"100 Heartbeats:" Endangered Species Timebomb


100 Heartbeats book by Jeff Corwin. Image courtesy of Rodale Books

Every year, we lose 20,000 unique animals, insects or plants. That breaks down to every 20 minutes. That equation from ""100 Heartbeats"," the MSNBC documentary from naturalist/TV host Jeff Corwin, addresses the issue of the world's endangered wildlife on the brink of extinction. Not only are 25% of Zimbabwe's rhinoceros gone and orangutans may be the first ape to go, the Florida panther is also at risk. Corwin has some ideas of what to do.It's part of NBC's annual November "Green is Universal" Week. Yep, they're doing it again - Tina Fey cracks jokes of an environmental nature, Ed Begley, Jr. accepts Jay Leno's "Green Car Challenge," and the Nightly News travels to Greenland, Arizona and Denmark to examine melting ice cores and green energy sources. Across NBC's cable networks, from USA to Bravo, green tales are the focus this week, with Syfy featuring "Earth in Peril" films, Suze Orman highlighting green investments and PSAs encourage viewers to pledge the usual eco-friendly habit -- even if reusuable bags and recycling seems old hat, believe it or not, some aren't on board.

The two-hour "100 Heartbeats" special edition on MSNBC's Future Earth series shows Corwin chronicling the impact of the environmental crisis on animals. The show airs Sunday, November 22 at 8 pm EST. He meets wildlife conservation heroes who are winning the battle to save cheetahs in Namibia and Asia's tigers. Corwin, who's hosted Animal Planet's The Vanishing Frog, Jeff Corwin Experience and Corwin's Quest, has also written the book 100 Heartbeats, a reference to the moment, when that's all there is between a species' existence and extinction.

Who needs 2012's doomsday scenario of earthquakes and tidal waves? Watch "100 Heartbeats" and feel the heartbreaking threat and ticking clock. Dangerous loss is not just in faraway jungles and savannahs, but in the US, there's the grey wolf, gopher tortoise, black-footed ferret of South Dakota, and California condor. With a note of hope, Corwin shows the recovery, survival and renewal efforts of scientists and individuals who care for Indonesian elephants and our manatee. It's not just about brutal poaching and deforestation, there's stuff in our own backyard, like loss of habitat, pollution, drought.

Here are some ways you can save endangered wildlife:

Help Save the Polar Bears without Leaving Home
Adopt Wildlife
Certify Your Backyard as a Wildlife Sanctuary
More on Endangered Species:
Meet the Five Almost-Endangered Species of 2009
Four Worst Places to be an Endangered Species
Voices from Hopenhagen: Leda Huta
10 Endangered Animals Which Aren't in the Spotlight, But Should Be

Tags: Animals | Conservation | Documentaries | Endangered Species | Television

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