Endangered Species Handbook

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Video - Films

Wildlife and Plant Species: Reptiles and Amphibians

Note:  The title is followed by the length, producer, distributor (if different from producer), and year film was made.  Unless otherwise noted, the videos listed below are VHS format.  Many are available in Beta, 16mm and other formats.  Some are on laser disks.
+ Indicates video sold or rented with teacher’s instruction guide.
+Ancient Sea Turtles Stranded in a Modern World.” See listing under Wildlife Trade and Poaching section.
"Endangered Reptiles and Amphibians in New Jersey." 30 minutes. New Jersey Network. 1989.
An active state program is attempting to aid its endangered reptiles and amphibians.  The causes of endangerment and programs to help the threatened snakes, turtles and other reptiles of New Jersey are described.
"Endangered Species: Massasauga Rattler and Bog Turtle." Educational Images, Ltd. 1987.
These endangered reptiles of eastern North America are the focus.
"The Ganges Gharial." 60 minutes. Nature. PBS. Bedi Films. WNET. 1983.
This crocodile has an extraordinary appearance, unlike any other crocodile.  Its very long and narrow snout ends in a bulbous tip.  Native to the Ganges River of India, Bangladesh and Nepal, it is so unusual that it is the sole member of its family, Gavialidae.  A highly endangered species, the Gharial, sometimes known as the Gavial, has declined to near extinction from hunting, very heavy pollution and water projects on the Ganges.  Its ecology and the programs to save it are discussed.  For more on this species see "Wild India," a film reviewed in the Asia section.
"Rain Forest." 60 minutes. National Geographic Society. 1981.
Although the film focuses on the wildlife and plants of Central American rainforests, it is one of the few records of a beautiful--and probably extinct--amphibian.  In Costa Rican rainforests, congregations of male Golden Toads (Bufo periglenes) gathered around mountain pools during breeding seasons.  They mated with the much larger, bluish‑black females, and left long strings of eggs in the water.  These toads have not been seen in the wild in groups since 1987, and none has been seen since 1989.  The species occupied only one square mile of highland cloud forest, and this habitat has not been destroyed.  A worldwide phenomenon of frog and toad declines and disappearances is apparently linked to exposure of eggs and adults to high concentrations of ultra‑violet rays.  This has resulted from a thinning of the ozone layer, and scientific research in the 1990s has proved the effect on frogs and toads, although other causes have been suggested.  This film may be one of the only records left of this species.
"Realm of the Alligator." 60 minutes. National Geographic Society. 1986.
The American Alligator and its wetland ecosystem are the subjects of this film.  This species has come back from endangered status throughout its range in the southeastern United States as a result of protection from killing for the hide trade.  At present, some hunting is allowed in parts of its distribution, but it remains threatened in the more northerly areas.  This giant reptile, as old as the dinosaurs, is a keystone species in its ecosystem, creating waterholes in dry periods from which other wildlife benefits.
"Sea Turtles: Ancient Nomads." 60 minutes. National Audubon Society. PBS Video. 1988.
This is an excellent overview of the world's sea turtles, all of which are now endangered.  As old as the dinosaurs, with navigational instincts that are still a mystery to modern science, these turtles have been overhunted and accidentally drowned in shrimp nets.  Some hunting in Asia and the Indian Ocean still takes place.  The conservation of these reptiles is the focus of the film, along with the many facets of their behavior and life history that remain unknown. 
"Sea Turtles' Last Dance." 30 minutes. PBS Video. 1988.
This film concerns the world's most endangered sea turtle species, the Kemp's Ridley, and has old footage showing many of the 40,000 of these turtles that once nested on a Mexican beach.  Today, only a few hundred remain alive after unregulated killing for meat and shell.  This sea turtle has been protected from hunting for several decades and guarded on its nesting beach.  It has increased somewhat from its lowest point, but many are still drowned in shrimp nets.  Some eggs are taken each year to try to reestablish the species in southern Texas where it once nested.  After this film was made, in 1995, two turtles released 12 and 15 years earlier came ashore on the Texas coast and laid eggs, the first successful case of reestablishment of a sea turtle.
"Snake." 52 minutes. Survival Anglia. Time Warner Distributor. Predators of the Wild Series. (VHS & Laserdisc.) Released 1994.
Some 2,700 species of snake exist, inhabiting all continents except Antarctica, and 85 percent of them are harmless to man.  This film shows many of the more interesting species, their behavior, reproduction and feeding.  They are important in controlling rodents and other snakes but suffer from persecution and control programs.
"The Struggle for Survival: Georgia's Giant Sea Turtles." 13 minutes. Georgia Department of Natural Resources. 1992.
This very short film is the first in a series on endangered wildlife.  Giant Loggerhead sea turtles are filmed digging holes in the sand and laying their eggs on Georgia beaches.  The tiny hatchlings are seen as they run to the ocean after hatching.
"Toadskin Spell." 60 minutes. Nature. PBS. BBC. WNET. 1994.
Toads have evolved an enormous variety of adaptations for breeding.  In some species the young emerge from brooding patches on the female's back, while others lay eggs in damp woodlands.  This film is about the remarkable evolution of toads and their many adaptations to various habitats.  The last 5 minutes is dedicated to the recent declines in toads and frogs worldwide and shows still photos of the now extinct Golden Toad of Costa Rica.

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