TODAY   |  February 05, 2013

Lemur, python, groundhog visit Studio 1A

Julie Scardina, SeaWorld and Busch Gardens animal ambassador, introduces the TODAY anchors to a few animals from around the world that are facing threats to their survival, including a black-and-white ruffed lemur from Madagascar and a Burmese python.

Share This:

This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> in one spot in the entire world and who knows where that is?

>> madagascar.

>> all hail the new york giants.

>> hello, king julian.

>> these guys are one of the largest species of lemurs. unfortunately, they need forest s. they need trees, which will produce large fruit. they're basically fruit eaters and leaf eaters and 90% of madagascar has already been deforested. and also, unfortunately, they're hunted because they're a very poor people . that's one way they get protein. it's hard to imagine that anybody would certainly want to harm this type of animal in any way. but there are things that we can do.

>> what's that?

>> learning about -- that's not really polite.

>> no manners, sorry.

>> all lemurs do that when we get together.

>> and ensure that we don't buy tropical hardwood. that's where they live. at least we don't get that illegal logging. we want to buy sustainable wood. and don't buy rosewood, teak and mahogany. that will help.

>> natalie's favorite.

>> you guys, squish together a little bit.

>> head coming right to me.

>> right to you.

>> keep it coming. keep it coming.

>> look at the size of this animal.

>> you're going to have to hold your end up.

>> you have to hold your end up.

>> i don't like snakes.

>> she's actually from sea world in texas, one of our ambassador animals that kids get a chance to meet as well.

>> wow!

>> kids learn that snakes aren't as frightening as they seem to be.

>> how much does this one eat? i want to know how much this eats.

>> that is actually a constrictor. he doesn't have any venom. this one in particular is about 12 feet long. he eats something as large as a rabbit or something like that. but in the wild --

>> what's up, doc?

>> in the wild, they grow to be 20 feet long and thick around as a telephone pole . they can eat wild boar and deer. they actually can come unhinged.

>> why are they facing stipulation?

>> that's a great question, al. they're hunted both for their skin, for their meat, for pet trade. all those types of things. and, of course, habitat loss . they live in southeast asia . many of those forests are getting cut down. there's no place to go. i was in cambodia in december, working with an organization called wildlife alliance. they just rescued 60 of these animals and we released them back into the wild . it was actually a great experienc experience.

>> we have an african brown horn bell.

>> hold your arm out. put your palm up just like this. and we're going to call tuffs over there on your left-hand side. come on over here.

>> come on.

>> he is a very large bird. spends most of his time on the ground. and here he comes.

>> there he is.

>> whoa!

>> yes!

>> awesome.

>> wow!

>> look at that bird. isn't that impressive?

>> look at the eyelashes.

>> they actually do eat meats and things like that.

>> oh, look at that.

>> mice that they find, insects. they go along the ground and try to find all the different types of little things that they can -- anything that they can find on the ground.

>> they look pretty primitive. are they? do they go back centuries?

>> they are prehistoric.

>> prehistoric, yeah.

>> let's get the groundhog in there.

>> i want his eyelashes.

>> i know.

>> beautiful. wait a minute, my time isn't up yet! actually having a hard time in the wild because they don't prere produce very often. after all those endangered animals, we should bring something that's not, right? this is our own little north american groundhog. they're very, very common. but they're also very beneficial. they aerate the soil.

>> they predict the weather.

>> that's right. so he is important to have around as well, just like all of our other north american animal s. if we all pay attention we can help these animals survive.

>> it's going to be an early spring.

>> it's also national pet month. not that these are pets but we all have pets at home and we have to be responsible to make sure they get taken care of, too. you can take the initiative and pledge to make sure you take care of your animals. being parents i know we forget about our animals.

>> get your pets from shelters around the country.