After decades of yearning for lost ancestral lands, the Navajo Nation in Utah is sponsoring a proposal for a national conservation area that would preserve Cedar Mesa and adjacent areas. Just outside the Navajo Reservation, Cedar Mesa has a rich history - occupied by ancestral Anasazi for thousands of years and now filled with some of America's oldest archaeological treasures that need urgent protection. Facing the formidable challenge of winning support from a wide range of local and state interests, the Navajo's mission would benefit all Americans if it succeeds. Off the coast of San Diego, marine biologists test a new device for increasing the survival rate of fish caught as bycatch by sport fishermen. Entered in a competition sponsored by the World Wildlife Fund, the SeaQualizer is proving effective as a solution to the problem of barotrauma with bottom-dwelling fish that are released at the surface as bycatch. The expanded bladder prevents the fish from returning to their original depth when released at the surface as bycatch, and mortality is very high. The device employs a non-invasive method of returning fish to depth and is highly effective at increasing the survival rate. Between Carlsbad Caverns in southeastern New Mexico and Guadalupe National Park in Texas, the Brokeoff Mountains are a little-known stretch of rugged canyons and peaks that are still relatively untouched by development. In a classic Chihuahuan Desert landscape of steep cliffs, caves, shelters and stunning rock formations, limestone canyons cut through the mountains and empty onto plains full of an unexpectedly wide variety of plants and animals. Local advocates want federal authorities to extend wilderness protection to the Brokeoffs while there's still time to avoid intrusion by oil and gas drilling and other invasive threats. The unusual body shape of a snake may seem like quite a disadvantage compared to other creatures. But boas, pythons and pit vipers have a secret weapon when it comes to sensing both predators and prey: they can sense danger - and lunch - even with their eyes closed!
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Episode #304 / Length: 26 minutes