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Wolverines, Desert Wilderness, Military Base Makeo

series: This American Land

air date: 12/15/12 4:00 PM

Among the most solitary and elusive mammals in North America, wolverines were wiped out decades ago by fur traders and poison in the lower 48 states. Now these mammals with a ferocious reputation are making a slow comeback, migrating south from Canada. It takes rugged and dedicated scientists and photographers to sneak a peek into their world! See how they are working to understand and preserve the wolverine's habitat. For decades U.S. soldiers headed for battle spent weeks in training at Fort Ord, California. Trucks, tanks, grenades and artillery they spread over this land on the Pacific Coast. When the base was shuttered in the early 1990s the community nearby was devastated economically. But residents, the military and local businesses put their heads together to give a re-birth to these tens of thousands of acres. Now it attracts hikers, mountain bikers, researchers, even young school kids who can share and enjoy this land. Host Bruce Burkhardt takes us on a tour. What do casino executives, Moapa Paiute Indians and nature photographers have in common? They are all eager to protect an area known as Gold Butte in Nevada. The group "Friends of Gold Butte" is working to add the highest federal protection to the region, by designating it a wilderness. This could help add law enforcement to this huge acreage, to protect ancient cultural sites and prevent vandalism in this stark and beautiful desert. It's a detective story that has unfolded in the waters off Key West, Florida. What's been killing the Elkhorn coral? Biologist Kathryn Sutherland has identified human sewage as the source of the coral-killing pathogen that causes white pox disease. Elkhorn coral was listed for protection as an endangered species in 2006, largely due to white pox disease. Sutherland works with water treatment facilities in south Florida to try to make sure water is cleared of this pathogen before it goes back into the Atlantic.

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