Wild Chronicles

Season 3, Episode 42 of 42

News from Nature - Fishing for summer flounder is a favorite pastime along the Atlantic seaboard. However due to overfishing the flounder stock dropped to less than 15 percent of healthy levels in 1989, forcing Congress to enact strict fishing regulations. Recently local fishermen have noticed a resurgence in the flounder population; but instead of easing the fishing laws, the fishery managers have tightened them, starting a local controversy that forces fishermen to throw back most of their catch. Adventure and Exploration - Every two weeks, one of the world's seven thousand languages disappears forever. Wild Chronicles follows the National Geographic Society's Enduring Voices Project around the globe as a team of researchers works with communities to record and study some of the planet's most endangered languages, sometimes for the first time. In northern India, the team teaches locals how to use new technologies to record some of the last speakers of the local tongue, hopefully encouraging a younger generation to take an interest in the language of their elders. GeoCast In northeastern Australia Wild Chronicles visits an unusual orphanage - the Tolga bat hospital - home to up to 500 baby spectacled flying foxes a year. Many of the young bats at the hospital have lost their mothers to a fatal disease caused by ticks. The center's goal is to release the bats back into the wild while also educating the public about the hazards bats face and their importance to a healthy ecosystem. In the African Congo, conservationists have discovered a previously unknown colony of bonobos, man's closest living genetic relative, living in a region of mixed forest and savanna rather than their typical habitat of dense rainforest. The discovery is encouraging, but protecting these endangered animals remains critical - and an ecotourism venture may be the best bet. The hydrilla, a non-native invasive plant species, is overtaking Florida's Wakulla Springs, threatening many species that call the waterway home. The hydrilla has such a stranglehold on the springs that its aggressive growth cycle has made it impossible to totally eradicate. Instead efforts are being made to control the plant's growth in an effort to stop its encroachment into Florida's northern panhandle. Wild Chronicles travels to Easter Island, one of the most remote inhabited islands on Earth, where a mystery illness is plaguing horses. A chance encounter by a veterinary pathologist reveals a disturbing fact: an invasive, non-native plant introduced to prevent soil erosion is poisoning the horses.

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