Shark Business unravels some of the mysteries surrounding sharks with controversial behaviorist Dr. Erich Ritter. You'll witness divers testing the limits of shark-human interaction outside of cages with dangerous sharks such as lemon, bull and even great white sharks!
Recount the events that led to the attack that almost killed Dr. Ritter. Witness a feeding Frenzy of over 100 reef sharks in the Bahamas, and see a diver literally ride a Great White Shark in Gansbai, South Africa! This episode has shark action like you have never seen before!
Giants of San Benedicto
Giants of San Benedicto features Dr. Robert Rubin and his ground-breaking research of giant Mantas. You'll travel to the remote Socorro Islands off Mexico's Pacific coast and see breath-taking encounters with enormous manta rays.
You're sure to love these majestic giants as you see how they invite human contact, and encourage certain divers to ride them. The film crew also travels to the Bahamas to visit 'Bubbles', a fifteen foot Manta in the worlds largest aquarium, and witness her release back into the ocean.
Tentacles follows Dr. Jennifer Mather as she leads a team of renowned scientists to the beautiful Caribbean island of Bonaire. Their mission is to prove a controversial theory: reef squid speak to each other with a complex language they paint on their skin.
The episode features the bizarre courtship and never-before-filmed egg-laying rituals of reef squid. Travel to the Pacific Northwest for an encounter with the world's largest Octopus. You'll also witness the fascinating hunting technique of the cuttlefish.
Miracle Venom explores the strange, and often bizarre world of the oceans most venomous animals. Follow Dr. Glen Burns as he handles deadly Sea Snakes with only his bare hands. You'll be amazed at how a small Cone Snail hunts, paralyses and then eats it's prey alive.
The waters of Papua New Guinea and Australia's Great Barrier Reef harbour an exceptional variety of venomous fish and invertebrates.The poisons of these animals are some of the most lethal known to man.They also, however, hold enormous potential in the development of therapeutic drugs.
Whale Sharks: Gentle Giants
They’re not whales at all, but by far the largest fish in the sea. Yet at nearly 50 feet in length and weighing 20 tons or more, they eat only the smallest marine animals. They are not a threat to humans, but their numbers are dramatically shrinking. Like elephants slaughtered for their ivory tusks, whale sharks are relentlessly pursued by poachers. From Africa to Asia, they are targeted for their meat and immense fins.
Whale Sharks: Gentle Giants introduces us to this amazing creature through scientists who are racing against time to save the species. Utilizing space-age technology from NASA and the Hubble Telescope, researchers are able to identify, catalogue and track individual sharks. In Mexico and remote Western Australia, whale shark tourism has proven to be both a blessing and a curse, as more and more boats vie for fewer animals. The program also features the remarkable story of shark cowboys who captured and transported 4 live whale sharks (in customized jumbo jets) to the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta.
Sharks are BIG business in adrenaline eco-tourism. And some thrill seekers deliberately pursue close encounters with deadly sharks – without the protection of a cage. The bigger and more dangerous the shark, the better.
At Mexico’s Guadalupe Island, guests (including 5 & 7 year old siblings) come face to face with great whites. In the Bahamas, scuba divers pay big bucks to get up close and personal with tiger sharks. But have we taken this risky sport too far? Shark advocates Dr. Erich Ritter and Chuck Anderson have grave reservations about how far we are willing to go for a thrill. And they have intimate knowledge of the subject. Both men were brutally attacked by bull sharks. Shark Divers also examines the controversy surrounding a handful of high-profile attacks in 2008, including the first shark tourist killed while on a shark excursion.
Humpbacks: From Tonga to Antarctica
Singing louder than any animal on earth, humpback whales are famous for their haunting songs and jaw-dropping acrobatics. They were hunted to the brink of extinction until a moratorium on killing them was implemented in the 1960s. But after finally rebounding in numbers, whaling nations are exploring ways to re-open the hunt. In Antarctica, Japan is targeting minke, fin, and now... humpbacks.
The tiny island nation of Tonga in the remote South Pacific is a haven for the magnificent mammals. With few natural resources or other means of income, the country is considering opening it’s waters to foreign whaling fleets in exchange for hard currency. The merits and legitimacy of scientific whaling by Japan and other nations is hotly debated. The iconic species is a favorite of whale watchers from Alaska to Mexico and the stage is set for an epic battle between whalers and conservationists. Humpbacks: From Tonga to Antarctica also features Paul Watson of the Sea Shepherd Society.
Manatees and Dugongs
Each year, hundreds of critically endangered manatees are killed in U.S. waters by boats, disease and cold weather. 2006 was the worst year on record for manatee deaths – 416 animals perished. With only a few thousand remaining in the wild, mostly in heavily developed Florida wetlands, the clock is ticking in efforts to save this amazing mammal from extinction.
Another rare species and close relative of manatees is the dugong. Dugongs cling to survival in a few isolated corners of the globe. In marine sanctuaries in Abu Dhabi, the bizarre animals have been notoriously difficult to find, let alone photograph. Manatees and Dugongs features exclusive HD imagery of the mammals in the wild and examines efforts of scientists to protect the two species. The program also includes thrilling captures and field exams of manatees in Florida.
They’re beautiful - and deadly, with venomous spines that resemble a lion's mane. They’re lionfish, a tropical reef species normally found in the Indo-Pacific. Now, they’re wreaking havoc in the Caribbean and Atlantic – all thought to have descended from a handful of aquarium fish carelessly released into the sea. In these regions, they are potentially a greater threat to coral reefs and commercial fish populations than global warming or pollution.
Prolific breeders and aggressive predators, they quickly spread - wiping out native species at an alarming rate. Most fish aren't afraid of them because they've never encountered lionfish in the past. Eradication programs are in place, but they are barely making a dent in a booming population. Handling the prickly invaders can be a daunting task. A lionfish envenomation is one of the most painful wounds in nature. In the Florida Keys, some practical and novel approaches are making progress in the fight against these Toxic Invaders.
Reefs of Steel
Around the globe, thousands of decommissioned naval vessels rot in dockyards. What can you do with these toxic time bombs? One solution is to clean them well, blow them up and sink them! Providing shelter and breeding grounds, countless fish and invertebrates colonize steel hulls.
In the Cayman Islands, the USS Kittiwake met a watery grave and quickly transformed into a vibrant artificial reef. In the Florida Keys, dozens of purposely sunk ships are a beacon to marine life, and to scuba divers. It seems like a win-win-win situation - for the environment, for divers and for cash strapped governments. But supporters face tough opposition on many fronts. After years of struggle, Canada's newest artificial reef project - the HMCS Annapolis, is nearing completion. But will protesters get their way and scuttle the sinking?
There's no doubt sharks have an image problem. And they're certainly in trouble globally. The population of some species has declined by more than 90% due to over fishing. But there's still one place in the world where sharks thrive – the Bahamas. Sharks not only prosper there, they are highly protected. It’s illegal to kill them.
Stuart Cove's passion is sharks. Travelling In his private plane, he spreads the gospel of shark advocacy across the Bahamian island chain. And shark tourism is his livelihood. A successful entrepreneur, his main business revolves around scuba diving with sharks. Cove also works with Bahamian and international researchers in their studies of dangerous species such as tiger, hammerhead and bull sharks. And it's a family affair. His teenage children are both certified shark feeders!
Believe it or not, many scuba divers want to see great whites up close, and photographers want dramatic shots. But how do you get the sharks to where you want them? For decades, it's been done by baiting, or “chumming” – attracting sharks with food. This practice is being questioned and banned in many countries because of a dramatic increase in shark attacks.
In April 2012, a champion South African surfer was killed by a great white and shark tourism operators and documentary filmmakers were blamed. They were chumming in the area at the time of the attack. In Western Australia, 5 deaths are attributed to white sharks in just the first 6 months of 2012. Three surfers have also been killed by the sharks recently in California - more deadly attacks in a year than in the past dozen years combined. And the sharks have even been spotted as far north as Canada and a swimmer was attacked in Massachusetts. What's going on?
Lions of the Deep
Since the 1970's, sea lion populations have declined more than 80% along the North Pacific coast. Scientists at the University of British Columbia and the Vancouver Aquarium are working together to help save Canada’s iconic and largest pinniped – the stellar sea lion
To help understand why their numbers are dropping, researchers work with the highly intelligent mammals at a unique floating laboratory. At The Open Water Research Station, free swimming seals and sea lions are observed in their natural habitat. In Alaska, wild stellar sea lions seem to be thriving, but prove to be an aggressive and difficult animal to study and photograph. At the research station, these tame, remarkable animals are providing fresh insights into the fragile ocean food chain of the North Pacific.