'Endangered Species in the Gulf' premieres Tuesday 'Endangered Species in the Gulf' premieres Tuesday
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Louisiana Public Broadcasting will premiere an episode of Alive! in America's Delta that focuses on endangered species in the Gulf of Mexico Tuesday, March 18, at 7 p.m.

The one-hour documentary was produced locally for Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries by an award-winning team including Christina Hendrick Melton, Rex Q. Fortenberry, Keith Crews, Gary Allen, Mark Carroll and Mike Esnault.

The third in a six-part series, this program focuses on endangered Gulf marine, mammal and bird species, the factors threatening their survival, conservation efforts and the use cutting edge technology to monitor and protect them. 

“Through the show, we hope to encourage the people of Louisiana to become educated about threats to species [and] conservation [efforts]," says Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Secretary Robert Barham.

For example, the West Indian manatee, the Gulf sturgeon, sperm and right whales and birds such as the piping plover and the least tern make the Gulf their home. The survival of these unique and beautiful animals is dependent upon their habitats, which have been compromised recently by both natural and man-made disasters.

Of the world's seven endangered sea turtles, five species reside in the Gulf. The Kemp's Ridley sea turtle faces particular challenges. Though an array of projects are helping with sea turtle protection, wildlife officials say the number of deaths have risen in the last four years.

With 15,000 identified in the Gulf, LDWF biologists rely on the public's help in reporting injured animals, so the sea turtles get the life-saving treatment they need.

This episode also chronicles resurgence of Louisiana's brown pelican. In the 1960s, widespread use of the pesticide DDT led to the extinction of the state bird. After the insecticide was banned in the early 1970s, Louisiana wildlife officials released 1,200 young Florida pelicans, which repopulated the Bayou State. The program worked so well that in 2009, the magnificent bird was removed from the Endangered Species List.

“At a time when so many species of wildlife are threatened, we—once in a while—have an opportunity to celebrate an amazing success story,” Barham says.

While there have been some success stories, the preservation and protection of the endangered species in the northern Gulf will always be a work in progress particularly in light of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. While the Gulf harbors a resilient ecosystem, it needs protection to remain viable for generations to come.

Creature Feature

Mocha is a sweet, beautiful, and playful female kitten.

Louie is a happy, go-lucky kind of guy. This terrier/boxer mix is young and still very much in his puppy phase. He loves to play with other dogs and is great with kids. He is working very hard on his potty training and proper puppy etiquette. Nonetheless, he is a lovable little dog. Doo is a loving feline boy. This grey-and-white kitty is a little shy at first but quickly warms up to his new human friends. Once this two-year-old becomes used to his new surroundings, he is outgoing and loves human attention.

Dolly is a beauty. She is an interesting combination of basset hound and Rottweiler. She has the stature of a basset with more bulk. An SOS foster has raised this spunky, sweet girl since she was two days old, so she is very spoiled and loves to be cuddled.

Parker is a sweet boy. He was found wandering a neighborhood. After SOS exhausted all efforts to find his owner, he is now looking for a new home. He loves to cuddle and gets along very well with other dogs and cats. Parker is a wanderer, though. Once he escapes, he just keeps running, which probably explains how he ended up homeless. His new home will require a fence and an owner who is vigilant about training him not to run out an open door. We know he can do it because he is super smart. Lili is a beautiful girl. This seven-month-old grey girl loves to play and especially to snuggle with her fosters. She does great with other cats too. These great pets have all been vaccinated, spayed/neutered, microchipped and heartworm tested. Many other puppies, dogs, cats and kittens are available at sosrescuebr.org. You can also visit SOS Rescue at the PetSmart at 10527 S. Mall Dr. each Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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