Video Duration 24 minutes 59 seconds
From: earthrise

Birdman of Lekurruki & Sea Otter Cascade

earthrise meets Kenya’s very own conservation superhero and explores how sea otters are saving the oceans of California.

Birdman of Lekurruki 

Martin Wheeler, otherwise known as Birdman, has always had a passion for birds. The Kenyan-born ‘local hero’ runs his own bird of prey sanctuary, rehabilitating endangered species before releasing them back into the wild.

But when he is not tending to the needs of the birds in his sanctuary, Wheeler is up in the sky with an eagle eye scouring for illegal poaching activities. From his small paraglider, he works with local rangers to identify poaching threats from the air, relaying locations and information back down to the rangers on the ground.

This has led to him to become the self-appointed ‘eyes in the sky’ for the Lekurruki conservancy – one of the North Rangelands Trust community conservancies.

Birdman’s constant presence in the sky allows him to monitor around 240 square kilometres of grass and woodland and help preserve Kenya’s iconic wildlife.

Join Russell Beard as he meets this local hero, who is working alongside his community to protect precious wildlife from being hunted to extinction.

Sea Otter Cascade

One of the biggest problems facing our oceans is the alarming disappearance of seagrasses, which account for roughly around 15 percent of the oceans’ carbon storage. In fact, seagrasses bury carbon at a rate 35-times faster than tropical rainforests such as the Amazon and form vital habitats for endangered marine species.

In the Elkhorn Slough estuary of Monterey, California the impact of heavy agricultural activity degraded the water quality and the marine habitat for the slough’s vibrant species. After years of decline, however, the tide might be turning for seagrasses. In recent years, a hunting ban that allowed sea otters to return to the slough also turned around the fortunes of seagrasses.

Researchers discovered that the sea otters, which are keystone predators, eat crabs that in turn ate slugs which help protect seagrass meadows. Therefore, through their top-down consumption, sea otters have been able to encourage seagrass to flourish and counter the decline of our oceans.

Yasmeen Qureshi explores the unique role that the return of the sea otters have had on the oceans of California.


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