National Geographic : 1992 Sep
On Television Paradise Revisited: Video Club Presents "Hawaii" angling from the tallest sea * cliffs in the world, Ken Wood of the National Tropical Botanical Garden delivers pollen to an endangered Brighamia plant, one of numerous species found nowhere else on earth but Hawaii. To help ensure its survival, Wood and a colleague will pollinate many of the 150 or so Brighamia left on these cliffs. Long before humans brought sugarcane and pineapple, pigs and cattle, and imported "weeds" like blackberry to the islands, air and sea currents carried in plants, birds, and insects. Over millions of years these plants and animals evolved in isola tion. Today more than 90 percent of Hawaii's flora and fauna are unique. Yet extinction rates are alarming. At least half of all native bird species have already disappeared. The film "Hawaii: Strangers in Paradise," which inaugurated the 1991-92 season of National Geo graphic Television Specials, brings home a natural side of Hawaii that tourists rarely see. "Hawaii":afall selection of the National Geographic Video Club; U. S. and Canada only (1-800-343-6610). Wild Animal Pets: Good Intentions, Tragic Results The newspaper ad said, "Chimp for sale. Perfect pet. Or trade for classic car." Investigators from Primarily Pri mates, a nonprofit care facility in Texas, found harried owners who had chained their chimp to a bare basement floor. Moved to a sanctu ary, Koko did not know his kind and fled from another chimpanzee. Koko's story is part of "Born Wild," a film that probes the exotic pet trade. Producer Richard M. Lewis took up the topic after read ing of a lawsuit brought against the city of Austin by the owner of Josie (above), a pet Bengal tiger. Josie died after her forced removal from the owner's yard. "The stories of wild animals kept as pets very rarely have happy endings," Lewis says. Regulations are inadequate in most states. Owners misled by un scrupulous breeders and dealers may care for their pets for a few months, but then be overwhelmed by breakage, odor, and expense. Captive chimps may end up in medi cal labs. Large cats have been sold for "canned" hunts-shootings in enclosures-or poisoned and skinned for their pelts. "Humans lose their dream of communing with the wild animals," says Wallace Swett of Primarily Primates, "but the animals lose their lives." "Born Wild" airs Sept. 20 on EXPLOR ER, TBS SuperStation, 9p.m. ET. GRACENISKAATKINS NATIONALGEOGRAPHICEXPLORERAIRS ON TBS SUPERSTATION,SUNDAYSAT 9 P.M . ET. NATIONALGEOGRAPHICSPECIALSAIR ON PBS; CHECKLOCALLISTINGS.