The Irwin family - Terri, Bindi and Robert – are returning to Animal Planet, it was announced today at MIPCOM by David Zaslav, President and CEO of Discovery Communications. Animal Planet will work together with the Irwin family to develop and produce the television projects that will bring them back to Animal Planet across the network’s platforms. The Irwin family will also serve as global ambassadors for Discovery Communications.
The Irwin family has a long and meaningful history with Animal Planet. Steve Irwin helped create a distinctive new style of wildlife documentary and The Crocodile Hunter featured both Steve and Terri as co-hosts along with the animals of Far North Queensland. Steve's boisterous charm, unconventional style and extraordinary daring, combined with Terri's wit and composure and their amazing encounters with crocodiles, venomous snakes and spiders, made The Crocodile Hunter a worldwide hit. The Crocodile Hunter aired on Animal Planet from 1996 through 2007 and also featured Terri and Steve’s children, Bindi and Robert.
"Steve Irwin was a champion for all wildlife and he and Terri’s excitement and enthusiasm brought viewers from around the world in touch with nature. Their passion for animals, love for their family, and leadership in conservation awareness left a strong legacy that continues today. We are thrilled to have Terri, Bindi and Robert back in the Animal Planet family,” said Patrice Andrews, General Manager of Animal Planet.
“We’re excited to be returning home to Animal Planet and our Discovery Communications family,” said Terri Irwin. “We look forward to the year ahead as we embark on new projects and adventures with Animal Planet.”
Terri is a passionate wildlife spokesperson and conservation icon around the world. She actively speaks out and supports conservation issues, including the Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve, a 135,000-hectare property in Cape York dedicated to Steve. In 2015, Terri won the Award for Excellence in Women’s Leadership in Queensland and received an honorary Doctor of Science degree from The University of Queensland in recognition of her outstanding contributions to conservation and environmental management efforts.
The Irwin family kids have not been left idle since they graced our screens near some of the most formidable reptiles on the planet on The Crocodile Hunter. Bindi has dedicated her life to wildlife conservation and inspiring the next generation to make a difference in the world. She received a Daytime Emmy Award in 2009 for her Discovery Kids series, Bindi, the Jungle Girl; co-created a series of books, Bindi Wildlife Adventures; and most recently in 2015 captivated the Dancing with the Stars audiences with her heartfelt performances and won the championship, taking home the coveted Mirrorball Trophy.
Robert, has a natural curiosity and loves learning about wildlife and the Australian bush. He earlier co-hosted the Discovery Kids series, Wild But True, which allowed him to share his passion for wildlife and conservation with the world. Robert also has recently made several memorable appearances on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon that have left people in awe of his talent and enthusiasm for animals.
The entire Irwin family strives to make Queensland, Australia-based Australia Zoo, a global zoological destination and leader in conservation relating to both wildlife and their habitat, the biggest and best wildlife conservation facility. Australia Zoo Wildlife Warriors was established in 2002, initially by Steve and Terri, as a way to include and involve other caring people to support the protection of injured, threatened or endangered wildlife - from the individual animal to an entire species. Terri remains involved as the patron of Australia Zoo Wildlife Warriors which runs the busiest wildlife hospital of its kind in the world which has treated almost 72,000 animals in the 12 years the hospital has been open. Additionally, the Irwin family continues the important work of Steve Irwin, through research, educational programs, conservation projects, and much more.
About Animal Planet
Animal Planet, a multi-media business unit of Discovery Communications, is the network of hit franchise series and special programming dedicated to animals and the natural world that includes RIVER MONSTERS, DR. JEFF: ROCKY MOUNTAIN VET, PIT BULLS & PAROLEES,TANKED, TREEHOUSE MASTERS, THE VET LIFE and PUPPY BOWL, the largest non-sports TV event on Super Bowl Sunday. Animal Planet is the premiere TV, digital and social community for all things animal, providing immersive, engaging, high-quality content across all Animal Planet platforms including: Animal Planet television network, available in more than 90 million homes in the U.S., that is complimented with a deep Video On Demand offering; online assets www.animalplanet.com, the ultimate online destination for animal lovers and pet owners; the Animal Planet Go app that allows viewers to catch up on full episodes of their favorite shows anytime anywhere; Animal Planet L!VE, the go-to digital destination for round-the-clock, unfiltered access via live cameras around the globe in a variety of animal habitats; Animal Planet Social including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram via @AnimalPlanet and on Snapchat as AnimalPlanetTV.
About Discovery Communications
Discovery Communications (Nasdaq: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK) satisfies curiosity and engages superfans with a portfolio of premium nonfiction, sports and kids programming brands. Reaching 3 billion cumulative viewers across pay-TV and free-to-air platforms in more than 220 countries and territories, Discovery’s portfolio includes the global brands Discovery Channel, TLC, Investigation Discovery, Animal Planet, Science and Turbo/Velocity, as well as OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network in the U.S., Discovery Kids in Latin America, and Eurosport, the leading provider of locally relevant, premium sports content across Europe. Discovery reaches audiences across screens through digital-first programming from Discovery VR, over-the-top offerings Eurosport Player and Dplay, as well as TV Everywhere products comprising the GO portfolio of TVE apps and Discovery K!ds Play. For more information, please visit www.discoverycommunications.com.
Photo credit for the Irwin family picture to Russell Shakespeare
Visionary Philanthropist Madame He Qiaonyu Pledges
US$20 Million For Wild Cat Conservation as the Newest Member of Panthera’s Global Alliance
October 13, 2017
Monaco – In a move indicative of China’s growing influence as a leader in environmental protection, visionary philanthropist and entrepreneur Madame He Qiaonyu, through her Beijing Qiaonyu Foundation, has joined forces with Panthera, the global wild cat conservation organization, and WildCRU, Oxford University’s conservation research unit, to protect big cats and their vast landscapes within China and beyond. It is the first international partnership for the Foundation, which envisions establishing the largest collaboration for biodiversity conservation in the world.
Starting with the apex carnivores, Beijing Qiaonyu Foundation will invest
$20 million over the next 10 years to fund conservation programs devoted to the protection of big cats both inside China and around the world, focusing on 10 “at-risk” areas to be determined by Beijing Qiaonyu Foundation with Panthera and WildCRU.
The partnership will be announced tomorrow in Monaco in conjunction with a meeting of IUCN’s Patrons of Nature, of which Madame He is a member.
Madame He is Founder and Chairman of Beijing Oriental Landscape and Ecology Co. Ltd., the largest landscape architecture company in China. Since establishing Beijing Qiaonyu Foundation in 2012, Madame He has become a force in Chinese philanthropy, investing in such areas as female entrepreneurship, ecological education, and climate change, and is setting the standard in China for emerging philanthropists.
In 2017, Beijing Qiaonyu Foundation introduced an ambitious vision for nature conservation, unveiling an accelerated seven-year plan to protect 28 critical habitat areas within China and conserve dozens of flagship animal and plant species. The Foundation plans to leverage its investments through high-profile partnerships within China and beyond, adopting and applying best practices to achieve its objectives and developing models for conservation worldwide.
Madame He stated, “I feel fortunate to have met Thomas and to be working with Panthera. This partnership enables us at Qiaonyu Foundation to utilize the most professional and experienced team in cat conservation as we begin to protect and preserve these beautiful but fragile species. It is an extraordinary undertaking, and to achieve the ambitious outcomes we seek, we are going to mobilize all the passion and intelligence we utilized when starting our businesses.”
She continued, “I would also add that there are a large number of entrepreneurs in China who are actively paying attention to environmental issues. They would love to share their wealth, knowledge, and vision to search for more and effective solutions for conserving nature. Qiaonyu Foundation is calling on potential partners in China and indeed across the globe to unite together to protect our only homeland and promise a better future for this planet!”
As the newest member of Panthera’s Global Alliance for Wild Cats, Madame He joins Thomas S. Kaplan and Daphne Recanati Kaplan, His Highness Mohamed Bin Zayed, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, and Hemendra Kothari—among the world’s leading environmental philanthropists—in an international collaboration to preserve large-scale wildlife habitat and biodiversity around the globe by protecting the big cats.
Panthera Founder and Chairman of the Board Thomas Kaplan stated, “Madame He’s vision for species conservation is big and bold, befitting China’s enormous potential to change the trajectory for threatened big cats at home and around the world. Madame He is herself a force of nature, and I have no doubt that she will galvanize a new homegrown movement to join her in sustaining our planet’s most precious and vulnerable wildlife.”
Dr. Kaplan continued, “We are humbled to be among the first partners aligned with Madame He and the Beijing Qiaonyu Foundation in this game-changing moment and look forward to working together under the auspices of the Global Alliance to realize our shared conservation goals.”
Phase One Will Focus on China’s Snow Leopards and African Lions
With a grant from the Recanati-Kaplan Foundation, in conjunction with Panthera and WildCRU, the Beijing Qiaonyu Foundation will invest
US$1 million to build out their comprehensive snow leopard conservation program in China, now in the early stages of development. The program will focus on two pilot sites to be determined, with the goal of expanding over time into the larger geographical range critical for the species’ survival.
Addressing one of the most pressing cat conservation crises globally, Beijing Qiaonyu Foundation will also contribute US$1 million to lion conservation in Africa with a focus on the geographies and populations most at risk. Due primarily to bushmeat poaching and conflict with humans, lion populations have plunged by more than 40% in the past two decades. Today, just 20,000 lions remain, occupying only 8% of their historical range. However, research shows that lions can thrive in large, well-protected landscapes with secure buffer zones, providing hope for the future.
And, in a third component of the partnership, Panthera, WildCRU and Beijing Qiaonyu Foundation will design and implement a joint wildlife management training program for Chinese conservationists working in the newly formed conservation areas in China. The training courses will be tailored for application both in the classroom and in the field.
Dr. Frédéric Launay, who will assume the CEO role at Panthera on November 1, stated, “Panthera is immensely pleased and proud to have the opportunity to work with Madame He and the Beijing Qiaonyu Foundation as partners in large-scale conservation. We see enormous opportunity to share knowledge, as well as to break new ground in creating a world in which humans and wild cats can thrive together.”
The Global Alliance for Wild Cats
The Global Alliance for Wild Cats was formed in 2014 to convene the world’s most visionary conservation thinkers across borders and cultures in a shared commitment to protecting big cats and their ecosystems. The Global Alliance invests in deploying at scale the most effective solutions for mitigating their primary threats: poaching for the illegal wildlife trade, human-cat conflict, loss of prey species, and the loss and fragmentation of habitat.
Her Excellency Razan Khalifa al Mubarak, Managing Director of the Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund and Secretary-General of the Environment Agency–Abu Dhabi, said, “On behalf of His Highness Mohamed bin Zayed, we welcome Madame He to the Global Alliance. How fortunate we are to have such a bright light as Madame He focused on the big cats. Only with such grand vision can we hope to achieve conservation on the scale needed to save them.”
“We are looking forward to working alongside Madame He and the Beijing Qiaonyu Foundation,” said Hemendra Kothari, Founder and Chairman of India’s Wildlife Conservation Trust. “This is truly an extraordinary example of international cooperation. Together, we can hope to recover tigers, snow leopards, lions, and all of the iconic cats upon which the delicate balance of nature depends, particularly forest and water protection and climate change mitigation.”
A New Wave of Chinese Philanthropy
Madame He is pioneering a burgeoning philanthropic movement in China, providing inspiration to a new generation of philanthropists across a broad spectrum of interests, including many focused outside of China for the first time.
She is a founder with Bill Gates, Ray Dalio, Niu Gensheng, and Ye Qingjun of the Chinese Global Philanthropy Institute, an organization dedicated to cultivating the development of philanthropy in China and around the world.
Panthera, founded in 2006, is devoted exclusively to preserving wild cats and their critical role in the world’s ecosystems. Panthera’s team of leading biologists, law enforcement experts and wild cat advocates develop innovative strategies based on the best available science to protect cheetahs, jaguars, leopards, lions, pumas, snow leopards, and tigers and their vast landscapes. In 36 countries around the world, Panthera works with a wide variety of stakeholders to reduce or eliminate the most pressing threats to wild cats—securing their future, and ours. Visit panthera.org.
About Beijing Qiaonyu Foundation
The mission of BQF is simple and straightforward: to protect the earth and nature, and conserve biodiversity. We aspire to become one of the most influential Nature Conservation Agencies in the world.
David Macdonald founded the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU) in 1986 at the University of Oxford. Now the foremost University-based centre for biodiversity conservation, the mission of the WildCRU is to achieve practical solutions to conservation problems through original research. WildCRU is particularly renowned for its work with wild carnivores, especially wild cats, including its long-running studies on lion and clouded leopard. Its training centre for early-career conservationists, so far from 32 countries, produces experts and future leaders in global conservation. Visit wildcru.org.
Findings Could Raise Questions About All Solitary Carnivores
October 11, 2017
Jackson, Wyoming – Pumas, long known as solitary carnivores, are more social than previously thought, according to a new Panthera study published in the peer-reviewed journal Science Advances. The findings provide the first evidence of complex social strategies in any solitary carnivore—and may have implications for multiple species, including other wild cats around the world.
“It’s the complete opposite of what we’ve been saying about pumas and solitary species for over 60 years,” said lead author and Panthera Puma Program Lead Scientist Mark Elbroch, Ph.D. “We were shocked—this research allows us to break down mythologies and question what we thought we knew.”
Usually termed “solitary carnivores,” pumas have been assumed to avoid each other, except during mating, territorial encounters, or when raising young. The population studied interacted every 11-12 days during winter—very infrequently compared to more gregarious species like meerkats, African lions, or wolves, which interact as often as every few minutes. So to document social behavior, Dr. Elbroch and his field research team had to follow pumas over longer time spans.
Using GPS technology and motion-triggered cameras in northwest Wyoming, the team collected thousands of locations from GPS-equipped collars and documented the social interactions of pumas over 1,000 prey carcasses (242 with motion-triggered cameras that filmed interactions). Then, they used cutting-edge analyses of puma networks to reveal that the species exhibits social strategies like more social animals, just over longer timescales. The research is the first to quantify complex, enduring, and “friendly” interactions of these secretive animals, revealing a rich puma society far more tolerant and social than previously thought.
"Our research shows that food sharing among this group of pumas is a social activity, which cannot be explained by ecological and biological factors alone,” said study co-author Mark Lubell, director of the UC Davis Center for Environmental Policy and Behavior.
Here’s a breakdown of the most surprising findings:
- Every puma participated in a “network” of individuals sharing food with each other. Each puma co-fed with another puma at least once during the study, and many of them fed with other pumas many times.
- Choosing individuals with whom to share meals was not random or reserved for family members. The pumas seemed to recall who shared food with them in the past—and were 7.7 times more likely to share with those individuals. This is usually only documented with social animals.
- Males received more free meat than females, and males and females likely benefited differently from social interactions. Males got meat, while females likely received social investments facilitating mating opportunities.
- Territorial males acted like governors of “fiefdoms,” structuring how all pumas across the landscape interacted with each other. All pumas living inside each male territory typically formed a single network, and were more likely to share their food with each other. Social interactions occurred across these borders, but much less frequently than among cats within the same male territory.
The study emphasizes that puma populations are actually composed of numerous smaller communities ruled by territorial males. The loss of males, whether by natural or human causes, potentially disrupts the entire social network.
Videos and images captured during the study served as “irrefutable” evidence of social behavior, Dr. Elbroch said. “Suddenly, I was able to see what was happening when these animals were coming together. By stepping back, we captured the patterns of behavior that have no doubt been occurring among pumas all along.”
Except for lions and cheetahs (whose males form long-term social groups), all wild cats are typically described as solitary—a strategy characteristic of species living in complex habitats where predators compete for dispersed prey. This study should encourage researchers to study the social behavior of other solitary carnivores.
“This work goes against convention for solitary carnivores, but our evidence is supported by both behavior and genetics,” said co-author Anthony Caragiulo, Assistant Director of Genomic Operations at the Sackler Institute for Comparative Genomics at the American Museum of Natural History.
Dr. Elbroch stated, “This opens the door to enormous possibilities. Are pumas everywhere behaving the same, or only in areas with large prey? Are other species like leopards and wolverines and so many others acting the same way? There is so much more to discover about the rich, secret social lives of wild creatures.”
Read the full study here.
Read Dr. Elbroch’s first blog about this paper.
Learn more about Panthera’s Puma Program here.
Panthera, founded in 2006, is devoted exclusively to preserving wild cats and their critical role in the world’s ecosystems. Panthera’s team of leading biologists, law enforcement experts and wild cat advocates develop innovative strategies based on the best available science to protect cheetahs, jaguars, leopards, lions, pumas, snow leopards and tigers and their vast landscapes. In 36 countries around the world, Panthera works with a wide variety of stakeholders to reduce or eliminate the most pressing threats to wild cats—securing their future, and ours. Visit panthera.org.
Meet our Executive Director, Aimee Gilbreath
Aimee Gilbreath joined Found Animals in March 2008 as its first full-time employee and Executive Director. She has been responsible for developing and implementing the Foundation’s wide range of innovative programs. Under her leadership the Foundation has grown to over 70 staff members and 500+ volunteers. Found Animals’ programs focus on sterilization, microchipping, and adoption as key levers to reduce shelter intake and euthanasia and span from traditional philanthropy to social enterprise. In addition to providing funding to local spay/neuter non-profits, the Foundation also administers the Michelson Prize and Grants program to encourage development of non-surgical sterilization products. Found Animals provides affordable microchips and scanners, along with a state of the art universal registry, to shelters and clinics nationwide. In Los Angeles, the foundation operates two retail adoption centers that adopt 3,000 shelter pets per year as well as a kitten foster program. Aimee is a former management consultant with significant experience leading teams to solve business problems for Fortune 500 clients. She holds a B.S. in Molecular Biology and an MBA. Aimee lives in Santa Monica, CA with her husband and their beloved pit bull Rufus.
Alley Cat Allies Deploys Resources to Gulf Coast for Hurricane Recovery
HOUSTON – Sept. 3, 2017 – Alley Cat Allies has deployed an expert, bilingual disaster response team and is sending additional resources to help Texas and Louisiana organizations rescue cats and other animals whose lives continue to be in peril because of Hurricane Harvey.
“Many people and animals have been displaced, shelters are overflowing and families were forced to make difficult decisions about what to do with their animals,” said Becky Robinson, president and founder of Alley Cat Allies. “There are many cats and other animals who haven’t eaten for days and may be lost from their homes. We are eager to help the courageous people who are finding and saving these animals.”
In many cases, community cats, sometimes called feral cats, were left on their own when their human caregivers evacuated as floodwaters rose. The Alley Cat Allies team will help shelters and caregivers throughout Texas and Louisiana to rebuild programs that were in place to help community cats, including Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR). They will also be forming a network of people to check on colonies, resume feeding them and place new cat houses and shelters as necessary.
The Alley Cat Allies disaster response team is starting its work in Spring, a Houston suburb, by assisting the Texas Litter Control (TLC) organization. TLC requested help as a member of the Alley Cat Allies Feral Friends Network. Alley Cat Allies has brought truckloads of traps, dens and cat carriers, which will all be in high demand. Additional supplies such as leashes, cat food, kitty litter, water, blankets and towels are also being delivered.
In Texas and Louisiana, Alley Cat Allies is offering emergency funds to overwhelmed shelters and organizations. In one such case, the Humane Society of Louisiana (HSLA) has used these funds for two disaster-ready transportation vehicles that are facilitating the rescue of hundreds of animals stranded by floodwaters. Jeff Dorson, executive director of HSLA, thanked Alley Cat Allies for helping in a second consecutive year, after the organization previously responded to extreme flooding in 2016.
“Once more, Alley Cat Allies has come to our aid in a time of need,” Dorson said. “This critical support is helping us to save cats and other animals who need our help. The generosity, partnership and good-will are helping us to get through some very challenging days as we try to do as much good as we can.”
About Alley Cat Allies
Alley Cat Allies, headquartered in Bethesda, Md., is the global engine of change for cats. We protect and improve cats’ lives through our innovative, cutting-edge programs. We are seen around the world as a champion for the humane treatment of all cats. Founded in 1990, today Alley Cat Allies has more than 650,000 supporters and helps tens of thousands of individuals, communities and organizations save and improve the lives of millions of cats and kittens worldwide. Its website is www.alleycat.org, and Alley Cat Allies is on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+ and YouTube.
Hurricane Preparation Tips for Pet Owners, Cat Caregivers in Path of Irma
BETHESDA, Md. – Sept. 6, 2017 – As Hurricane Irma approaches Florida and the Southeastern United States, Alley Cat Allies, the international advocacy organization dedicated to protecting cats, has assembled a set of Disaster Preparation Tips for community cat caregivers, pet owners, and others involved with animals. These tips will help community cat caregivers and pet owners in the path of Irma weather the storm and keep their cats safe. Among the tips:
- Make sure to have descriptions of your pets and the community cats (sometimes called feral cats) you care for, along with photos. If you need to look for displaced cats in shelters or other rescue areas, this will help accurately identify them. Make sure all pet tags and animal microchips have up-to-date information.
- Enlist a back-up caregiver who is responsible for the community cats in your absence, and network with other community cat caregivers in your area to set up a ‘buddy system.’ This will create a safety net of care for the cats. You may be able to find other cat caregivers in your area through our Feral Friends Network.
- Create an emergency contact card for your pets and community cat colonies in case you are not immediately available. Include all contact information for your substitute caregiver. Carry this card in your wallet and your car, give copies to your backup caregiver, and post it somewhere visible in your home like on the refrigerator.
- Make a list of local shelters and their contact information. You will need this information in case you need their help or resources.
- Keep an emergency supply kit on hand and know where to find it quickly. Disaster kit basics for pets include a pet first-aid kit, a supply of prescription medications for pets, veterinary and microchip ID records, three to seven days of pet food and dishes, a seven-day supply of bottled water per person and per pet, a litter box and litter, a leash and collar, crate or carrier, blankets, and photos of pets and cats in colonies.
It’s not possible to bring community cats with you when evacuating from disasters, so they need their own special disaster plan. Read our Disaster Proofing a Community Cat Colony resource for guidance.
Finally, you can always reach out to Feral Friends Network members in your area for help in preparing community cats for a disaster or finding them after the danger has passed.
With an active Atlantic hurricane season now under way, it’s important to have a disaster readiness plan in place.
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Preparing for Florida'sHurricaneIrma.
OBOL DONATED to Hurricane Harvey and the Burbank Fire:TONS OF FOOD,
100's of BLANKETS, PET BEDS, 100 CRATES, LEASHES, COLLARS, FOOD BOWLS & MORE.
Our resources are really being strained now.
Surviving Harvey: Animals After the Storm Premieres on Saturday, September 9at 8PM ET/PT
Hurricane Harvey is one of the most catastrophic natural disasters in US history. Floodwaters from the storm have engulfed entire Texas cities leaving thousands of people and animals displaced and homeless. Animal Planet’s Surviving Harvey: Animals After the Storm will chronicle the heroic efforts of rescuers and volunteers who lend a helping hand to the animals displaced by the recent storm. Witness the daring rescues, dramatic reunions and inspiring adoptions that leave hope after Harvey, Saturday, September 9th at 8PM ET/PT.
“We are pleased to bring the stories from Hurricane Harvey that profile the incredible efforts being made on behalf of the animals in harms way,” said Patrice Andrews, General Manager of Animal Planet. “We hope our special helps to also promote continued contributions to the organizations working tirelessly to rescue and shelter the animals.”
By presenting moving stories of animals who have been impacted by the hurricane, the hope is that viewers will be inspired to support the efforts of the non-profit organization, Austin Pets Alive, which has dedicated itself to the cause and already evacuated over hundreds of animals to safety. To help with animal rescue efforts in Houston, please text ANIMALS to 707070 to make a donation.
Surviving Harvey: Animals After the Storm is produced for Animal Planet by Peacock Productions. For Peacock, Knute Walker is SVP and Executive Producer and Elizabeth Fischer is Executive Producer. For Animal Planet, Lisa Lucas is Executive Producer and Candice Allgood is Production Coordinator.
About Animal Planet
Animal Planet, a multi-media business unit of Discovery Communications, is the network of hit franchise series and special programming dedicated to animals and the natural world that includes RIVER MONSTERS, DR. JEFF: ROCKY MOUNTAIN VET, PIT BULLS & PAROLEES, TANKED, TREEHOUSE MASTERS, THE VET LIFE, THE ZOO and PUPPY BOWL, the largest non-sports TV event on Super Bowl Sunday. Animal Planet is the premiere TV, digital and social community for all things animal, providing immersive, engaging, high-quality content across all Animal Planet platforms including: Animal Planet television network, available in more than 90 million homes in the U.S., that is complimented with a deep Video On Demand offering; online assets www.animalplanet.com, the ultimate online destination for animal lovers and pet owners; the Animal Planet Go app that allows viewers to catch up on full episodes of their favorite shows anytime anywhere; Animal Planet L!VE, the go-to digital destination for round-the-clock, unfiltered access via live cameras around the globe in a variety of animal habitats; Animal Planet Social including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram via @AnimalPlanet.
About Discovery Communications
Discovery Communications (Nasdaq: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK) is the world’s #1 pay-TV programmer reaching nearly 3 billion cumulative subscribers in more than 220 countries and territories. For 30 years Discovery has been dedicated to satisfying curiosity and entertaining viewers with high-quality content through its global television brands, led by Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, Investigation Discovery and Science, as well as U.S. joint venture network OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network. Discovery controls Eurosport, the leading pan-regional sports entertainment destination across Europe, Asia Pacific, the Middle East and Africa. Discovery also is a leading provider of educational products and services to schools, including an award-winning series of K-12 digital textbooks, through Discovery Education, and a digital leader with a diversified online portfolio, including Discovery Digital Networks. For more information, please visit www.discoverycommunications.com.
Raleigh, NC – Our hearts and prayers go out to the many people in Texas, Louisiana and surrounding areas that are in the path of Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath. The magnitude of the devastation from this storm is unimaginable and the American Kennel Club® (AKC®) and AKC Reunite are here to contribute to the relief. Two AKC Pet Disaster Relief trailers have been deployed in Dallas and Ft Worth, Texas to help evacuees from the storm and AKC Reunite will continue to help shelters caring for pets displaced by the storm.
“AKC Reunite continues to monitor the situation in Texas and Louisiana. We are committed to providing as much assistance as possible to those affected by this storm,” said Tom Sharp, AKC Reunite President and CEO. “Pets are part of the family and we understand how important it is to ensure their safety as well.”
The Fort Worth AKC Pet Disaster Relief trailer has been deployed at the Fort Worth Wilkerson Facility emergency shelter, located at 5201 Ca Roberson Blvd, Fort Worth, TX 76119. The deployment of this trailer allows people to safely evacuate with their pets instead of risking their lives because they do not have a safe, pet-friendly place to go. It houses supplies that create a safe, temporary home-base for at least 65 pets in the wake of a disaster. The essential, non-perishable AKC Pet Disaster Relief supplies are crucial, as many pet owners do not have the time to gather the necessary items to care for their pets during an emergency evacuation.
The Tri Cities/Cedar Hill AKC Pet Disaster Relief Trailer is deployed adjacent to the “Mega” Shelter set up in Dallas at the Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center. This self-care animal shelter set up in the nearby parking garage so evacuees have close proximity to their pets. Efforts are being supported by the SPCA of Texas, the Dallas Animals Services, and the Dallas County Animal Response Team.
AKC Reunite has donated thousands of dollars to Austin Pets Alive shelter, Etosha Rescue, the SPCA of Brazoria County, among others. The organization has also purchased $2,600 worth of kennel runs for the Tri-Cities Animal Shelter and Dallas County Response Team to assist at the Dallas Mega Shelter.
Please refer to the AKC Reunite website for more updates on the storm and what the AKC and AKC Reunite are doing to contribute to the relief. You can also find pet-friendly emergency shelter locations, including those with AKC Pet Disaster Relief trailers. To donate to AKC Reunite, please click here.
Non-native Predators Caught on Cameras in Wildlife Refuge
(Washington, D.C., August 17, 2017) Endangered ‘Alae ‘Ula(Hawaiian Common Gallinule, a subspecies of Common Gallinule formerly called Hawaiian Common Moorhen) are among the latest documented victims of feral cat predation on the Hawaiian island of Kaua‘i. The pair of breeding adults was attacked and killed while sitting on their nest in a national wildlife refuge in late April. With no adults left to tend the nest, the birds’ remaining three eggs and two hatchlings did not survive. The incubating parents of two more nests were killed by the same feral cat on April 22 and May 19, and six more eggs subsequently failed to hatch. The feral cat is still at large.
The attacks were captured on remote cameras installed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) in partnership with American Bird Conservancy (ABC). This predation by cats on endangered birds represents a major setback for conservation efforts and is a harsh reminder of the dangers feral cats and other invasive animals create for Hawai‘i's native species.
“Feral cats, whether they are dumped on the wildlife refuge by irresponsible owners or they find their way onto the refuge from nearby feral cat feeding stations, are having a very significant and tragic impact on Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge's endangered birds,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Deputy Project Leader Michael Mitchell. “Throughout Kaua‘i, natural resource managers are doing everything they can to save our native birds. But some species are running out of time, and extinction is forever.”
The recent attacks are among the latest in a long line of killings of endangered Hawaiian birds by feral cats, a non-native species. Unpublished data collected by FWS employees have documented at least 252 suspected cat kills of Hawaiian Common Gallinules, ‘Alae Ke‘oke‘o (Hawaiian Coots), Ae‘o (Hawaiian Stilts), Koloa Maoli (Hawaiian Ducks), and Kōlea(Pacific Golden-Plover) in Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge between 2012 and 2014. Seabirds are similarly at risk, especially while in the nest. Feral cats were suspected in the deaths of 22 Laysan Albatross chicksduring a 3-week period in 2015. Recently, a feral cat was caught on camera killing and dragging an endangered ‘Ua‘u (Hawaiian Petrel) out of its nest by the Kauai Endangered Seabird Recovery Project (KESRP), an incident that is unfortunately recorded with regularity in remote seabird colonies on the island.
According to KESRP Coordinator Dr. André Raine, “Feral cats are one of the worst of the introduced predators on the island of Kaua‘i — they are widespread throughout the island, are highly adept predators, are capable of killing large numbers of birds in a very short period of time, and regularly kill breeding adult birds, which makes their long-term impact on a breeding population even more devastating.”
“The continued losses of Kaua‘i's unique and endangered birds to cat predation are unsustainable,” said Grant Sizemore, ABC's Director of Invasive Species Programs. “With even wildlife refuges no longer safe from cats, the time has come to pass a comprehensive cat ordinance — such as that recommended by Kaua‘i's Feral Cat Task Force — to encourage the responsible care of pets and safekeeping of wildlife.”
The task force, which included stakeholders from animal welfare, conservation, and community members, submitted its recommendations to the County Council in March 2014. Those recommendations include setting a goal of “zero feral, abandoned, or stray cats” and implementing practical solutions such as sterilization and confinement as key strategies for addressing the cat, wildlife, and human health concerns associated with free-roaming cats. Those concerns include toxoplasmosis, an infectious parasitic disease that may be spread to humans and wildlife through cat feces and which has been linked to deaths in endangered Nēnē (Hawaiian Goose) and Hawaiian monk seals. A report prepared for the Hawai‘i Department of Health in 2000 suggested that feral cats are the “highest collective risk factor [for toxoplasmosis] and require further attention and action from a ‘holistic public health perspective.’”
American Bird Conservancy is dedicated to conserving birds and their habitats throughout the Americas. With an emphasis on achieving results and working in partnership, we take on the greatest problems facing birds today, innovating and building on rapid advancements in science to halt extinctions, protect habitats, eliminate threats, and build capacity for bird conservation.
-This Season’s “You Watch, We Give” Episode Premieres August 26-
(New York, NY) Animal Planet’s popular series PIT BULLS & PAROLEES features Tia Torres, a true believer in second chances. For more than 20 years, Tia has dedicated her life to New Orleans-based Villalobos Rescue Center, the largest pit bull rescue center in the U.S. She has also offered a fresh start to parolees and a new lease on life to dogs that were discarded and demonized because of the reputation of their breed. PIT BULLS & PAROLEES is back this summer for an all-new season with new stories, but the same heart we know and love, beginning Saturday, August 5 at 9PM ET/PT.
After a long recovery from a devastating leg injury, Tia gets back into in full swing and relies on her children, their significant others and the parolees to help keep the ever-expanding rescue center running. Tia fights a never-ending battle that’s grown to include dogs of every type and size, in desperate need of help. Many are unwanted pets dumped on the road, found wandering in the swamps, or thrown over the Villalobos gates. It’s the reality of running the nation’s largest pit bull sanctuary, where each new day brings happiness or heartbreak – and sometimes both.
In addition to the summer season premiere, Animal Planet’s annual tradition of “You Watch, We Give” for PIT BULLS & PAROLEES will continue Saturday, August 26 at 9PM ET/PT to coincide with National Dog Day. “You Watch, We Give” takes place as part of Animal Planet's on-going commitment to make a positive impact in the animal world; the network will donate money to Villalobos Rescue Center with the total donation based upon the episode’s viewership. Animal Planet encourages viewers to tune in for “You Watch, We Give” to help drive its donations to Villalobos.
To support “You Watch, We Give” on Animal Planet’s social channels, fans are encouraged to share photos of their dogs with the #ShowUsYourPups hashtag across Twitter, Instagram or the Pit Bulls & Parolees Facebook page and it may appear on TV during the episode. In previous years, Animal Planet’s donations from “You Watch. We Give" has helped cover Villalobos' expenses, including veterinary bills and food and shelter costs for the rescued pit bulls.
To satiate fans desire for additional content, Animal Planet digital and social (AnimalPlanet.com, Pit Bulls & Parolees page on Facebook and Animal Planet on Facebook and Twitter via @AnimalPlanet) will be offering Tattoo Tales (WT), a series of all-new short form content where fans will get up close and personal with Tia and her family, along with the parolees, as they share the stories behind some of their most meaningful tattoos.
PIT BULLS & PAROLEES is produced for Animal Planet by 44 Blue Productions and Rive Gauche Television. Rasha Drachkovitch and Billy Cooper are the executive producers for 44 Blue Productions. For Animal Planet, Lisa Lucas is executive producer and Patrick Keegan serves as supervising producer.