Degenerative myelopathy is a degenerative disease of the spinal cord that begins in older adulthood and progresses slowly until dogs are no longer able to walk unassisted. The cause of the disease is associated with a mutation in the SOD1 gene. It is not known exactly how the mutation of this gene leads to degeneration of the spinal cord in dogs, but the disease does interfere with the brain’s communication to the limbs, resulting in difficulty walking.

Dr. Beth Boudreau, clinical assistant professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, further explained the disease. “In degenerative myelopathy, the pathways that carry neural information in the spinal cord lose their insulatory coating and begin to fragment, and eventually the neurons that produce those signals also begin to die,” she said. “This results in a loss of motor control that begins in the hind limbs, but can spread to involve the front limbs as well as the pathways that control breathing, urination, and defecation. Currently, these changes are irreversible. Advanced cases may cause difficulty breathing as well. The disease is considered to be eventually fatal.”

The signs of degenerative myelopathy often begin around eight to nine years of age in larger breeds, and small breeds may have a later onset of signs around eleven years of age. Initially, mild stumbling, weakness, or incoordination of the hind limbs may be apparent. Although both hind limbs are usually affected, one is often weaker than the other. The signs slowly progress over a period of weeks to months and the disease does not cause the dog any apparent pain.

Testing for the associated mutation is an important part of the diagnosis of degenerative myelopathy. However, some dogs that have this mutation may never develop the disease, so a positive result of the genetic test alone cannot be relied upon for diagnosis. Additionally, other health conditions may share similar signs of degenerative myelopathy.

“Compared to other common causes of chronic spinal cord injury in older dogs, degenerative myelopathy often has a slower onset and progression, and it is not painful,” Boudreau said. “However, other spinal cord diseases, such as chronic intervertebral disc herniation, and even some tumors, may appear clinically similar. A complete evaluation with diagnostics and performed by a neurologist is recommended to rule out diseases that can mimic degenerative myelopathy.”

Currently, there is no known effective medical or surgical treatment for degenerative myelopathy. However, physical rehabilitation therapy at veterinary clinics has been shown to result in longer survival times for dogs affected by the disease.

“Unfortunately, this disease progresses, with most dogs becoming unable to walk within six to nine months after the first signs appear,” Boudreau said. “Because this condition does not appear to be painful, many dogs can continue to have a good quality of life even after they become unable to walk, if provided good supportive care. Dogs that cannot walk will need an assistance device, such as a cart or harness, to help them move about.”

Additionally, severely affected dogs may need assistance to void their bladders. Regular passive exercise of the limbs, turning, and cleaning are needed to prevent limb contractures and bedsores. Although many dogs tolerate the necessary nursing care very well, it is important for owners of dogs with degenerative myelopathy to regularly communicate with their veterinarian and assess their pet’s quality of life.

### 
Pet Talk is a service of the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University. Stories can be viewed on the web at vetmed.tamu.edu/pet-talk. Suggestions for future topics may be directed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it." target="_blank">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

More news about Texas A&M University 
Follow us on Twitter 

 

Dogs transported to temporary shelter to receive medical care

Madison, Tenn.—At the request of Metro Animal Care and Control, the ASPCA® (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) today removed 41 dogs from Happy Endings Animal Rescue (HEAR), a self-described no-kill dog rescue eight miles north of Nashville, Tenn. The Nashville Police Department executed a warrant Tuesday morning for the removal of the dogs, and the owner was arrested on charges of animal cruelty.

The seizure is the result of numerous public complaints about conditions at HEAR, which has been operating for 19 years. HEAR’s website states it is “the largest privately run non-profit animal rescue in Nashville”.

The dogs—including Chow, Pit Bull, Shepherd mixes and other medium to large breed dogs—were living in feces and filth inside an overcrowded house and outdoor kennels. One room alone held 22 dogs, with feces covering the floor. The dogs were suffering from medical issues including emaciation, dental disease, and severe hair loss. Some were not spayed or neutered and had no access to food or water.

“What we found here is horrific,” said Kathryn Destreza, Investigations Director for the ASPCA Field Investigations and Response team. “This facility claimed to be a safe place for animals, but the truth is these dogs were suffering greatly, both physically and mentally. Our immediate goal is to get them much-needed medical attention at our temporary shelter.”

“We are glad to have the expertise and experience that the ASPCA brings to this case,” said Rebecca Morris spokesperson for Metro Animal Care and Control “We are pleased that the animals will be receiving the necessary medical care and attention they deserve.”

The ASPCA Field Investigations and Response team is removing and transporting the dogs to a temporary shelter in an undisclosed location, where they will receive medical exams and behavioral assessments. The ASPCA will continue to care for the dogs at the temporary shelter until their custody is determined by the court. They will also provide ongoing legal support until resolution of the criminal case.

About the ASPCA®
Founded in 1866, and celebrating its 150th birthday this year, the ASPCA® (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is the first animal welfare organization in North America and serves as the nation’s leading voice for animals. More than two million supporters strong, the ASPCA’s mission is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. As a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, the ASPCA is a national leader in the areas of anti-cruelty, community outreach and animal health services. For more information, please visit www.ASPCA.org, and be sure to follow the ASPCA on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

###

According to one doctor, the secret to life is this:

“Look for the moments that are right in front of you.”

The doctor in this case treats horses, goats, cows, pigs, snakes, dogs, cats, skunks, geese, ostriches, chickens, reindeer, monkeysand any other animal that comes his way in the small, dusty farming and ranching community of Lamesa, Texas. Dr. Bo Brock, DVM owns a thriving multispecies veterinary clinic in a town that holds 9,207 humans. He shares his unique perspective on life through a witty, sometimes teary lens in his debut book, Crowded in the Middle of Nowhere (June, 2016; Greenleaf Book Group; $17.95; 284 pages; Trade Paper; ISBN: 978-1-62634-264-4).

Dr. Brock has treated tens of thousands of animals for over 25,000 people who came from 750 different zip codes. He may indeed be in the middle of nowhere, but his waiting room is crowded. And it’s worth the wait.

He shares wisdom, insights, and just plain-old funny stories for animal lovers, rural Americans, and anyone looking to see the lighter side of life. Dr. Brock describes his book as “the story of being a veterinarian on the edge of the earth and loving it.”

Readers will howl through the funny parts and weep through the touching pages. His unique perspective and tales of doctoring beloved pets and cantankerous owners will make you smile, laugh, cry and evoke every emotion under the sun.

The book is as much about people as it is about animals. “All we hear about in the news is the bad stuff,” says Dr. Brock. “I want to give Americans something to smile about with my book.” In some ways, he doctors up people as he heals and looks after their animals.

Dr. Brock’s passion is equine medicine and he is well known across four states for doctoring everything from expensive race horses to every day ranch horses and every kind of horse in between, performing approximately 1,000 equine surgeries per year.

He takes a walk through life and brings you along with him. This book is a series of moments that shares the perspective of a small-town veterinarian as he reacts to all things while taking care of critters and tending to their owners

Though Dr. Brock’s easy-to-read book holds the values of rural America close to heart, it is filled with poignant stories that appeal to everyone, especially animal lovers. His stories run the gamut of emotions from lump-in-your-throat tears to laugh-out-loud screams. It’s a wholesome book with a positive outlook on life, written by a veterinarian of 25 years who has witnessed life, death and everything in between.

An earlier version of the book, as a self-published title, rose to No. 5 on Amazon’s humor and best-seller list. It won the 2015 Chicago Animals, Animals, Animals Book Festival Grand Prize.

###

Biography

Dr. Bo Brock, DVM, loves animals. He should – he’s treated more of them than there are residents in a tiny farming and ranching Texas community where he serves as the owner of Brock Veterinary Clinic. He purchased the La Mesa, Texas practice in 1992. His goal was to develop an equine-focused practice. He went from treating 96 horses his initial year to seeing roughly 11,000 in 2015. He has a staff of seven.

In 2007, he was voted Equine Practitioner of the Year for the state of Texas. He’s an adjunct professor at Texas Tech University and has taught night classes for a decade. He delivered the 2014 Texas Veterinary A&M commencement speech. He graduated from the same program in 1990, Magna Cum Laude - fourth in his class. Upon graduating, he worked at a mixed-animal practice in Clarendon, Texas and practiced with Dr. Charles Deyhle for a year-and-a-half. He is an active member of American Veterinary Medical Association, American Association of Equine Practitioners, Texas Veterinary Medical Association, and American Quarter Horse Association. He passed the boards and became a member of the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners in 2004 and is one of only 89 members of that distinguished group in the USA.

Dr. Brock was also asked to shoot a television pilot by Animal Planet.

He lives with his wife, Kerri. Their daughters are also going into caring professions – Kimmi, is studying to be a nurse and Abby is studying veterinary medicine at his alma mater Texas A&M.

 

ASPCA Rescuing Racers Initiative has granted over $2 million to protect former racehorses from
being sent to slaughter

NEW YORK—The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) today announced that it has granted $200,000 to 18 equine rescue groups across the country to assist their efforts to rescue and rehabilitate retired racehorses. The grants were awarded as part of the ASPCA Rescuing Racers Initiative, a major grants program that launched in 2010 and provides funding for equine rescues and sanctuaries that protect retired racers by offering alternatives to slaughter. Now in its seventh year, the program has awarded over $2 million to retired racers to prepare them for life after their racing careers come to an end.

“The ASPCA Rescuing Racers Initiative allows us to provide much-needed grant funding to the many equine rescue groups around the country who provide critical resources to former racehorses, offering them medical rehabilitation, re-training or sanctuary to prevent them from being sent to slaughter,” said Jacque Schultz, senior director of the ASPCA Equine Fund. “Their racing careers may have ended, but these retirees still have much to offer as they transition into new and varied careers – a process that requires significant time and resources.”

Selected recipients include a wide range of equine rescues from 12 states, who will each be awarded a grant ranging from $5,000–$24,000, to help the groups increase their capacity for rescuing more horses. The organizations joining the list of rescues and sanctuaries as part of the ASPCA Rescuing Racers Initiative for 2016 are:

  • After the Homestretch, Ariz.
  • CANTER/National
  • CANTER, Mich.
  • CANTER, OH
  • The Exceller Fund Inc., Ky.
  • Foxie G Foundation Inc., Md.
  • Friends of Ferdinand, Ind.
  • Kentucky Equine Humane Center Inc., Ky.
  • Makers Mark Secretariat Center, Ky.
  • MidAtlantic Horse Rescue, Inc., Md.
  • Neigh Savers Foundation Inc., Calif.
  • New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program, Ky. and OH
  • Old Friends Inc., Ky.
  • Racer Placers, Wis.
  • ReRun Inc., N.Y.
  • Safe Harbor Equine and Livestock Sanctuary, Tenn.
  • Standardbred Retirement Foundation, N.J.
  • Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance, Ky.

In 2015, the ASPCA awarded over $1 million in grants to support 124 equine rescues and sanctuaries across the country. The grant money supported several areas of equine welfare including large-scale rehabilitation, emergency relief grants, safety net programs, and ASPCA Help a Horse Day, a nationwide grants competition of equine rescues and sanctuaries that is designed to raise awareness about the year-round lifesaving work they do to care for local at-risk horses who’ve been abused, neglected or find themselves homeless.

Horses have been central to the ASPCA mission since the organization’s founding 150 years ago. The ASPCA’s efforts to further equine protection include supporting equine welfare through legislation, public advocacy, professional development, horse rescue and targeted grants. Most recently the ASPCA launched a broad “Adopt a Horse” public service campaign featuring “2 Broke Girls” actress and horse advocate Beth Behrs and her rescue horse Belle, to encourage potential horse owners to make adoption their first option. The campaign highlights the many benefits of adopting a horse from one of the nation’s hundreds of equine rescue groups. It also aims to connect the many horses in need of permanent homes with the 2.3 million Americans who, according to a recent survey, say they have adequate space, resources, and strong interest in adopting a horse.

To learn more about the ASPCA, please visit www.aspca.org.

About the ASPCA®
Founded in 1866, and celebrating its 150th birthday this year, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is the first animal welfare organization in North America and serves as the nation’s leading voice for animals. More than two million supporters strong, the ASPCA’s mission is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. As a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, the ASPCA is a national leader in the areas of anti-cruelty, community outreach and animal health services. For more information, please visit www.ASPCA.org, and be sure to follow the ASPCA on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

###

Oakland, CA...July 14, 2016 – Oakland Zoo’s elephant program contributed to a special collection of peer-reviewed scientific research articles resulting from a comprehensive study on North American zoo elephant welfare. The collections is available today in the scientific journal PLOS ONE. It includes nine research papers, an overview and formal commentary explaining the significance of the work and its importance to better understand and enhance zoo elephant welfare.

“Oakland Zoo applauds AZA for taking on such a massive institutional study to work on improving the livelihood of elephants in captivity. Being involved in elephant research and data collection in and out of the field for twenty years, Oakland Zoo is committed to continuously improving the lives of elephants, a sensitive, highly intelligent, sentient, and complex being. We understand that the more we learn about this species in the wild and in captivity, we can manage them appropriately to encourage species typical behaviors. This study is one step toward that goal,” said Gina Kinzley, Co-Lead Elephant Manager at Oakland Zoo. 

This is the first and only multi-institution study to comprehensively identify and measure variables that significantly contribute to North American zoo elephant welfare, thus allowing science to inform management practices, according to Anne Baker, Ph.D., one of several principal investigators of the project. “Many AZA-accredited zoos are already using knowledge we’ve learned from the research to improve the welfare of their elephants.”

The collection, titled Epidemiological Investigations of North American Zoo Elephant Welfare, is available online and is accessible to the public. (See journals.plos.org)

The research is the outcome of work by a 27-member study team, which includes independent consultants, zoo professionals, and faculty from three universities. The study was funded by an $800,000 leadership grant from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) awarded to the Honolulu Zoo Society and administered by Kathy Carlstead, Ph.D. Team members and dozens of research assistants from widely varied disciplines developed quantitative measures to assess multiple elephant-welfare indicators as well as a large variety of housing and management practices.

 “Zoo elephant welfare is a topic of public interest, but the lack of available data on this specific population made it difficult to differentiate fact from opinion, ” said Cheryl Meehan, Ph.D., the study’s consulting project manager and director of AWARE Institute, in Portland, OR. “The collection provides a scientific perspective on a number of issues that are important to the conversation about elephants in zoos, and it is forward-looking as a resource that can help shape and inform the future of elephant care.”

The collection resulted from a comprehensive study analyzing the daily lives of 255 Asian and African elephants in 68 North American zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). Data were collected in 2012 and preliminary results presented at AZA conferences in 2013 and 2014. Research focused on factors related to the wellbeing of elephants that can be scientifically observed, measured, and analyzed, including: behavior, body condition, foot and joint health, female reproductive function, and walking distance -  Oakland Zoo's elephants were also part of the behavior studies which measured stereotypic behavior performance, walking distances and recumbence behavior. Nearly 96 percent of North American AZA-accredited zoos with elephants participated in the study.

Results showed that the elephants’ social lives play the biggest role in supporting behavioral health. For example, primary importance is for elephants to spend time in groups, and not be socially isolated.  Human care takers also can play an important role in an elephant’s social life through husbandry, training and interactive sessions.

 Although space is often linked to welfare in public discussions about elephants in zoos, researchers did not find evidence that the amount of enclosure space supports greater amounts of walking, decreased stereotypic behavior, improved body condition, or better foot and joint health.

The study did find that the quality of the space and management practices is important to elephant welfare. For example, the research demonstrated that decreased time spent on hard flooring significantly reduced the risk of foot and joint problems, which were found to be important health concerns for the population.

And the research team discovered a previously unknown link between the quality of enrichment and feeding programs and female reproductive health. This result indicates that day-to-day management practices could be an important tool in addressing the reproductive issues that are particularly common among female African elephants. 

“This groundbreaking approach provides a model for measuring welfare in managed animal populations with the potential to conduct similar studies to benefit many different species cared for in zoos and aquariums,” said Meehan. “And this research can be extended to inform elephant conservation efforts given that only a minority of free-ranging elephants exists in large undisturbed protected areas, while many “wild” elephants are managed in small reserves.”

ABOUT OAKLAND ZOO

The Bay Area's award-winning Oakland Zoo is home to more than 660 native and exotic animals. The Zoo offers many educational programs and kid's activities perfect for science field trips, family day trips and exciting birthday parties. Oakland Zoo is dedicated to the humane treatment of animals and wildlife conservation onsite and worldwide; with 25¢ from each ticket donated to support conservation partners and programs around the world. The California Trail, a transformational project that more than doubles our size, opens in 2018, and will further our commitment to animal care, education, and conservation with a focus on this state’s remarkable native wildlife. Nestled in the Oakland Hills, in 500-acre Knowland Park, the Zoo is located at 9777 Golf Links Road, off Highway 580. The East Bay Zoological Society (Oakland Zoo) is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization supported in part by members, contributions, the City of Oakland and the East Bay Regional Parks. For more information, go to: www.oaklandzoo.org

# # #

 

SAN FRANCISCO – Led by staff from San Francisco Zoo & Gardens, a team of biologists, scientists and conservationists released 62 mountain yellow legged frogs into their native habitat in the Desolation Wilderness of Lake Tahoe Basin on Tuesday, July 12.  The release marks the final step in a three-year project seeking to restore the endangered frog to an area where it had been missing for decades due to non-native predators and deadly chytrid fungus.

The now two-year-old frogs were collected as eggs in 2014 in a nearby lake system and raised at San Francisco Zoo & Gardens where they grew to a healthy size.  The frogs were inoculated for chytrid in hopes they will survive future exposure to the fungus responsible for nearly wiping out entire populations of this species. 

“Releasing the frogs into their native habitat is amazing!” said Jessie Bushell, Director of Conservation at San Francisco Zoo & Gardens.  “It’s like sending your children off to college, except you want them to swim away and catch a bug.”

42 frogs were released into Tamarack Lake and 20 were released into Lake Lucille.  In the future, researchers will study how the inoculated frogs, which are microchipped, fare in the wild compared to those that were not inoculated. 

The groundbreaking scientific research and work done by conservation staff at San Francisco Zoo & Gardens is important to the survival of the species.  Participating agencies include the University of California, Santa Barbara’s Department of Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology and Sierra Nevada Aquatic Research Lab (SNARL), U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and California Department of Fish and Wildlife. 

SF Zoo is in the midst of several frog restoration projects and will aid in the release of more than 100 mountain yellow legged frogs in Sequoia Kings Canyon National Park next week.

Photos of the July 12 release: https://goo.gl/photos/1cRyB1G5xoVD3rnEA

 

Attached Photo: Jessie Bushell, Director of Conservation at San Francisco Zoo & Gardens, releases a mountain yellow legged frog at Lake Lucille in Desolation Wilderness on Tuesday.

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fVHl7zuJpfs

Website: www.sfzoo.org

About San Francisco Zoo & Gardens

Established in 1929, San Francisco Zoo & Gardens connects people to wildlife, inspires caring for nature and advances conservation action.  SF Zoo has been continuously accredited by Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) since 1977.  An urban oasis, the Zoo & Gardens are home to more than 2,000 exotic, endangered and rescued animals representing more than 250 species as well as seven distinct gardens full of native and unusual plants.  Located at the edge of the Pacific Ocean where the Great Highway meets Sloat Boulevard, the Zoo is open 365 days a year from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm (summer hours) and is accessible by San Francisco MUNI "L" Taraval Line.

###

Review written by Jon Patch with 3 out of 4 paws

The Secret Life of Pets

Universal Pictures, Dentsu, Fuji Television Network, Illumination Entertainment present a PG, 90 minute, Animation, Comedy, Family, film directed by Chris Renaud, Yarrow Cheney, written by Ken Daurio and Brian Lynch with a theater release date of July 8, 2016.

 

 
MIAMI, FLA. - JUNE 30, 2016 - The Zoological Wildlife Foundation (ZWF Miami) is delighted to announce the arrival of a beautiful, new female Jaguar cub, that has been named 'Sapphire' by ZWF's founders in honor of the cub's deep blue eyes.
 
"We are overjoyed by the arrival of Sapphire and are excited to watch her grow and thrive within the ZWF environment," said Mario Tabraue, President and Director of ZWF Miami. "Our goal is to provide all our animals with exceptional care and a safe living environment," added Maria Tabraue, Vice President and Director of the zoo.
 
The largest cats in the Americas, jaguars reside in parts of Arizona, California and New Mexico as well as in the rainforests of Central and South America. With approximately 15,000 of the cats left in the world, they are considered a threatened species. 
 
Born on May 5, 2016, Sapphire is now eight weeks old and currently available for encounters with visitors of ZWF. Guests will have a chance to meet the cub for a limited time as an add-on to a tour experience at $160 + tax for adults and $60 + tax for children. To ensure the wellbeing of the cub, the duration of each encounter is limited to 5 minutes.
 
To learn more about how you can schedule a visit to meet Sapphire as well as ZWF Miami's other resident animals, visit: www.zwfmiami.com.
ZWF Miami is located at 16225 SW 172 Avenue in Miami, Florida and is open to the public seven days a week. Tours of the park are available by appointment only. Call (305) 969-3696 for more information.
Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, for more exciting news and updates.
 
About the Zoological Wildlife Foundation:
Founded in 2001, the Zoological Wildlife Foundation (ZWF Miami) is an organization accredited by the Zoological Association of America that serves as a zoo and a conservation facility that is dedicated to educating the public about rare and endangered animal species in captivity and in the wild. Located south of Miami and spanning several breathtaking acres of land, ZWF Miami is home to everything from domestic animals, leopards, big cats primates, large predatory birds and mammals to dozens of exotic species, most of which are available for interactive encounters with the public.

 

 

CHARLESTON, WEST VIRGINIA, July 1, 2016 —American Humane Association’s renowned animal rescue team, first responders for animals in crisis for 100 years, has arrived in Charleston with two of the organization’s giant 50-foot rescue vehicles to help animal victims of the historic flooding affecting the area.  

The deployment of the emergency vehicles, a team of 10 trained emergency responders and a veterinarian comes at the request of the Kanawha-Charleston Humane Association, which is being hard-pressed to find a solution for a growing problem: The shelter has a capacity for 240 animals and is completely full – with more coming in each day.

Among the critical tasks being prepared and performed as needed by the American Humane Association team are: Conducting a critical assessment of the need; setting up a mobile vet clinic to provide first aid, conduct wellness checks, and administer vaccines; distributing 1,200 pounds of food donated by American Humane Association; providing critically needed supplies, vaccines and medicines donated by leading animal health company Zoetis; and preparing to relieve overworked staff at the Kanawha-Charleston Humane Association shelter. Every attempt will be made to reunify lost animals with their owners.

“Our hearts go out to the people and animals of West Virginia,” said Dr. Robin Ganzert, president and CEO of American Humane Association. “Fortunately, our animal rescue team is well-trained and well-qualified to handle this kind of emergency. Help has arrived.”

             

About American Humane Association and its animal rescue program  

American Humane Association is the country’s first national humane organization, founded in 1877. Its animal rescue program was created in 1916 at the request of the U.S. Secretary of War to rescue war horses on the battlefields of World War I Europe.  Since then, it has been rescuing animals of every kind and have been involved in virtually every major disaster relief effort from Pearl Harbor to 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, the Joplin, Missouri and Moore, Oklahoma tornadoes, the Japanese and Haitian earthquakes, and Superstorm Sandy.  Over just the past ten years American Humane Association’s rescue teams have saved, helped and sheltered more than 80,000 animals. For more information or to support rescuing animals in need, please visit www.AmericanHumane.org.

SMITHSONIAN CHANNEL(TM) GOES WILD ON WEDNESDAYS THIS SUMMER WITH SOME OF THE
WORLD’S DEADLIEST PREDATORSFive All-New WILD WEDNESDAY Premieres Start July 13 At 8 PM ET/PT

NEW YORK – JUNE 28, 2016 – Smithsonian Channel goes to where the wild things are this summer as the network ramps up WILD WEDNESDAYS with an exhilarating new block of wildlife programming beginning July 13 at 8 p.m. ET/PT.

Through five consecutive weeks of one-hour specials, WILD WEDNESDAYS will span the globe in search of elusive sharks, mighty lizard kings, viper queens, killer hornets and desert lions. Traveling from tropical waters and volcanic islands to stark deserts and steamy jungles, each hour will investigate some of the world’s fiercest and most iconic apex predators while unraveling the mysteries behind their behavior.

HUNTING THE HAMMERHEAD kicks off the new WILD WEDNESDAYS block on July 13 at 8 p.m. ET/PT, as Smithsonian Channel heads to Bimini in the Bahamas for the large and elusive predator, the great hammerhead shark, which rises from the depths en masse during certain months each year to hunt its favorite prey: venomous stingrays. Smithsonian Channel joins shark expert and sensory biologist Dr. Craig O’Connell on a mission to understand the mysterious creature’s killer tactics and capture this unique feeding event on film by deploying his revolutionary “RoboRay,” a remote controlled stingray, complete with on-board camera.

Go wild with four additional premieres on WILD WEDNESDAYS in July and August:

DRAGON ISLAND
Premieres Wednesday, July 20th at 8 p.m. ET/PT
Deep in the remote basin of the Pacific Ocean, dragons still roam in a Jurassic type underworld located in “The Ring of Fire,” where a string of 452 volcanoes erupt from the ocean bed. The ruthless environment helped to forge the Komodo Dragons, the largest living lizards on the planet, with 34 million years of survival in their DNA. Armored in claws and scales, these stealthy reptiles are ancient gladiators with deadly venom in every bite. On the hunt, they can run up to 23 miles per hour. But this apex warrior is also clinging to survival: only about 5,000 Komodo Dragons still exist. DRAGON ISLAND takes viewers onto Komodo Island for a glimpse of a mighty young creature, Drogo, who has overthrown the old king and must fight to hold onto his supremacy throughout the brawling season. Cameras capture Drogo as he feeds, breeds and fights for survival.

VIPER QUEENS
Premieres Wednesday, July 27th at 8 p.m. ET/PT
From the stark American Wild West, to steamy jungles in the heart of Africa, old and new world orders of vipers have merged to create a super-family of snakes. Within their ranks, some have adapted specific skills. VIPER QUEENS travels the world to present an intimate look at three different forms of these iconic, coldblooded killers in extreme, contrasting landscapes. Velvet, an African Gaboon viper, or adder, can wait motionless for months at a time, and then unleash a sudden, powerful attack. Armed with fangs that grow up to two inches long, Gaboon vipers not only have the longest snake fangs in the world, they’re also the largest and heaviest viper species. Therma, a Western Diamondback rattler, displays a familiar rattle warning as her first line of defense. She’s a new-world pit viper, equipped with an early warning system and thermal imaging abilities. Aries, the Puff adder, belongs to a group of formidable killers who are adaptable and hardy, able to spread themselves throughout Africa and Arabia, occupying one of the widest distributions of all viper species. Masters of disguise, their skin comes in a range of color variations, sometimes making them hard to identify, except for one distinguishable feature: the chevron markings on their backs.

KILLER HORNET SWARM
Premieres Wednesday, August 3rd at 8 p.m. ET/PT

Summer is here...and with it comes a deadly invasion. These super-sized Samurais called Japanese Giant Killer Hornets are the size of a human thumb and they are packed with a cytotoxic venom that can cause anaphylactic shock – and even death. Their stinger is a quarter the size of their body and packs a punch like a Black Mamba. For Golden-Yellow Hornets, a species much smaller in size, the invasion of giants is a mortal threat. It takes 10 of them to take on a single giant, but they’ve evolved surprising strategies to help even the odds.

DESERT WARRIORS: LIONS OF THE NAMIB
Premieres Wednesday, August 10th at 8 p.m. ET/PT
In a merciless, desolate furnace, an unexpected predator endures. Equipped with exceptional survival skills, desert lions roam the Namib. But with so few remaining adult males, the small population is on the brink of extinction. A brotherhood of five youngsters, known as the “Musketeers,” holds the key to the future of their kind. Two years ago, an old female and her two daughters gave birth to a cohort of five male cubs and, despite the hardships of the desert, they have managed to raise them successfully. But soon the time will come for the five Musketeers to continue their lives independently when their mothers begin their search for one of the last remaining adult males. Faced with many unexpected challenges, the five young males need to conquer the oldest desert on Earth on their truly epic journey to adulthood.

DESERT WARRIORS: LIONS OF THE NAMIB is produced by Intonature Productions, BoksDocs and Interspot for Smithsonian Channel. The other programs highlighted above for WILD WEDNESDAYS are produced by Earth-Touch for Smithsonian Channel.

Smithsonian Channel™, owned by Smithsonian Networks™, a joint venture between Showtime Networks Inc. and the Smithsonian Institution, is where curiosity lives, inspiration strikes and wonders never cease. This is the place for awe-inspiring stories, powerful documentaries and amazing entertainment across multiple platforms. Smithsonian Channel combines the storytelling prowess of SHOWTIME® with the unmatched resources and rich traditions of the Smithsonian, to create award-winning programming that shines new light on popular genres such as air and space, history, science, nature, and pop culture. Among the network’s offerings are series including Aerial America, Million Dollar American Princesses, The Weapon Hunter, Mighty Ships, Mighty Planes and Air Disasters, as well as critically-acclaimed specials that include Civil War 360, 9/11: The Heartland Tapes; MLK: The Assassination Tapes and The Day Kennedy Died. Smithsonian Networks also operates Smithsonian Earth™, through SN Digital LLC., a new subscription video streaming service delivering spectacular original nature and wildlife content. To learn more, go to www.smithsonianchannel.com, or connect with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

# # #



Page 1 of 66