Wildways: Corridors of Life will explore the cutting edge of Conservation Biology to
discover how the world's parks and preserves can protect the last enclaves of wild nature

          

Since the industrial revolution, 7 billion humans have edged out billions of animals, confining most remaining wildlife to a few parks and preserves, where they live on the brink of extinction.  These protected areas, from the Serengeti Plains to Yellowstone National Park, are surrounded by human development, and scientists are coming to grips with unforeseen implications for these islands of habitat. Wildways: Corridors of Life will explore the new field of Island Biogeography, which is studying exactly how large parks and preserves have to be for all their native species to survive; we will examine the emerging principles of this new field, and meet the seminal researchers.

Wildways: Corridors of Life will take viewers around the world to some of the most dramatic natural areas on earth, where biologists are helping vanishing species with inovative solutions. Park managers are trying to heal fragmented habitats by re-creating landscape-level connections that can insure the healthy function of these ecosystems into the future.  It will be a journey of discovery, as we learn what elephants, lions, elk, grizzly bears, tigers, and jaguars need:  room to roam, neighbouring populations for genetic diversity, and connected ecosystems that allow migration and adaptation to a changing climate. This is a new vision of preservation - on a continental scale – known as Connectivity Conservation.

Wildways: Corridors of Life will be broadcast to a national and international audience. In the United States it is being developed for the award-winning PBS science series NOVA. We will ignite a global dialogue on the critical topic of habitat conservation, inspiring many millions of viewers to become engaged. We will explore iconic landscapes around the world, and meet the men and women who have dedicated their lives to preserving the last redoubts of wild nature.

Connectivity Stories to be Profiled

Yellowstone to Yukon - Grizzly Bears, Grey Wolves, and Pronghorn In 1925, there were grizzly bears in 23 areas of the U.S. outside of Alaska.  Now there are only two places with grizzlies – Yellowstone Park and northern Montana. Harvey Locke’s dream is that the Yellowstone to Yukon initiative can reconnect wilderness islands and enable bears to repopulate some former habitats.  Y2Y, as it is known, is a grand model of connectivity conservation that is revitalizing the Rocky Mountains in the US and Canada, and inspiring similar efforts the world over.

Serengeti Park, Tanzania, and Masai Mara, Kenya - Lions, Zebra, and Wildebeest There is no greater movement of animals on earth than the great migration of Tanzania and Kenya. The key to the survival of this wildlife spectacle is the connected landscapes of Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park and Kenya’s Masai Mara.   But as human populations grow and occupy more of the surrounding lands, the ecosystem is becoming smaller and more fragmented.   Biologists are urgently trying to understand, how much protected land is really enough?

Southern Africa – Elephants One of the greatest challenges in conservation is finding a place for elephants.  Mike Chase, of Elephants Without Borders, is studying the needs of the greatest concentration of elephants in the world.  It turns out that the largest land animals on earth also need one of the largest ranges to survive, moving hundreds of miles over the course of many years.  There’s no single park that can manage this, but five countries - Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe, - are joining to create the Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area, the largest connectivity project in Africa. The KAZA TFCA includes well-known tourism destinations such as Victoria Falls and the Okavango Delta, and will connect important habitats that total 278,000 sq. km.

Bhutan and Nepal – Snow Leopards The Snow Leopard is one of the rarest and most exotic species on earth.  Biologists from India, Nepal, and Bhutan are tracking snow leopards to understand key connections across the Himalayas.   Bhutan has undertaken a project to preserve almost half the country, and is building a visionary system of corridors to connect natural areas from lowland jungles to the highest mountains on earth.

North America, a continental vision of coexisting with wildlife.  A founder of Conservation Biology, Michael Soule will elaborate new ways of sharing large landscapes, leaving room for both humans and animals.  The Wildlands Network is implementing Soule’s work, proposing a continental system of wildlife corridors.

 

Wildways: Corridors of Life is a unique story about the frontiers of conservation biology, a new vision of re-assembling a fragmented planet.