Nature (Season 34) – Nature’s Miracle Orphans

Air date: 09/23/2015

THIRTEEN’s Nature Launches Season 34 Profiling How Animal Rescue Centers Raise and Rehabilitate Nature’s Miracle Orphans Wednesday, September 23 & 30, 2015 on PBS

 

Meet the people who give orphaned animals a second chance in this two-part series

 

Growing up in the wild is hard enough on young animals when they have parents to rely on for protection and guidance, but what happens when they lose their parents? How do they survive? Over the past few years, great strides have been made in understanding how to rescue and rehabilitate orphaned wildlife. But as the documentary shows, success often comes down to the efforts of individuals at animal rescue centers around the world who devote their lives to saving these vulnerable creatures, getting them back on their feet and, hopefully, releasing them back into the wild.

Nature’s Miracle Orphans tells their stories as it follows the different stages of care needed to get koalas, wallabies, sloths, kangaroos and fruit bats through infancy, childhood and on the road to independence where they can look after themselves. The two-part program airs Wednesdays, September 23 and 30, 2015 at 8 p.m. (ET) on PBS (check local listings). After each broadcast, the episode will be available for online streaming at pbs.org/nature.

One of the orphans profiled in the first episode, Second Chances, is Danny, a baby koala found along a road, weak and underweight. In the wild, a young marsupial would be inseparable from his mother, spending the first six months or so developing inside her pouch. As stand-ins for his lost mother, staffers at Australia’s Cape Otway Conservation Centre are almost always with Danny, but also give him a teddy bear to hold onto as a bit of comfort, especially when they can’t be with him. Danny’s round-the-clock care includes being fed every two hours. When he is strong enough, nightly games of chasing the toy bear are added to build up muscles he will need to safely climb trees and eventually to join other koalas in a large outdoor enclosure.

Another storyline in this episode takes place at a sanctuary in Costa Rica, where Sam Trull has her hands full caring for six baby orphan sloths in her small apartment. Trull’s chief concern is Newbie, a three-toed female sloth who has been battling pneumonia since her rescue, a condition Trull thinks may have been triggered by the stress of losing her mother. She gives Newbie plenty of attention and good old TLC, in addition to her medicines, to help her recover. In the wild, Newbie would have spent nine months clinging to her mother for comfort and security, feeding on her milk and learning what to eat. The tasks of feeding Newbie and showing her what foods to eat now fall to Trull as surrogate mother.

In episode two, Wild Lessons, Bev Brown devotes her time to helping fruit bat orphans in Melbourne, Australia, to survive the crucial first four months until they are weaned and able to be released. As surrogate mother, Brown tucks her bats in specially designed blankets to simulate how they would be wrapped up in their mother’s wings, bottle-feeds them milk and grooms them daily. In another segment, Stella Reid cares for 20 kangaroos at her compound, but knows the youngest, a baby eastern gray kangaroo named Harry, needs special attention if he’s ever to join the wild eastern grays that graze across the open grasslands and forests of Eastern Australia. Reid starts the process by having Harry observe other orphans in her care, giving him a chance to learn how to behave and socialize with them before introducing him to the wild kangaroos outside the compound.

Back in Costa Rica, the program follows Trull as she trains Pelota, a two-toed female sloth, to climb, spend nights outside alone, and even swim, to prepare her for the wild. Although sloths travel chiefly through the trees, they need to be able to cross rivers when heavy rainfall causes the forests to flood. Rehabilitating wild orphans is often a process of trial and error for their human caregivers, but the rewards of giving these animals a second chance at life far outweigh the frustrations and emotional attachments involved.

Nature is a production of THIRTEEN Productions LLC for WNET. For Nature, Fred Kaufman is executive producer. Nature’s Miracle Orphans is a BBC Production.

Nature pioneered a television genre that is now widely emulated in the broadcast industry.  Throughout its history, Nature has brought the natural world to millions of viewers.  The series has been consistently among the most-watched primetime series on public television.

Nature has won more than 700 honors from the television industry, the international wildlife film communities and environmental organizations, including 12 Emmys and three Peabodys. The series received two of the wildlife film industry’s highest honors: the Christopher Parsons Outstanding Achievement Award given by the Wildscreen Festival and the Grand Teton Award given by the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival. The International Wildlife Film Festival honored Nature executive producer Fred Kaufman with its Lifetime Achievement Award for Media.

PBS.org/nature is the award-winning web companion to Nature, featuring streaming episodes, filmmaker interviews, teacher’s guides and more.

Support for this Nature program was made possible in part by the Arnhold Family in memory of Clarisse Arnhold, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Kate W. Cassidy Foundation, the Lillian Goldman Charitable Trust, the Filomen M. D’Agostino Foundation, Rosalind P. Walter, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and public television viewers.

 

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About WNET
As New York’s flagship public media provider and the parent company of THIRTEEN and WLIW21 and operator of NJTV, WNET brings quality arts, education and public affairs programming to more than 5 million viewers each week. WNET produces and presents such acclaimed PBS series as Nature, Great Performances, American Masters, PBS NewsHour Weekend, Charlie Rose and a range of documentaries, children’s programs, and local news and cultural offerings available on air and online. Pioneers in educational programming, WNET has created such groundbreaking series as Get the Math, Oh Noah! and Cyberchase and provides tools for educators that bring compelling content to life in the classroom and at home. WNET highlights the tri-state’s unique culture and diverse communities through NYC-ARTS, Reel 13, NJTV News with Mary Alice Williams and MetroFocus, the multi-platform news magazine focusing on the New York region. WNET is also a leader in connecting with viewers on emerging platforms, including the THIRTEEN Explore App where users can stream PBS content for free.

 

 

Photos
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Episode 1.  PICTURE SHOWS:  Tilly the orphaned Koala

Tilly, the orphaned koala, Australia. Credit: © Will Ridgeon 2014

Episode 1.  PICTURE SHOWS:  Danny the Orphaned Koala learning to climb in the outside enclosure at the Conservation Ecology Centre in Cape Otway, Victoria

Danny, the orphaned koala learning to climb in the outside enclosure at the Conservation Ecology Centre in Cape Otway, Victoria, Australia. Credit: © Will Ridgeon 2014

Episode 1.  PICTURE SHOWS:  Baby three toed sloth hanging on tree branch

Baby three-toed sloth handing on tree branch. Credit: © Max Hug Williams

Episode 1.  PICTURE SHOWS:  Newbie dangling from tree

“Newbie,” the baby female three-toed sloth, gets to grips with climbing, Costa Rica. Credit: © Sam Trull 2014

Episode 2.  PICTURE SHOWS: Baby three toed sloth being weighed in plastic basket

Baby three-toed sloth being weighed in plastic basket, Costa Rica. Credit: © Sam Trull 2014

Episode 3.  PICTURE SHOWS: Harry the orphaned kangaroo with wildlife carer Stella Reid at Wildhaven Wildlife Sanctuary in Victoria

“Harry” the orphaned kangaroo with wildlife carer Stella Reid at Wildhaven Wildlife Sanctuary in Victoria, Australia. Credit: © Hannah Ward 2014

Episode 3.  PICTURE SHOWS: Two baby two toed sloths hugging

Two baby two-toed sloths hugging. Credit: © Sam Trull 2014

Episode 3.  PICTURE SHOWS: Two orphans share a pouch 1 (Jasper, the black swamp wallaby and Pinot the eastern grey kangaroo)

Two orphans share a pouch (“Jasper,” the black swamp wallaby and “Pinot,” the eastern grey kangaroo). Credit: © Will Ridgeon 2014

Sam Trull  with stethescope & female sloth Monster

Ms. Sam Trull, director of The Sloth Institute, Costa Rica Trull with “Monster,” a female sloth. Credit: © Sam Trull 2014

Sam Trull and female sloth Monster-1

Ms. Sam Trull, director of The Sloth Institute, Costa Rica Trull with “Monster,” a female sloth. Credit: © Sam Trull 2014

BBC Producer Mark Wheeler_filming sloth_IMG-20150703-WA0004

Producer Mark Wheeler filming “Nature’s Miracle Orphans” sloth segment in Costa Rica. Credit: © BBC Natural History Unit

Fred Kaufman, Nature series exec.producer

Fred Kaufman, Nature series executive producer. Credit: © THIRTEEN Productions LLC