2002-10-10 / Arts & Entertainment

Nature’s Tallest Creatures Spotlighted In PBS Documentary

Journalist Lynn Sherr cradles Uzuri, a newborn giraffe at Colorado’s Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in a scene from the PBS NATURE series special, which launches a new season this Sunday at 8 p.m. Bachar©Thirteen/WNETJournalist Lynn Sherr cradles Uzuri, a newborn giraffe at Colorado’s Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in a scene from the PBS NATURE series special, which launches a new season this Sunday at 8 p.m. Bachar©Thirteen/WNET

Lynn Sherr, the award-winning correspondent for ABC TV’s 20/20 news magazine, went to Africa for the first time in 1973 and fell in love — with gi-raffes.

Journey to Kenya and South Africa, and to an American zoo that is the gi-raffe breeding capital of the Western Hemisphere, for a revealing look at this powerful, captivating creature when Sherr hosts Tall Blondes, which launches the 21st season of Thirteen/WNET New York’s NATUREsm series, this Sunday, at 8 p.m.(ET) on PBS (check local listings).

Sherr, a statuesque woman with fair hair and skin, says her friends were puz-zled by her choice of favorite African mammal. But, one, nodding wisely, ex-claimed: "Of course. Tall blondes."

The comment inspired the title of her book, Tall Blondes, upon which the doc-umentary is loosely based.

Sherr revisits Giraffe Manor, outside Nairobi, Kenya, a refuge that, improbably, also includes a fieldstone mansion. One of the film’s most memorable scenes is of a giraffe, not coincidentally called Lynn, who lowers her long neck through the front door of the manse to be hand-fed by her namesake.

A sequence at the Cheyenne Moun-tain Zoo in Colorado Springs, Colora-do, where more giraffes have been bred than at any other place in the Americas, shows the birth of a giraffe, which en-ters the world six feet above ground.

Tall Blondes helps debunk the notion that giraffes are mute. Research has shown that they communicate through infrasound, which isn’t audible to the human ear.

The most exciting sequence in the film involves trapping giraffes and re-locating them to an African wildlife re-fuge. As Sherr notes, giraffes are not on any lists of endangered animals, but their habitats are shrinking as a result of hu-man encroachment. That has led to the need to manage the numbers of giraf-fes in a given area and relocate them as necessary.

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