It's Nature Night! Love, Horses & African Deserts

Jan 25, 2014

Each Monday, WLRN airs powerful nature and wildlife documentaries, including the popular PBS series Nature and the best from the BBC. 

On January 27, Channel 17 will air these stunning shows from some of the most remote parts of our planet:

Nature: Love In The Animal Kingdom (8:00 p.m.)

Animals dance, sing and flirt to attract their mates and fight with all rivals to win them. For many, the all-important bonds they build as couples are what enable the next generation to survive.

This film looks at all the subtle, outrageous and romantic antics that go into finding a life partner in the wild. In this delightful, provocative look at the love life of animals, we see the feminine wiles of a young gorilla, the search for Mr. Right among a thousand flamingos, the open “marriages” of blue-footed boobies and the soap opera dramas of gibbons. These are love stories all right, as varied and intriguing as the lovers themselves.

Wild! Chasing Wild Horses (9:00 p.m.)

Roberto Dutesco, one of New York City’s top fashion photographers, captures human beauty everyday.

But since childhood, he has carried with him a singular artistic vision: to take pictures of wild, long-maned dark horses galloping through white sand dunes. When he discovered remote Sable Island off the coast of Nova Scotia, he became obsessed with the natural beauty of the untouched and unclaimed wild horses that have roamed the sandy dunes since the 1700s.

Wild Africa: Deserts (10:00 p.m.)

This program features Africa’s vast, enduring deserts whose swathes of sand and rock cover half the continent.

It begins in the Namib by demonstrating some of the unusual strategies that desert insects and spiders use to survive. With no more than five inches of rain a year, this is Africa’s driest place. On warm nights, sea fog forms over the cold ocean and blows across the dunes, bringing vital, life-sustaining moisture.

By contrast, the neighboring Karoo Desert is washed by winter rains that trigger swarms of locusts, filling the sky and destroying everything that grows.

In the Kalahari, there is enough rain for grasses and stunted trees to grow. The vegetation supports grazing animals such as springbok which in turn attract predators. The cheetah, with its thin, lightly furred body, is most at home in the desert.

The Sahara is much newer than Africa’s southern deserts, the product of a rapidly drying climate coupled with overgrazing. Here, the last remaining Nile crocodiles share their dwindling pools with the passing camel trains.