This American Land

Montana Wilderness, Bald Eagle Recovery, Lionfish

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Montana Wilderness: There's an ambitious plan to protect 700,000 acres of new wilderness in Montana. And after many years of argument, it looks like local residents, loggers, hikers, and conservation groups have put aside their differences so nature is the big winner. You'll meet one veteran outdoorsman, Smoke Elser, who's almost as comfortable in this back woods as the elk and the bears are! Bald Eagle Recovery: It was almost a national tragedy. The bold symbol the United States, the bald eagle, was nearly wiped out when pesticides interfered with their breeding. Our national bird has made quite a comeback, but there are still mysteries to solve in keeping the population healthy. Oregon Field Guide takes us to a "convocation, " a gathering of these regal birds, and introduces us to some of the heroes who saved them from extinction. Lionfish Derby: It's one of the most dramatic displays of how an invasive species can upset an ecosystem. Lionfish, originally from Asia, have found a comfortable home in the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean. Government and conservation organizations have come up with some sporty ways to control these aggressive fish, because they are competing with commercially important species like snapper and grouper. We'll take you to one "Lionfish Derby." Crocodile Man: "If it can't bite you, it's not interesting," laughs Mississippi State University biologist David Ray. Ray does very interesting work, studying alligators, crocodiles, bats, and flies, among other creatures. Mapping alligator and crocodile genomes is helping scientists with everything from trying to save the odd looking Indian gharial, to tracing the links between modern reptiles, dinosaurs, and birds.

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