Educative videos about the hutia and the solenodon now online

As part of the environmental education campaign Funk Productions in collaboration with Nature Heritage and the multinational team of the Darwin Initiative project “The last Survivors” produced a series of short videos about the hutia and the solenodon, the last mammal survivors of the Island of Hispaniola, now Dominican Republic and Haiti.

The series of four short videos is now part of the environmental campaign of the scientific project for the conservation of these species. The production was conceived as a participative video where Funk Productions provided training and production skills to the team, while researchers and locals filmed their activities on the ground and sent the footage electronically via ftp server.

Each film is intends to reach different audiences: general public (10 min), children (3 min), local community (4 min) and scientific community (11 min). The first three videos are in Spanish, while the last one is in English.

The music was composed, by Rene Veron -a very talented young composer based in New York- who worked hard to please Funk Productions, and played an important role to make each film special.

The 3D graphics based on the logo of The Last Survivors, was animated by MadMouse, giving a nice professional introduction and ending to the videos, both in English and Spanish.

The videos, now available at Vimeo and you-tube, are also being shown in the Island by the team.

About the project

In early 2009 a collaboration of UK and Dominican partners received a Darwin Initiative grant from the UK Government to run a three-year project based in the Dominican Republic to study the hutia and the solenodon, two very rare mammals.

These animals are the last survivors of a long list of endemic mammals, which populated the Caribbean, and were already there when the dinosaurs got extinct.

Scientists don’t know much about its ecology, distribution and behavior and the local people rarely see them, as they live in the forest and go out at night. The project will contribute to have a baseline to plan the future conservation plan for the species.

The main researchers involved in the project are Dr. Richard Young, Project Leader and representative of Durrell Wildlife, Jorge Brocca Assistant Project Leader and Director of Sociedad Ornitológica de la Hispañola, Dr Samuel Turvey, Conservation biologist and paleo-ecologist from The Zoological Society of London, Professor John Fa, scientific advisor from Durrell Wildlife and Dr Stephan Funk, geneticist and conservation biologist from Nature Heritage.

The project is being developed on the ground by a very committed group lead by Dr. José Núñez Miño (Durrell) and Pedro Martínez (SOH), in collaboration with representatives of ZooDom, the Minister of Environment of the Dominican Republic, a number of volunteers and trainees, and of course, the local communities.

Special support

These videos would have not been possible without the special support of BBC and the Dominican TV program Santo Domingo Invita, Jose Rafael Paula Sosa, who contributed providing very valuable footage, radio Cadena Nacional (Puerto Rico) who provided their studio and volunteer their time to record the voice over of each video; the Dominican Republic Consulate in San Juan, Puerto Rico, who offered an open door policy to support the films and Godwana das Prehistorium, in Germany, who open their gates to allow us to film “dinosaurs in the wild”.

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