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At a time when news about the environment is filled with doom and people around the world feel increasingly fearful about the future, WILD HOPE is changing the narrative with surprising stories that show we can still change course. This series of short films highlights the intrepid changemakers working to restore and protect our planet. Each half-hour episode inspires audiences with stories of bold interventions, unexpected alliances, and nature’s resilience.
Episode 1: “The Big Oyster” - New York Harbor was a haven of incredible underwater biodiversity—until centuries of pollution turned it into a cesspool. Today, an alliance of architects, restaurateurs, scientists, and high school students is working to restore the harbor and protect the city from climate change. At the heart of the effort is a tiny creature with an outsized talent for cleanup: the extraordinary oyster.
Episode 2: “Beaver Fever” - The surprise return of beavers to the British countryside is boosting biodiversity, reducing storm-induced flooding, and restoring wilderness to a highly manicured landscape. But the industrious rodents are also riling some of their human neighbors. Can the British beavers regain their former glory as powerful ecosystem engineers, or is their new home too domesticated to return to the wild?
Episode 3: “Woodpecker Wars” - Following a revelation that forest fires sparked by live-fire training at the Fort Bragg Army base in North Carolina create excellent habitat for the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker, scientists and soldiers have forged an improbable alliance to safeguard the special bird. Nearby landowners too are pitching in too – setting aside suspicions and animosity to save the species.
Episode 4: “Does Nature Have Rights?” - Ecuador is one of the most biodiverse places on the planet, yet its wild spaces are among the most threatened. In 2008, the country became the first nation in the world to enshrine the “rights of nature” in its constitution—granting wild species their own legal rights to exist. Today, conservationists are putting that powerful tool to the test as they battle to save biodiversity hotspots.
Episode 5: “The Beautiful Undammed” - A decade after the largest dam removal in history—on Washington State’s Elwha River—scientists are chronicling a story of ecological rebirth. Recovering salmon populations are transferring critical nutrients from the ocean into the forests, enriching the entire ecosystem. The Elwha’s revival is an encouraging model for the removal of larger dams in the region and around the world.
Episode 6: “Coffee for Water” - Decades of war and unsustainable agriculture have ravaged the rainforest atop Mozambique’s Mount Gorongosa. The devastation threatens the watershed that sustains life in nearby communities and in Gorongosa National Park. Now, park experts and local farmers are uniting to plant shade-loving coffee, which will help restore the forest and ensure a more prosperous future for humans and wildlife alike.
Episode 7: “Salamander of the Gods” - The axolotl—an amphibian with incredible regenerative abilities—is ubiquitous in pop culture, pet stores, science labs, yet almost extinct in the wild. Now, scientists and farmers in Mexico City are using ancient Aztec farming techniques to secure the creature’s future. Another team is partnering with salamander-breeding, cough syrup-making nuns to save a closely-related species—the achoque.
Episode 8: “Canine Conservationists” - Dogs are often thought of as humans’ best friends. But in Australia, they’re also allies of other species. Canine conservationists—and their sensitive noses—are sniffing out dwindling populations of koalas as the iconic marsupial’s habitat is fragmented by urbanization and wildfires. Dogs are also helping scientists eliminate invasive foxes that devastate native sea turtle populations.
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Presented by PBS NATURE / American Public Television.