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Wolong's Pandas

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In this video segment from Nature, learn about the endangered pandas of the Wolong Conservation Center in China. When the bamboo plant, the panda's main source of food, began to die off in the 1980s, the center responded by rescuing starving pandas from the wild. This resource includes an activity where students learn to compare and contrast information from multiple sources and a fun game that explores how changes in an animal’s food source can impact survival. Discussion questions challenge students to think about how climate change affects animal and plant life. To learn about China's panda population, see the "Bamboo Mountain" video segment of this two-part series.

For more resources like this, see the rest of the Human Impact on the Environment collection.

Disappearance of the Bees - What's the Impact?

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When Chinese farmers in South Sichuan Province, the largest producers of pears in that region of China, alerted the government to the absence of bees and that the year's crop was endangered, the government's unprecedented response was to insist on hand-pollination. Meanwhile, farmers in the United States, faced with the same dilemma, wonder if this method will someday, too, be their fate. This video segment adapted from Nature: Silence of the Bees discusses the impact of the bees' disappearance, as well as the effects Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) has on pollination and the world food supply.

Cats

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This video segment from Nature describes cats as independent, mysterious and aloof. While they have been domesticated for more than four thousand years, they are still powerful predators and survivalists. Cats have a reputation for being uncontrollable and leading solitary lifestyles, yet they compete with dogs as the most popular pet in America. Cats live in thirty percent of American households; however, they still demonstrate characteristics of creatures of the wild. Their hunting habits, for example, parallel those of lions, cheetahs and tigers.

Historic Relationships Between Dogs and Humans

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In this video segment from Nature, we learn that dogs were the first creatures to be domesticated. Ancient people thought of dogs as creatures of magic and as spiritual guardians. Dogs were often sacrificed and buried with people to protect them with their magical powers. In Mexico today, hairless Xolo (SHOW-low) dogs are believed to heal pain. Around the world dogs are useful to people for protection because of their bark, which acts as an alarm and can intimidate strangers. Barking dogs are a stronger deterrent for burglars than a burglar alarm.

Hardworking Builders | Nature

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These resources from Nature: Leave it to Beavers explore beavers’ physical characteristics and how they fell trees and build dams. The video shows a beaver felling a tree and transporting a log underwater, and describes how beavers work together to build dams. The segment describes that beavers are vegetarians with incisors that grow continuously, self-sharpen, and are strengthened with iron, which makes them orange. The video concludes with a look at the Rocky Mountains, where beaver dams filter billions of tons of water. “Infographic: Beavers 101” and “Beaver Fact Sheet” provide a variety of a facts about beavers, their dams and lodges.

Pigs as Pets | Nature

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This video segment from Nature describes the beauty of pigs. Many people have pigs as pets. Some keep pigs right in their homes. We see two pigs who live in Beverly Hills, California. The owner says pigs make wonderful pets. They are very sweet, loving and intelligent. They can be trained to do tricks and behave properly in a house. If an owner decides they don’t want their pet pig anymore, he can bring it to Little Orphan Hammie’s, an animal-rescue home for pigs.

Grassland Elephants

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For nearly two decades, Martyn Colbeck, an award-winning filmmaker, has documented the life of Echo, a matriarchal grassland elephant of Kenya. Echo and her closely knit family have grown to accept Colbeck into their world, allowing him to record the interactions among them that bond them together. This video segment from Nature shows a greeting ceremony and the introduction of a new calf to the family. Through Colbeck?s eyes the audience can begin to understand the family ties among elephants as well as their playfulness and means of communication.

Manatees

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Veterinarian Mark Lowe talks about the Florida manatee in this video segment from WILD TV. Lowe describes his fascination with manatees which are an endangered species. Manatees have been in existence for millions of years. They are peaceful animals. Each has its own personality. A large public education program helps people learn about the history of manatees and the dangers they face with the decreasing supplies of vegetation and clean water they need to survive. Humans must be aware of how we pollute their water and endanger their survival when we use motorized vehicles in waters where they live.

The Sled Dogs of the Arctic Circle | Nature

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In this Nature video, we learn how the Inuits of the Arctic Circle rely on their dogs. Existing on a diet of snow and seal blubber (fat), these dogs pull the sleds of the Inuits and protect them from wild animals. Multiple dogs pull together to maintain the stability of the sled. Sled dogs sometimes run the equivalent of five marathons (5 x 26.2 miles = 131 miles) per day. They will be the first to fall through the ice if there is a crack, but they recover from the cold plunge quickly. The dogs have evolved to master the harsh environment.

Social and Cultural Perspectives of Dogs

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This video segment from Nature provides information about the social and cultural perspectives of humans’ relationships with dogs. Our ability to communicate and socialize with dogs has changed our lives. Not only can we teach dogs fun tricks to do, but we can teach them to do tasks we cannot do. Herding dogs, for example, help people manage sheep. The dogs can follow the shepherd’s command to herd in sheep from over a half mile away. Because they spend so much time together, shepherds and dogs form a close social bond.

Cloud the Horse: Age Four

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In this video from Nature, Cloud is a four-year-old bachelor who lives in a "group" of wild horses in the Arrowhead Mountains of southern Montana. Although he seems to live a carefree life as he rolls in the muddy water and plays with the other horses, he also has to face and survive the dangers with which he is confronted in nature. There may be conflicts with other horses. Lightening can also be a dangerous force of nature that can strike at any time, killing unsuspecting horses. Learn more about Cloud in the three part series of video segments including "Cloud Foal" and "Cloud – Age Two."

The Hunting Dogs of Papua New Guinea

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This video from Nature describes the history and uses of the dogs of Papua New Guinea. Men from the Akepangi tribe set out to hunt at dawn. They believe the dogs they take with them have supernatural abilities to track down prey. The dogs are called the singing dogs because they howl but do not bark. In the hunt, the dogs find an opossum in the canopy (upper layer of vegetation). The dogs are more valuable to the hunters than their bows and arrows. The tribe believes the dogs tell them where the evil spirits lie in the jungle.

Cloud the Horse: Age Two

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In this video segments from Nature, filmmaker Ginger Kathrens chronicles the life of Cloud who is now a two-year-old bachelor (a male horse who has not mated) living in a group of wild horses in the Arrowhead Mountains of southern Montana. Family is important to horses, and this group of bachelors' behaviors shows evidence of the camaraderie that can exist among a bonded group of horses. The playful, gentle interactions not only communicate trust and security among members of the group but also act as practice for more adult behaviors.

Unforgettable Elephants

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In this video segment from Nature, witness the joy an elephant family experiences when a new baby elephant is born. This birth was a celebration within elephant society. The newborn baby, Ebony, seemed to regard photographer and documentary filmmaker Martyn Colbeck as part of the family. When she got into scrapes, the family was there to help. One day when Ebony was stolen by another elephant family, her family was devastated; but quickly, Ebony’s mother, Echo, and the other members of the family retrieved her. Colbeck has filmed wildlife for over two decades. Echo’s family of elephants captured his heart.

The Herding Dogs of the United Kingdom

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In this Nature video, Joe Ralf uses his Border collie herding dogs in the Lake District of the United Kingdom to herd his flock of sheep. The dogs can follow the shepherd's command to herd in sheep from over a half mile away. Because they spend so much time together, shepherds and dogs form a close social bond. Part of the herding dogs skill is innate (under genetic control or instinctive) and part is learned behavior (what you teach the dog to do). People have used herding dogs for over 9,000 years.

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