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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Elizabeth Edwards' Battle With Cancer Resumes; Planet in Peril: Cambodia's Animal Rescue Center

Aired March 22, 2007 - 22:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone, from Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
Simply put, it was an amazing, if not terrifying, day here for us, not like anything you would get back at the office, certainly -- an elephant, one of several at a wildlife reserve not far from here, suddenly playing a little too hard with our partner Jeff Corwin.

Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(SCREAMING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Jeff will be here with us to tell us about the incident firsthand, as well as about the plight of some of these remarkable creatures, a population under extreme pressure from people and changes in their habitat.

But, first, John Roberts is in New York with the news on the John Edwards presidential campaign -- John.

JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: Anderson, thanks.

A reminder: They are very big animals.

And they are, by any measure, a remarkable couple, not to mention a remarkably effective political team. That strength will now be challenged.

Today, former Senator John Edwards and his wife, Elizabeth, went before the cameras, she to say that her breast cancer has spread to her bones and possibly elsewhere, she and he to say that, cancer or not, their run for the Democratic nomination would go on.

A lot of people to talk to tonight, including Elizabeth Edwards' brother.

First, though, here's CNN's Candy Crowley.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They got the diagnosis Wednesday. JOHN EDWARDS (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The bottom line is, her cancer is back.

CROWLEY: They made their decision the same day.

J. EDWARDS: The campaign goes on. The campaign goes on strongly.

CROWLEY: Her cancer, his campaign, their decision -- no way, said one friend of John and Elizabeth Edwards, that she was going to let him get out of that race.

ELIZABETH EDWARDS, WIFE OF JOHN EDWARDS: Every event I ever did, someone cried on my shoulder about the state of their life, you know.

Is this a hardship for us? Yes, it's yet another hurdle. But I have seen people who are in real desperate shape who don't, first of all, have the wonderful support that I have and have no place to turn. And it's unbelievably important that we get this election right.

CROWLEY: They had been married 30 years, surviving the death of their 16-year-old son in a car crash, her first bout with breast cancer in 2004, and now a recurrence. A cancerous tumor was found in her bones. She has stage four breast cancer, incurable, but treatable.

J. EDWARDS: You can go cower in the corner and hide or you can be tough and go out there and stand up for what you believe in. And both of us are committed to the cause, we're committed to changing this country that we love so much. And we have no intention of cowering in the corner.

CROWLEY: Any time voters can look in a politician and see their own fears reflected back, it is a plus for the politician. And Elizabeth Edwards thinks, if voters watch, they will learn about the stuff John Edwards is made of.

E. EDWARDS: I mean, things hit him like they hit everybody else. But he has an unbelievable toughness, a reserve that allows him to push forward with what needs to happen.

CROWLEY: She will be on the trail when she can. She will be in treatment when she needs to be. There are uncertainties.

DR. LISA CAREY, ELIZABETH EDWARDS' DOCTOR: Some people, none of the treatments that we use work. And, so, their survival is short. Other people can live with it for many years.

CROWLEY: He will also be in both worlds, the public and the private.

J. EDWARDS: Let me be absolutely clear. Any time, any place that I need to be with Elizabeth, I will be there, period.

CROWLEY: Thursday evening, John Edwards arrived in Manhattan for a fund-raiser. Friday, he and Elizabeth travel together for California. Life in the campaign go on.

Candy Crowley, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROBERTS: And that life, as Candy put it, is very much the kind of modern political partnership that probably began with Jerry and Betty Ford and continues to this day, two talented people taking on the world.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ROBERTS (voice-over): An intrepid military brat, Elizabeth Edwards spent much of her childhood in Japan. By the time she reached law school at Chapel Hill, classmates regarded her as cultured and poised.

But it was a country boy who won her heart. They married in 1977 the first Saturday after the bar exam. She practiced law for 19 years, until 1996, when their eldest child, Wade, was killed in a car accident.

At his grave, Elizabeth mourned for hours every day, until she and John came to a realization.

E. EDWARDS: We decided pretty quickly that we wanted -- we didn't want this -- these wrecks of people to be wade's legacy. We wanted somehow -- he was a terrific boy. I mean, he really was, just as good a boy as a mother could hope for. And we wanted his legacy to reflect that, instead of what you might have seen if you had walked in our house.

ROBERTS: Two years later, and after aggressive hormone treatment, Elizabeth had their third child, just as John was on his way to winning a seat in the U.S. Senate. Another baby quickly followed. And little Jack and Emma became regular fixtures on the campaign trail when their father ran for the White House in the 2004 election.

E. EDWARDS: Honestly, it was a great adventure for them. My dad was in the Navy. I traveled a lot. And, so, I thought, you know, that this experience for them to travel would be great. And it was.

With this man as your next vice president, tomorrow will be a better day, John Edwards.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

ROBERTS: Elizabeth herself was active in the campaign, involved in strategy, and remains one of her husband's most important advisers -- but, just two weeks before the election, a problem that became a defining feature of their political future, breast cancer.

E. EDWARDS: You know, I felt the bump October 21 -- and the election is November 3 -- when I was campaigning. But I convinced myself. I let -- I wouldn't let myself think that this could be cancer.

ROBERTS: The election results were barely in when more bad news followed. It was cancer. After lumpectomy, chemotherapy and radiation, Elizabeth was apparently cancer-free.

She regained her strength, wrote a bestselling book, even lost some 60 pounds. And she refuses to let this new diagnosis stop her life or her husband's campaign. She's a fighter, an attitude, she says, would define her should she ever become first lady.

E. EDWARDS: Honestly, I think that it's such a bubble of an existence, it's sort of hard to imagine what it would be like to be in that bubble. There are a lot of things that I like, that I advocate for now, and it would be great to get a huge megaphone to talk about those things and try to make them happen.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROBERTS: Dr. Eric Winer is the director of the Breast Oncology Center at Boston's Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. He joins us now from Boston.

Dr. Winer, this cancer that Elizabeth Edwards has been diagnosed with is said to be treatable. What does that mean? Does it mean that you can hold it at bay or merely slow the progression of the disease?

DR. ERIC WINER, BREAST ONCOLOGY CENTER DIRECTOR, DANA-FARBER CANCER INSTITUTE: No, it means that we can hold it at bay. And we can actually do more than hold it at bay. We can actually make it get better.

When people talk about it being treatable, they are distinguishing it from being curable, which is something we can't do. But we can control the cancer, at times, for many, many years.

ROBERTS: So, it means that she will never be cancer-free; she will have to live with the disease for the rest of her life?

WINER: Well, that is the very hard part of having a diagnosis of recurrent or metastatic breast cancer, is that, at least in 2007, we don't have ways of getting rid of the cancer entirely.

Again, we can control it. And we have a number of treatments that do just that. But it's something, much like diabetes, that a woman will live with for an extended period of time.

ROBERTS: Dr. Winer, oncologists will say better that it be in the bone than in an organ. But her doctor, Lisa Carey, said that there are other suspicious spots, some possibly on her lung. What might that mean?

WINER: Well, it's certainly possible that there are small amounts of cancer in other parts of the body, although, if it's small enough that one is just suspicious of it, I'm not sure that it would change the prognosis particularly.

And, again, much of what will happen and how she will do will depend on how the treatment works.

ROBERTS: So, you -- you talked about the prognosis for survival. What -- what sort of treatment might she have, if she lives, let's say, a decade or more?

WINER: Well, I think it's hard to look forward that far. At least in the foreseeable future, the treatment will involve some number of different chemotherapy drugs, hormonal therapy drugs, and perhaps some drugs that fall within a class of drugs that are often referred to as targeted or biologic therapy. These are some of the newer designer, or smart, drugs.

ROBERTS: She was being monitored very closely following her chemotherapy. But it wasn't until she cracked a rib that she had the type of scans necessary to detect this type of cancer.

What does that say about the sort of follow-up that she and perhaps other breast cancer survivors are receiving? Do the screening tests need to be more thorough?

WINER: Well, unfortunately, the fact is that, no matter how thorough the screening tests are, that, much of the time, recurrences are identified when a woman has a symptom or more than one symptom. And, for that matter, there isn't a great deal of evidence that finding metastatic breast cancer -- that is cancer that has spread outside the breast -- can be treated more effectively finding it a little bit earlier vs. a little bit later.

So, in fact, most of the time, in follow-up visits, we recommend doing a good physical exam, talking to the patient, doing mammograms, but not doing extensive scans.

ROBERTS: All right, good advice.

Dr. Winer, we thank you very much for your expertise. Appreciate it, sir.

WINER: Thanks for having me.

ROBERTS: Breast cancer is the leading type of cancer among women. Here's the "Raw Data" for you tonight.

Every three minutes, a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States. Most breast cancer occurs in women over the age of 50. Women over 60, though, are at highest risk. A woman's risk for developing breast cancer increases if her mother, her sister, daughter or two or more close relatives have a history of the disease. But 85 percent, fully 85 percent, of women who develop breast cancer have no known family history.

And, earlier tonight, I spoke with a member of Elizabeth Edwards' family. Jay Anania is her brother.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ROBERTS: Jay, you spoke with your sister Elizabeth not too long ago. How is she holding up tonight?

JAY ANANIA, BROTHER OF ELIZABETH EDWARDS: She's doing very well. She's always got an extremely sunny disposition. But she's sort of -- I am marveling more at her than normal, given her mood today, last night even, and all throughout the day. You saw her at the press conference, how...

ROBERTS: I know.

And it was so sad to know that she just had received the diagnosis, and, at the same time, I was marveling, myself, at how strong she was being, putting myself in those shoes, to think...

ANANIA: Right. Can you imagine?

ROBERTS: ... how would I be feeling if I had just received that diagnosis?

ANANIA: Yes. Yes.

Well, I mean, I will tell you, there's a sort of an unusual shape to it, which is that, yesterday -- this has been sort of building up for a few days, with the fractured ribs. And then that's a funny sign. We need to look at it. So, there was a scheduled bone scan. So, that was yesterday morning.

When the bone scan results came in, which was about 2:00 in the afternoon yesterday, the prognosis was very grim. It was pretty bad. She called me at 2:00 and said, you know, this is very, very serious. And -- but they're going to do a bunch of soft tissue scans now.

Between 2:00 and 6:00, the prognosis got slowly better and better. It's still a very serious thing.

ROBERTS: Right.

ANANIA: She has cancer. She will have it the rest of her life. And she will be treated for the rest of her life.

ROBERTS: Does she have some sort of sense that she's not going to have the life that perhaps she thought she was going to?

Now, obviously, back in 2004, when she was diagnosed, that -- she must have been hit with that, too.

(CROSSTALK)

ANANIA: Well, yes. Yes, of course. How could she not?

But how does she react to it? That's the question. How does she react to this new realization that her life is not going to be maybe quite as long, although I think her intention right now is to live for a very, very long time. And knowing her, she will.

Her -- she recognizes that it's not going to be the same as she always imagined. And, yet, she understands it is -- that it is exactly the way it's going to be. And she will make the most of every opportunity she has.

ROBERTS: How are the kids doing? She's in Massachusetts with Cate. How are Cate, Jack and Emma holding up?

ANANIA: Well, the young kids get it. They understand. They have been through it once with their mother in 2004, as you recall.

They're a little bit older. They understand a little bit more. But they're fine. And, as she mentioned, they're mainly disappointed that her hair is not going to fall out, because what fun that is.

(LAUGHTER)

ROBERTS: Yes. I heard her saying that today.

ANANIA: Yes.

And Cate's doing very well. As a matter of fact, yesterday afternoon, I was pretty down, and I called Cate. And Cate kind of lifted my spirits. So...

ROBERTS: How do you think -- you know, that -- they're determined to go on with John Edwards' campaign.

ANANIA: Right.

ROBERTS: But this cloud is always going to be hanging over that campaign. Will it be the same as it was before?

ANANIA: Well, I mean, it's a cloud -- to call it a cloud, which it is.

(CROSSTALK)

ROBERTS: This issue will always be hanging over the campaign.

ANANIA: This issue is always going to be there.

This reality is part of the campaign. And it always will be, in the same way it will always be part of their lives. And I think time will tell to what extent this reality, added to the campaign, will change it.

My feeling is that John and Elizabeth are exactly who they were two days ago, and with just this little extra burden. But they're not people that will -- they're not people who will discuss -- or -- or they're not going to like to talk about it a whole lot...

ROBERTS: Well, they're very positive people.

ANANIA: ... certainly, in terms of themselves.

ROBERTS: But it is more than just a little burden, though, I...

(CROSSTALK) ANANIA: Yes. No, no, of course. I don't mean to -- I don't mean to diminish its scope. But the fact is, they -- I think they really think of it as...

ROBERTS: Another challenge.

ANANIA: It's another challenge. And they have had challenges, and they have met them.

ROBERTS: Jay, do me a favor. Stay with us, because we want to come back next hour and talk more with you about this.

ANANIA: Very good. Glad to.

ROBERTS: All right. Jay Anania, appreciate it.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROBERTS: And, in a moment, Democratic strategist Paul Begala and more on what news like this does to a campaign.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ROBERTS (voice-over): In sickness and in health.

J. EDWARDS: Any time, any place that I need to be with Elizabeth, I will be there, period.

ROBERTS: As if running for president weren't tough enough, how cancer changes the equation for a candidate and a loving husband.

Also, they are gentle giants, most of the time.

(SCREAMING)

ROBERTS: The awesome power of the elephants of Phnom Tamao, and how Jeff Corwin's doing now -- 360 next.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, OCTOBER 11, 2006)

E. EDWARDS: He takes the "in sickness and in health" thing pretty seriously. And he has -- so, he said, if he had to care for me, if I came down with cancer again, if it came back, that he would give his attention to that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERTS: Elizabeth Edwards back in October of 2006.

Today, she says that she's still got the energy. He says that they have no intention of cowering in a corner. So, for now, cancer or not, their campaign goes on. Democratic strategist Paul Begala knows a little something about what that entails for a candidate and a spouse. He also has a relative himself who has been battling cancer for a number of years. And he joins us now from Washington.

You know, Paul, we were talking just before we came on here about the amount of grace and poise that she showed.

PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes.

ROBERTS: And, of course, you know, when she first went to law school in Chapel Hill, she was known for having grace and poise. And she certainly demonstrated that again today, under terribly difficult circumstances.

BEGALA: Yes, really impressive.

I mean, she -- a lot of people who have been following Edwards' career for a long time have sort of seen her kind of as the soul of that operation. And it's definitely -- we used to say with Bill and Hillary that it was two for the price of one. I think it very much is with John and Elizabeth.

And I was just so impressed. There were just moments where this very genuine, very life-affirming smile would sort of come across her face. And you would just think, you know, there's somebody everybody is rooting for.

ROBERTS: They came out there today, and they said, this is not going to affect the campaign. It's going to keep going ahead strongly.

And to put an exclamation point on that, they released their public schedule for the next seven days. They're doing something every day, except for this coming Sunday. And I think that's probably a travel day. But they're -- he's here in New York. She's in Massachusetts. They're going to be in California. Then, they're coming back. They're going all over the place here. They are just -- they are not slowing down.

BEGALA: It's pretty impressive.

And just to put into perspective, all across America, though, tomorrow morning, there are husbands and wives who are going to wake up, and their life partner's battling cancer, the same way Elizabeth is. And they have got to go to work. You know, you're a plumber, you're a pipe fitter, you're a teacher, a secretary, you have to go to work.

And, in that sense, this is what they do. You know, they love their country desperately. And they love each other. And this is -- this is what they want to do. And I think it's wonderful. I think it's very admirable.

ROBERTS: But here is what some people are also thinking. Jay Carney, "TIME" magazine writer, wrote today on the Web site -- quote -- "Despite he and his wife's optimism, political professionals, donors and activists and regular voters will all have to wonder going forward whether or not Edwards will be able to stay in the race all the way to the end."

The question for you, Paul, is, if they are thinking about that, how might that affect the campaign?

BEGALA: Yes, you know, somewhat, but, of course, that's the question with every campaign, you know?

In other words, they always wonder, does this candidate have the staying power to get through to the end? And, for a long time, I have been saying that, while Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are sort of circling each other like two scorpions in a jar, it's John Edwards who the smart money is on particularly to win Iowa.

ROBERTS: Right.

BEGALA: It's an early primary. He has spent a lot of time there. In fact, he was there, he said in the press conference today, on Tuesday when he got the call from Elizabeth that she was going into the doctor.

So, I guess I wouldn't discount that too much. The campaign will go forward. He's a talented guy. She's there to support him.

You know, Hemingway said that life breaks us all, but some of us emerge stronger in the broken places. And I think that's the Edwards family.

ROBERTS: Yes. And I think it was Howard Fineman who pointed out today, too, and said, don't count them out, because, for the Democratic Party, he's the leading white male in a profession that has only ever elected white males. So, you know...

BEGALA: That's a good point. But, also, he's almost spent enough time in Iowa to pay property taxes there.

(LAUGHTER)

BEGALA: I mean, he has done his work in Iowa. She's been an enormous asset in that. She remains an asset now.

But, if she has got to have some days when she's tired -- and she talked about the chemotherapy she's going to have. She says it's less debilitating than what she has already been through. And I'm sure that is the case.

But I think that Edwards is a guy who has got -- he has got a lot going for him. He, before this announcement, was already the winner of the week, because the story came out that Barack Obama's campaign was actually behind this negative attack on Hillary.

ROBERTS: Right. Right. BEGALA: That all benefits Edwards. He's Mr. Clean coming up through the middle.

ROBERTS: Well, we will see how they do. Certainly, we hope that the campaigning doesn't tire her out to the point where she either has to increase her medical treatment or it affects her somehow otherwise physically.

Paul, thanks very much. Always good to see you.

BEGALA: Yes, thanks, John.

ROBERTS: All right.

Next up on 360: up close with some of the largest animals on Earth -- Anderson back with the latest on his wild adventure. It had its terrifying moments. We're going to show you that.

But, first, the lighter side -- here's a preview.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: All right, more 360 in a moment. Stay tuned.

(LAUGHTER)

COOPER: We will have more 360 in a moment.

(LAUGHTER)

COOPER: We will be right back.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Those pictures of some of the animals we encountered in Cambodia taken by photographer Jeff Hutchens.

Coming up: a look at an extraordinary, but also frightening day here in Cambodia. We learned just how strong elephants can be.

Also ahead tonight, we're "Keeping Them Honest" on Capitol Hill.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE JOHNS, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Buried somewhere in the dense fine print of the so-called emergency supplemental spending bill, a bill Congress absolutely must pass because it contains $100 billion for the war effort, is one small, but pricey item, $25 million to bail out spinach growers in California. That's right, spinach growers.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Slick moves by lawmakers, your tax dollars being turned into pork, lots of it. We're "Keeping Them Honest" in the next hour of 360.

We're here in Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia. And, earlier, we traveled to a rescue center for animals victimized by the illegal wildlife trade. The center gives them a second chance at life. And our trip was fascinating, for a few moments, also very scary for all of us, especially for wildlife biologist -- biologist Jeff Corwin.

What happened to him shows how, even in captivity, animals are always wild, especially an elephant we encountered.

Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER (voice-over): He's only about a year-and-a-half old, but, already, this Asian elephant has seen a lifetime of pain.

One of his feet is missing, ripped off likely trying to escape a poacher's snare. A bloody stump is all that remains. He has found sanctuary here at Cambodia's Phnom Tamao Rescue Center. They call him Chook. He arrived some two weeks ago and is still badly malnourished and in great pain.

Conservationists with the Wildlife Alliance are trying to save him, but his wounds are serious. He may not survive.

(on camera): Once a week, veterinarians here sedate this young elephant. They use this blowgun to shoot a dart into him. It's the only way they can safely treat his wounds.

(voice-over): It takes about 10 minutes for the sedative to take hold.

JEFF CORWIN, HOST, "THE JEFF CORWIN EXPERIENCE": Is he going down?

This elephant is a wild creature. She would totally stress out if you tried to manhandle it. Plus -- plus, he is very, very strong. This elephant is weighing in at 500 pounds.

COOPER: And what are you doing now? You're peeling the skin off?

CORWIN: Basically just dressing the wound. And they have to do this every week. Even if this wound is actually able to heal, the skin is able to overcome it, there are still serious issues with the joints, with the shoulder.

And, again, this is a young animal. It only weighs about 500 pounds. What is its physical state going to be in three to four years, when it's weighing thousands of pounds?

COOPER: They have just given him a shot to reverse the effects of the sedative. They have bandaged the wound, made sure it's tight, so the elephant is able -- not to able just can't rip off the bandage when he wakes up. Now, this -- because of this shot, she should wake up in about 10 minutes.

(voice-over): By the time Chook comes to, he's clearly scared. But some fruit and affection calm him quickly.

A century ago, there were thousands of Asian elephants in this part of the world. Now, there are only hundreds. Elephants are social animals. Even those harmed by poachers or treated poorly can remain affectionate. And, as we found out, they're curious towards people.

They're smelling with it?

CORWIN: Absolutely. He's smelling you. And they have an incredibly heightened sense of smell. Maybe he thinks you -- you don't -- this is called the snap.

(LAUGHTER)

CORWIN: All you have to say is uncle. Yes.

(LAUGHTER)

COOPER: There are dozens of species at Phnom Tamao, all of them victims of the black market animal trade or habitat laws. These tigers were cubs when they were caught by a trafficker, who tried to sell them on the black market.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The wildlife trade is hugely cruel.

We see the results of it, very, very badly injured animals, animals that have been in snares. We have to deal with that. And it's run by very wealthy, very rich people. And it isn't poor subsistence guys that we're hitting. It big, wealthy traders. And it's a huge, huge traffic.

CORWIN: Uh-oh. No. No.

(LAUGHTER)

COOPER: As you can see, not everything goes as planned when you're working with animals.

At the end of the day, we help bathe the elephants in a nearby pond. Despite their traumatic experiences, they are incredibly playful.

CORWIN: ... 700-pound tree.

(LAUGHTER)

CORWIN: That was its leg.

COOPER: But, as Jeff himself had warned me, they don't know their own strength. Take a look at what happens. Watch Jeff's left arm.

CORWIN: The numbers...

(SCREAMING)

COOPER: One of the elephants gets a hold of Jeff's arm with his mouth. It happens so fast. But it could have been much worse.

CORWIN: Elephants, despite their good nature, forget how strong they are and play a little rough. My arm got twisted. And there, you can see where his muscle, his mouth grabbed on to it right there and gave it a good twist.

I don't think it's broken. I think it's fine. Maybe a little strained. And now, I know what it feels like to be a circus peanut, going down the gullet of an elephant.

COOPER: Jeff was lucky. His arm's OK. The incident, though, is a reminder of the difficult position these animals are now in. Forced from their natural habitat, they're no longer wild, but they're certainly not tame. They've been separated from what they know and have to learn to survive in an ever-shrinking world.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Jeff Corwin joins me, coming up next.

Also...

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER (voice-over): Sometimes when you get close to the story, the story does this to you.

CORWIN: Ow!

COOPER: The awesome power of the elephants of Phnom Penh. How Jeff Corwin is doing now.

Also, just look at this guy. What could make anyone wish him dead? Especially someone who claims to be an animal rights activist? The surprising answer when 360 continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: As you saw, that was a very close call for Jeff Corwin. Thankfully, he is OK. He joins us now.

Jeff, what happened?

CORWIN: You know, I guess the elephant had just had enough of me or, you know, just wanted to continue taking its bath. But it just illustrates the power of these creatures.

That elephant is easily 15,000-20,000 times more powerful than me. So easily, it could have done a lot more damage. So luckily, in the end I ended up with some bruised and crushed tendons.

COOPER: How is your arm?

CORWIN: It's a little sore. Nothing that six weeks in the Shales (ph) on behalf of CNN.

You know, it's all right. There's no bones broken but just some crushed tendons. It remains to be seen if there's some torn tendons. We'll wait till we get home.

But you know, for me, what's so powerful about that experience is that it really illustrates the conflict that exists between human beings and these creatures. And there has to be some way to find, a way for both human beings and elephants to live together.

And that sanctuary, that wildlife center is pretty important to protecting the wildlife of Cambodia.

COOPER: Yes. The group Wildlife Alliance is helping to run the center, helping to staff it. All of those animals there are victims of the illegal black market trade.

What kind of an impact are you seeing it having in this region?

CORWIN: Well, the trafficking of wildlife is devastating, both habitat and species in this part of the world. Endangered species, in Southeast Asia, especially in Cambodia, four-times greater than Europe and North America combined.

And just in this part of the world, we have -- we have 40 endangered species of mammals, 50 endangered species of birds. Every year, the list grows higher and higher.

You know, when you think of extinction, you think of the Dodo bird. You think of the sea cow. But every 20 minutes, a species becomes extinct on our planet. And you add that up, that's well over 20,000 creatures, plants, life forms disappearing into the oblivion of extinction every year.

COOPER: And the Asian elephants which you were bathing with. Also that little baby -- I guess about a year and a half old elephant, which had its foot literally ripped off by -- by a snare, their numbers have decreased dramatically.

CORWIN: If you were here in Cambodia, and throughout Southeast Asia, a century ago, there were tens of thousands of these majestic giants, these Asiatic elephants.

Today, because of habitat laws, because of poaching, the population of these elephants in Cambodia has been reduced to probably around 200 individuals. And throughout Southeast Asia, there's -- it's unlikely that 1,000 of these elephants remain. And every year, there's less and less.

COOPER: It's a dramatic situation. Jeff, appreciate it.

CORWIN: Thank you.

COOPER: I'm glad you're doing OK. It was a pretty remarkable day. You can read more about the encounter Jeff had with the elephant on the 360 blog. Just go to CNN.com/360blog. Again, that's CNN.com/360blog.

Up next, you've heard the controversy. An animal activist who says a polar bear cub in Germany, abandoned by his mother, is better off dead. Tonight we'll show you the polar bears that you may have even met yourself, that proves him wrong.

Plus, our "Shot of the Day", a new take on "American Idol". It is "Inmate Idle". Stay tuned.

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COOPER: What kind of bears are these?

CORWIN: This is one of my favorites, and this is the sun bear. And it's named from this wonderful arc of gold you see on its breast right there.

COOPER: And they're threatened?

CORWIN: This is an animal that is threatened. It does have an uncertain future. They're regularly hunted. They're poached for their flesh. They're poached for their fur. They're used in the medicinal trade. And they're also used in the pet trade, as well.

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COOPER: That was Jeff Corwin and I earlier with a sun bear here in Cambodia.

Across the world another type of bear have been getting plenty of attention: polar bears. Already a threatened species, scientists say global warming is destroying their natural habitat.

There are about 20,000 or so polar bears in the wild. They live on ice and snow. But when that snow and ice melts, they have little chance of survival.

Right now, there's a fight over one polar bear far from the Arctic. This one is in Germany, and the issue is whether it lives or dies.

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COOPER (voice-over): This is Knut. His name rhymes, appropriately enough, with cute.

Knut lives in the Berlin Zoo. He's just 15 weeks old. No doubt, he's adorable and cuddly. He has his own TV show. And he's a member of a species in danger of becoming extinct.

So with all that going for him, you might wonder why does one animal rights activist say Knut would be better off dead? Actually, that's putting it nicely. The activist, Frank Albrecht, was quoted in one German newspaper saying, "The zoo must kill the bear!"

These are the pictures that got Albrecht all worked up. Knut being fed from a bottle. Knut frolicking with and being cuddled by his human handler. According to Albrecht, "Hand-rearing a polar bear is not appropriate and is a serious violation of animal rights."

Knut's young life hasn't been an easy one. He and his brother were the first polar bears born in the Berlin Zoo in more than 30 years. Their mother, however, rejected them at birth. His brother died, and the zoo decided to raise Knut in captivity.

And here's part of the reason why. The polar bear population currently stands at 22,000. But with the earth warming, the sea ice is melting and the polar bears' food sources are dwindling. Add to that hunting, toxic pollution and oil development near the polar bears' Arctic habitat, and in 100 years, the polar bears could be extinct.

Albrecht's argument is that bears like Knut, raised by humans, won't be able to survive in the wild. He's right about that. Knut won't ever live in the wild. But polar bear experts say there are other ways of teaching Knut how to be a bear.

DR. TOM MEEHAN, BROOKFIELD ZOO: It's not a matter of not giving very, very close, special attention to the baby. It's just as the baby develops later on, to make sure it's showing appropriate bear behaviors: whether it's playing with toys, attacking things.

Just making sure that it shows the normal repertoire of bear behaviors, so that they're then ready to become a bear with another -- with another of their own species.

COOPER: Now, after his remark started a storm of controversy, Albrecht says he doesn't really think the zoo should kill little Knut. But in the future, he says, "If a polar bear mother rejected the baby, then I believe the zoo must follow the instincts of nature."

That's unlikely, especially if the next abandoned cub looks anything like cute little Knut.

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COOPER: Earlier tonight, I spoke with Steve Lehr, who's taken care of two of the United States' best known polar bears at SeaWorld in Orlando for more than a decade.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) COOPER: Steve, obviously, you know that some animal activists, at least this one animal activist in Germany, thinks that this polar cub, Knut, should be killed. Does that make any sense to you?

STEVE LEHR, SEAWORLD: No. I don't understand it, Anderson. I can't -- I can't believe that if somebody claims to be an animal lover would believe that it's better to kill or let an animal die than to hand raise it.

COOPER: I guess his point is that it's unnatural. And this bear is never going to be able to live in the wild. Is there a benefit to keeping this bear in captivity and keeping it alive? What is -- what's the point?

LEHR: Well, absolutely there's a benefit. I mean, he represents all of his wild counterparts. I mean, provides an educational aspect for other folks to come in and view him. You know, as well as a conservation message.

COOPER: How difficult is it raising a polar bear in captivity?

LEHR: Well, I've never had the pleasure of hand-raising or bottle-feeding a polar bear. But from what I understand, it's actually fairly easy to accomplish. And then once we've got -- I've had a couple of orphaned polar bears here, Klondike and Snow, that were bottle-raised that are doing very well.

COOPER: You were saying this bear could be sort of an ambassador for his species. The species is under stress, under threat. Fewer cubs being born. Bears having a hard time finding food. Fewer bears living to maturity.

I mean, we hear a lot about the polar bear population being in danger. Is it really? And what are the -- what are the odds against it right now?

LEHR: Polar bears in the wild, well, they're almost classified right now as being threatened by the Fish and Wildlife Service, under the Endangered Species Act. So I mean, it is a concern for their population.

But hopefully, messages like, you know, that we present in zoos and aquariums -- excuse me, the polar bears serving the zoos as ambassadors for their species, would greatly help out the animals out in the wild.

COOPER: In SeaWorld, there's some polar bears, twins Klondike and Snow. They were actually raised by zoo keepers in Denver, then sent to SeaWorld in Orlando when they were almost a year old. That was back in 1995, 11 years ago. How are they doing now?

LEHR: Well, Klondike and Snow are doing great. They've integrated with the rest of our bears here at SeaWorld. We interact with them daily. And they're out here for our guests to enjoy and see them every day.

COOPER: What are polar bears like?

LEHR: They're an interesting animal. Basically, you know, being the top of the food chain, they're -- you know, we all think they look at us as food.

But we do, you know, take great pride in taking care of them in a safe manner. They're a great animal to work with. We do a lot of training with them, under protective contact. We were able to get them to do some husbandry behaviors for us that allow us to keep up with their health and work with them over here in the exhibit.

COOPER: Steve, appreciate you talking about this. Thanks very much.

LEHR: Absolutely, Anderson. Thank you.

COOPER: Now, for some good news about a bear that's an American icon. According to the Interior Department, grizzly bears are thriving in and around Yellowstone National Park and no longer need protection under the Endangered Species Act.

The area had an estimated 136 to 312 grizzlies when the species was listed as threatened back in 1975 and now has more than 500.

The deputy interior secretary says, "There is simply no way to overstate what an amazing accomplishment this is."

We'll have more on the efforts to help animals in danger, coming up live from Cambodia.

Also tonight, "American Idol" watch out. This is "Inmate Idle", a battle for jailhouse supremacy. It's our "Shot of the Day" when 360 continues.

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ROBERTS: Coming up in a moment, "American Idol" was the inspiration, but this contest is taking place behind bars. Prisoners performing and voting in a competition for cons. You've got to see this. But first, Kiran Chetry joins us now with the "360 News and Business Bulletin".

KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: I'll bet they have voting controversies just like the show. All right, well, let's...

ROBERTS: Take on a little different tone, though.

CHETRY: Yes, exactly.

ROBERTS: Those guys could actually beat the stuffing out of Simon, I'm sure.

CHETRY: That's right.

Well, we're going to start off with Scotland Yard. They arrested three men today in connection with the July 7, 2005, terror attacks that killed 52 people in London. Two of the suspects were taken into custody as they were preparing to catch a plane to Pakistan. A third arrested at a home in Leeds.

The mystery of Anna Nicole Smith's sudden death may be solved Monday. That's when the former "Playboy" Playmate's autopsy results will be made public.

Smith died at a Florida hotel on February 8. It triggered a bitter legal feud over her remains and also the custody of her 6- month-old daughter. Just who fathered little Dannielynn remains a mystery, at least for now, with several men claiming paternity.

And it was a cautious day on Wall Street. Investors appearing a bit confused about what the Fed's next move will be. The Dow gaining 13 points. The NASDAQ lost 4. And the S&P fell by a half-point.

And a warning for coin collectors: beware of the fake Godless dollars. Coin experts say that some George Washington dollar coins are being passed off as the ones that were mistakenly left from the U.S. Mint without that inscription, "In God we trust", along the edge.

Well, the actual blooper coins have been selling for more than $50 on Internet sites. But the fakes have actually been filed down to look imperfect. So, don't be fooled.

But I'm sure if you're a coin collector, you're not going to be fooled.

ROBERTS: I wouldn't think so, no. I mean, the average guy on the street and the corners on New York. Hey, want to buy a godless coin? They might be fooled.

CHETRY: They wouldn't pay 50 bucks for one, though.

ROBERTS: Why would you want a coin that didn't have it on, anyways?

Thanks, Kiran.

Tonight's "Shot" comes from Maricopa County, Arizona. The folks at "American Idol" have some competition, a contest called "Inmate Idle". That's "I-D-L-E", a little play on words. Idle as in behind bars, not doing much.

The contestants are all prison inmates. More than 100 prisoners auditioned for 15 semifinalist spots. Ten thousand inmates then had a chance to vote earlier tonight and six finalists were chosen.

Let's listen to a couple of the winners.

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COOPER: Yes. There you go. Tomorrow, the finalists are going to compete in a live performance in front of judges. Judges without rap sheets, that is.

The sheriff who OK'ed the contest says Alice Cooper has agreed to be a judge. And basketball legend Charles Barkley apparently is considering the offer.

We should note that the sheriff also points out taxpayer dollars are not being used for any of the costs tied to the contest. The idea was meant to boost morale and give inmates a positive way to spend their time while doing time.

I can only imagine what Simon would say.

And we want to give you -- to give "The Shot" a shot. If you see some amazing video, tell us about it at CNN.com/360. We'll put some of your best clips on the air.

Anderson is back shortly with what's being done to save the animals that won't be around much longer without our help. Elephants, tigers and more.

Plus, Elizabeth Edwards, her husband and family on her cancer, his presidential campaign and their 30-year love story. Across the country and around the world, this is 360.

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COOPER: Coming up on 360, more on Elizabeth Edwards' cancer recurrence. She put up a brave front today in public. We'll hear from her brother in just a moment.

But first, the Iraq war is now in its fifth year. And more than 3,200 U.S. soldiers have died since it began. One company is hoping to lower fatalities.

Erica Hill explains in tonight's "On the Rise".

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ERICA HILL, HEADLINE NEWS ANCHOR (voice-over): How do soldiers before they ever get here to the front lines? How to really be ready for the sudden impact of IEDs.

That preparation is a specialty of Titan Dynamic Systems. The Marshall, Texas, company produces battlefield effects that imitate thunderous noise, smoke and the searing heat of bombs and in-coming missiles.

STEVEN FLOHR, PRESIDENT, TITAN DYNAMICS SYSTEMS: Creating a realistic environment on the training range allows our soldiers to react to the conditions on the battlefield so that they can react to an ongoing situation, by instinct.

HILL: In 2005, Titan was awarded a five-year, $66 million defense contract to build simulators for the Army.

FLOHR: Our revenues two years ago were about $1 million. We tripled to $3 million last year, and we'll triple again this year.

HILL: Battlefield simulators rely on pyrotechnics, controlled solutions (ph). They can be dangerous and, without care, can go off unintentionally.

With Titan's technology, pyrotechnics will only go off only when they're supposed to.

The company expects to use technology in other products. Look for them up in the air at July Fourth celebrations everywhere.

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COOPER: Here in Cambodia, you're never far from the story, whether it's the buying and selling of human lives or the effort to save some of the most majestic and endangered species on a planet in peril.

Take a look what happened today to Jeff Corwin and I at a wildlife rescue center.

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CORWIN: The numbers -- ow! Hey!

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COOPER: An elephant getting a little rough, a little too playful, not knowing its own strength. One of several we saw today being nursed back to health, not far from here. We'll have more of our day in the hour ahead.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.voxant.com

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