an environmental catastrophe. Louie Psihoyos directs this riveting, Oscar-winning documentary.

The End of the Line

Documentary 2009 PG 1hr 22m. Filmmaker Rupert Murray traverses the world exposing the devastating effects that overfishing with modern technology is having on fish stocks and exploring the real solutions to solve the crisis. the film’s point that overfishing 1) occurs, and 2) has dire repercussions. International fishing guidelines are regularly ignored by poachers and individual governments to astonishing degrees; in some cases, the suggested maximum catch is exceeded by tenfold or more.

Whale Wars

Documentary 2008-2012 TV-14 5 Seasons. Dedicated to obstructing the Japanese whaling fleet, the crew of the MV Steve Irwin deliberately put themselves in harm’s way in this drama-packed reality program, leading to some frightening high-seas confrontations.

The Whale Warrior
Pirate for the Sea

Documentary 2008 NR 1hr 40m. Explore the controversial career and tactics of militant marine conservationist Paul Watson in this documentary that profiles his rise as an activist and his most daring attempts to stop hunters from illegally slaughtering sea creatures.

Sharkwater

Documentary 2007 PG 89 minutes. Documentarian Rob Stewart dives into shark-filled seas to disprove fear-based stereotypes and raise awareness of the world’s dwindling shark population. But he ventures into dangerous waters when he battles shark poachers in this award-winning film. With renegade conservationist Paul Watson, Stewart exposes the criminal and highly profitable harvesting of shark fins, risking his life and facing a corrupt court system for his efforts.

Wild Animal Repo

Documentary 2011 TV-PG 1 Season. An exotic animal repossessor rescues tigers, bears, monkeys and other endangered creatures from unfit owners and places them in a more worthy home.

To the Last Fish

Documentary Frontline 1991. Correspondent Al Austin looks at the mass environmental destruction of the world’s fisheries caused by new technologies in the fishing industry. Interviews with fishermen, businessmen, scientists, and government leaders reveal how the vital marine resource is in a dangerous state of decline.

Earthlings

Documentary 2007 NR 95 minutes. Oscar-nominated actor Joaquin Phoenix narrates this powerful award-winning examination of mankind’s dependence on animals. The film delves into the food, entertainment and medical industries’ use of animals and links each to the world economy. Unflinching footage, some shot by hidden cameras, explores slaughterhouses, puppy mills, factory farms and medical labs and reveals the roles they play in perpetuating society’s disrespect for animals.

A Whale of a Business

Documentary Frontline 1997. America’s marine theme parks are big business, attracting twenty million visitors each year. Frontline examines the money, power, and politics of the captive marine mammal industry through the story of Keiko, the killer whale star of Hollywood’s, Free Willy. The film traces Keiko’s fourteen years in captivity, examines the capture, transport, and treatment of marine mammals, and explores human understanding of, and relationship with, these large creatures.

Gorillas in the Mist

Docudrama 1988 PG-13 128 minutes. This beautifully filmed drama is based on the true story of anthropologist Dian Fossey (Sigourney Weaver), a scientist who came to Africa to study the vanishing mountain gorillas, and later fought to protect them. Venturing into deepest Africa in the jungles of Zaire and Rwanda for the chance to study rare mountain gorillas, Fossey learns to communicate with her subjects, but the breakthrough turns her academic interest into an all-consuming obsession. She documented and filmed her observations for National Geographic. This docudrama is a somewhat fictionalized adaptation of Dian Fosseys “Gorillas in the Mist” novel based on her years of research in the African mountains during the 1960s and 70s. The real scene stealers are the gorillas themselves. Using stunt double ‘gorillas’ for the close-up interactive scenes with Sigourney Weaver proves effective thus adding realism to a difficult subject to film. The film delves into the personality of Fosse and the difficulties encountered in living in the jungle. Although her work was to be admired, she is not painted as a living legend of the time, but rather as a complex determined woman whose unbending nature may have led to her murder. Eventually, her passion led her to risk her life to save the gorillas from poachers and animal traders. Beautifully photographed and a stellar performance by Sigourney Weaver make this a great film.

Man’s Best Friends

Documentary Frontline 1984. Frontline examines the ethical arguments over the use of animal testing in American laboratories, hospitals, and medical schools. Some animal rights groups have even broken into labs to steal research animals. But many scientists say that eliminating or severely restricting animal testing means an end to medical progress.

ENDANGERED SPECIES:

Endangered Animals

Documentary “Nature” Series 2009 TV-PG. This episode of the popular documentary series spotlights scientists who are working to increase the population of Yangtze turtles and other endangered species by breeding them in captivity and then introducing their offspring to the wild. Narrated by acclaimed actor F. Murray Abraham, the program also chronicles the ongoing challenges faced by these slowly recovering species, such as a dwindling gene pool and rapid habitat loss.

Save the Endangered Species

Documentary 2003 NR 150 minutes. Tag along with scientists, animal lovers and activists as they work to save endangered species from extinction. This inspiring nature series examines the struggles for survival of the Humboldt penguin, the grizzly bear, the macaw and the elephant. By shedding light on major environmental problems like poaching and pollution, this program aims to inspire viewers to take action and protect the planet.

Endangered Species

Documentary 1997 G 335 minutes. Tasked with stopping international trafficking of endangered species’ body parts along with rare plants and insects, the Endangered Species Protection Unit works diligently to protect the world’s most threatened plants and animals. This fascinating program takes a look at some of the criminals they have apprehended, including rhino horn poachers, cobra and parrot smugglers, leopard skin traders and many more.

Virunga

Documentary 2014 TV-14 100 minutes.  In the forested depths of eastern Congo lies Virunga National Park, one of the most bio-diverse places in the world and home to the last of the mountain gorillas, an endangered species numbering only 800. Here, an embattled team of park rangers that includes an ex-child soldier and a Belgian prince, risk their lives to protect this UNESCO World Heritage Site from armed rebels, poachers, and even corporations trying to wrest control of Congo’s rich natural resources. Filled with heroes and villains, at the heart is the dwindling habitat of the Virunga Park and the mountain gorillas caught between war and corporate interests.  Deeply moving and emotional, heartbreaking, and hopeful all at once. Seeing the rangers and caretakers dedicate their lives to saving this wonderful park and animals is truly inspirational.  These people put themselves in immense danger on a daily basis to protect the gorillas.   Whatever reasons the British company SOCO may have had for this oil exploration venture, the end result of their presence is undeniable, and horrific. I am convinced that they will be held in judgement if they continue feeding the unrest and disruption in the Congo and Virunga. SOCO, please cut your losses and help stabilize this region. You are wrong!  As the journalist in the film says, however, the biggest tragedy would be for people to learn what’s going on in the Democratic Republic of Congo and then to return to their lives and do nothing. Please insist that SOCO give up all oil exploration rights in perpetuity.  Please consider divesting all of the oil company stock in your portfolio. Please encourage lawmakers in the US to eliminate our reliance on petrol. Documentaries have the capacity to change minds and hearts! Let’s demand change together!  Thank you for bringing us this exceptional film and for raising awareness.  Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.  The best documentary I’ve seen in a very long time.  Please donate to Virunga National Park.

Jane’s Journey

Docudrama 2010 NR 1hr 46m. This inspiring biopic relates the lifelong crusade of chimp researcher Jane Goodall, moving from England to the Tanzanian jungle where her work began. Nearly half a century later, Goodall continues to visit the animals that ignited her passion.

The End of the Line

Documentary 2009 PG 1hr 22m. Filmmaker Rupert Murray traverses the world exposing the devastating effects that overfishing with modern technology is having on fish stocks and exploring the real solutions to solve the crisis. the film’s point that overfishing 1) occurs, and 2) has dire repercussions. International fishing guidelines are regularly ignored by poachers and individual governments to astonishing degrees; in some cases, the suggested maximum catch is exceeded by tenfold or more. Overfishing can result in 1) ecological disasters, as when a species goes extinct or becomes endangered it can have consequences such as increase of algae or other such biological problems that wreak more havoc than one would imagine; and 2) significant loss of jobs, as if there are no fish to catch there are no fishermen to employ.

Sushi: The Global Catch

Documentary 2012 NR 1hr 14m. This documentary traces the history of sushi from its origins as Japanese street food to its current status as an internationally popular cuisine.

Whale Wars

Reality Series 2008-2010 TV-14. Dedicated to obstructing the Japanese whaling fleet, the crew of the MV Steve Irwin deliberately put themselves in harm’s way in this drama-packed reality program, leading to some frightening high-seas confrontations.

The Whale Warrior
Pirate for the Sea

Documentary 2008 NR 1hr 40m. Explore the controversial career and tactics of militant marine conservationist Paul Watson in this documentary that profiles his rise as an activist and his most daring attempts to stop hunters from illegally slaughtering sea creatures.

To the Last Fish

Documentary Frontline 1991. Correspondent Al Austin looks at the mass environmental destruction of the world’s fisheries caused by new technologies in the fishing industry. Interviews with fishermen, businessmen, scientists, and government leaders reveal how the vital marine resource is in a dangerous state of decline.

Grey Owl

Docudrama 1999 PG-13 117 minutes.  This biopic stars Pierce Brosnan as Archie Grey Owl, a British-born trapper whose marriage to a young Iroquois woman ultimately transforms him into a conservationist who renounces the hunting and trapping of animals, especially beavers as an endangered species, in the 1930s forty years before the environmental movement of the 1770s.

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