Friday, August 01, 2008

Wild things


Grumpily I have become disenchanted with wild life programmes as the presenters try to humanise the wild animals and make up animal soaps instead of just observing these beautiful creatures in their natural habitat. However I made an exception for ‘Lost Land of the Jaguar’ when I knew it was set in Guyana – the country of one of my favourite bloggers: Guyana Gyal (sidebar)

Great that they started with a map and one saw on the northern coast of South America masses of green rain forest with a tiny strip of orange at the top – Georgetown, where most of the population live. The country is the size of Britain with a population similar to Liverpool.

The purpose of the expedition was to explore the apparently pristine wilderness and prepare a case for the President of Guyana to convince him of the need for conservation before the loggers do their worst.

The team was composed of scientists, climbers and wild life photographers – all experts in their fields and all extremely brave; one woman spent most of the time on a small platform at the top of a tall spindly tree which swayed in the wind enough to give her motion sickness. All discomfort was forgotten when she saw the rare howler monkeys cavorting around her.

The man who was desperate to see giant otters and the elusive jaguar was rewarded and so were we. The film zipped along with each clip more extraordinary that the previous one. The sight of the Kaieteur Falls – five times the height of Niagara- was awesome and when Steve Backshall abseiled down to the foot it took one's breath away. There amongst other things he found hundreds of slipper orchids. The buzz word was ‘unbelievable’.

The insect expert Dr George McGavin looked and sounded just like my BIL and he delved into places no man should have to delve, with bites and scratches galore, but also many valuable specimens to help prove the case. I understood that this particular rain forest cancelled out 40,000million tons of carbon.

There are two more programmes and I feel certain that they will prove that this is the last pristine wilderness but Guyana is a poor country and somehow the money they would gain from the loggers has got to be found.

Wednesday BBC 1 8pm


Eryl Shields said...

This is indeed the problem: money needs to be found, and all any of us can do (from individual to nation) is sell what we have to get it. How on earth did we survive before money I wonder?

Guyana-Gyal said...

Ohhh Pat, thanks for posting this. Brought tears to my eyes, I don't know if that documentary will be aired here. I hope it's shown all over the world.

I'm passionate about our hinterlands, having spent two weeks there as a teen.

It is one of the most truly amazing places in the world...not that I've travelled to many countries, just a few.

I'm so anti-logging that sometimes I want to write to various newspapers all over the world asking people to NOT BUY WOOD from here but that's over the top as there's such a thing as controlled logging...

To give the president credit, he's been lobbying for things like getting carbon credits for not logging, etc.

More can be done, though.

kenju said...

I hope that something else can be done. I deplore the wasting of the rain forests for profit.

PI said...

eryl: it seems to be the making of money that makes people so ruthless.

GG: I'm glad you approve. It fired me up also . Seems like a last deathly blow for the planet and it is such an amazing place- you are lucky to have seen it.

Judy: one thing would be to see the film is shown all over the world.

Kath said...

I feel the same way about animal shows sometimes - you made me want to watch this one though!

Anonymous said...

It was a realy lovely programme enjoyed even more so on a 32" Flat screen tv which I won in a competition and was delevered this week

PI said...

Kath: i hope you get the chance.

Anon: wow! How did you manage that?

john.g. said...

What a wonderful programme that was!

PI said...

John.g: oh I'm glad you saw it too. see you next Wednesday:)

Kim Ayres said...

We recorded it, but haven't had the chance to watch it yet.

One of the worst pieces of humanising animals I saw was the film "March of the Penguins". The BBC series "Life in the Freezer" was infinitely better.

rashbre said...

Thanks for your recent string of comments whilst I've been travelling. I was limiting my blogging time whilst vacatioining and now have some 'catchup'.

The Canadian agenda around forestry and similar was very interesting and geared towards sustainability and eco-balance (at least thats what most people seemed to say).

It applied to logging and also to other aspects of farming and fishing and seemed to be about keeping a long-term balance.

Indeed there was much evidence of replanting and 'making good' in areas where harvesting had taken place.

Challenges also in areas where the management was very good and almost worked against nature by reducing the spread of forest fires, which the Canadians discovered would sometimes help regrowth of a healthy infrastructure.

Also the need for mixed replanting to reduce the impact of any single epidemic which could affect the trees such as the recent pine-beetle.

PI said...

Kim: I hope you enjoy it. I haven't seen the ones you mention but ones I was watching in Africa were getting ridiculous.

Rashbre: I really enjoyed your trip. It's good to know that Canada has - apparently - got it's act together.

R. Sherman said...

Of course, what we all forget is that "the environment" is, in a sense, a luxury good. By that I mean that if you give a poor person a choice between saving the rain forest while starving or cutting it down and feeding his family, he will choose the latter every time. Those of us who insist upon demonstrating a "white man's burden" paternalism relative to these issues (as opposed to a Victorian "let's save some wogs' souls" sort of thing) do nothing really to save the environment or help the poor. Rather, we simply bask in our own smug righteousness while people starve.

If we really cared, we'd buy the rain forest for fair market value and hire the heretofore jobless poor to be our forest rangers.


problemchildbride said...

I hope the campaign works, I really do.

I agree with Guyana-Gyal that controlled logging might be possible but it would have to have heavy oversight and management to make sure the loggers kept to their promises. Therein lies the problem, the opportunities for corruption once logging has got the initial toe-hold are many and humans will be human.

I've never been but I've heard Guyana is a jewel of a country that deserves a better economy for its citizens. The trick will be balancing the jewel with the wealth. If Guyana pulls it off it will be a rare but fantastic victory for the Earth.

PI said...

Randall: it's very depressing but true. It would be wonderful if a scientific Bob Geldof could inspire us all to fork out. It's the pristineness of it that is so wonderful where the wildlife havcn't been hunted and the natural surroundings are unbesmirched. I shudder when I think of Everest.
Are you back?

Sam: you'd think it would be worth just maintaining that fantastic carbon demolishing - by the forest just being there.
Randall's solution would be perfect.

OldHorsetailSnake said...

I sure would love to see that, though.

PI said...

Hoss: I hope you do. The more people - all over the world - who see it, the more possibility of some solution being found before it's too late.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

Oh that sounds like a wonderful program, Pat...I hope they can conserve and at the same time find the needed money to live, too!

We have a lot of Nature programs here on our Public TV Station...And most of those arte really Great! I would love to see this one!

sablonneuse said...

Your description of the programme was wonderful. Yes, I saw most of it (just missed the beginning) and was enthralled.

PI said...

Naomi: my hope is that it will get world wide coverage. The chap in charge is so compelling I feel sure he will drive it on.

Sandy : thank you. Sometimes I wish I knew shorthand. But no way am I going to learn at this stage.

Jean-Luc Picard said...

That's a good point. Animals should be filmed as they live naturally.

Michele sent me here.

barbie2be said...

isn't it sad how humanity has taken what has been there since the beginning and ripped it apart for ourselves.

michele sent me.

kenju said...

Michele sent me back, Pat. We can't be unconcerned where the rain forests are concerned - as well as the people who inhabit them.

PI said...

Jean -Luc: glad you agree.

B2b: and worse - for our grandchildren.

Judy: always great to see you:)