Animal Planet

Animal Planet – Sunday 20 April, 8.30pm

Jessica The Hippo follows a year in the life of one of the most extraordinary family’s you’ll ever meet. Tonie Joubert, an old-school, reserved, retired game warden, lives in the South African bush with his wife of two years, Shirley, a highly-charged, high-maintenance, beauty therapist from the city. Together they are raising their ‘daughter’, Jessica, a 1 tonne hippopotamus. Jessica The Hippo follows the ups and downs of family life in the Joubert household as, like any family across the world, the parents debate what is best for their daughter. Through the film viewers learn why we know less about hippos than any other big mammal and explore how normal hippos live. This does makes us wonder what the future has in store for Jessica the hippo.

Animal Planet – Sunday 30 March, 8.30pm

Every year, as the first ice forms around the village of Churchill on the edge of Hudson’s Bay, Canada, more than 1,300 polar bears end their summer fast and head into town. They weigh 600 kilograms and they haven’t eaten for four months so people in town had better stay out of their way. This is a treat for wildlife watchers, but the annual migration has its down sides. The Great Ice Bear Event features the scientists who study the bears, the locals who fortify their homes against them and the tourists who tour the ice on the ‘bear buggy’ to see the massive white bears. Viewers also meet Wayde Roberts, the man whose job it is to keep the bears and the people apart.

Imagine roughing it with a toddler in a forest full of danger and on the edge of starvation. On top of that, you have to fight in a battle with your baby on your back. Could you cope? Welcome to the world of Madagascar’s most famous residents, the ring-tailed lemurs. Join Charlotte Uhlenbroek as she travels to the island’s magical forests to immerse herself in the soap opera lives of a troupe of ring-tailed lemurs as they struggle through the peak of the dry season. With food scarce and tensions between rival troops running high, dominant female Benzy and the rest of her troop must battle to raise their kids during the most dangerous time of year.

Sunday 24 February 8.30pm on Animal Planet

Our cameras go to Monkey World in Dorset, England – to one of the largest primate rescue centres in the world – to follow the day to day lives of its apes and monkeys. The ninth series uncovers even more about these incredible creatures whose lives, interactions, mannerisms and feelings help us to develop a better understanding of their close links with humans. The Monkey World team creates international awareness of these often abused and neglected creatures.

Mondays from 25 February 8.00pm on Animal Planet

Channel Premiere: Dragons Alive

Animal Planet – Friday 15 February, 10.30pm

Today’s reptiles are as deadly as dinosaurs, as beautiful as birds and as caring as mammals. Their image as ancient, unchanging creatures couldn’t be further from the truth, as they are in fact some of the most adaptable and successful animals on earth. For the first time we bring reptiles out of the shadow of dinosaurs, and into the limelight. Find out why reptiles are such successful predators and learn amazing facts about crocodiles, turtles, lizards and snakes.

Premiere: Massive Nature

Animal Planet – Sunday 10 February, 9.30pm

Imagine being at the very heart of a swarm of 20 million bats or in the middle of migrating wildebeest. This series takes you there as it unravels the action and explores the story behind these huge wildlife spectacles. The participation of every animal is explained, while footage is used to tell the story. Augmented by photo-realistic technology, some truly stunning angles and points of view are produced, relaying the action from the very heart of the event. Highlights include the Bait Ball Bonanza, an annual food-fest, clearly visible from space, which attracts thousands of sharks, whales, seals and birds as they seek to gorge themselves on a gigantic shoal of sardines tens of miles long.

Premiere: Life On Air: David Attenborough’s 50 Years Of Television

Animal Planet – Sunday 10 February, 8.30pm

David Attenborough is one of Britain’s most erudite natural historians and this program reveals how his relationship with the BBC has evolved over the last half decade. David joined the BBC in 1952 and in the past 50 years has seen it become world renowned across a number of genres, including the genre that he has come to epitomise – natural history. Archival footage reminds us of some of his most unforgettable moments, revealing the extraordinary history of his life on air. Michael Palin presents the program and interviews both David and key figures in his career.

Sunday Showcase: Return To The Wild

Animal Planet – Sunday 3 February, 8.30pm

Northern Thailand is a mountainous wilderness of unspoilt forest. Here you can find Elephant Haven, a place where 25 Asian elephants roam free after years of hard labour in the cities or woods. Elephants of all ages and from different families live together in this lush green forest. They have made new families after loosing their old ones and this is unique because elephants are famous for their very strong and lifelong family bonds. The elderly have adopted the young ones and adoptive older brothers take care of the small and the old and weak. Antoinette van de Water, a Dutch young woman started the foundation “Bring the Elephant Home” which collects money to buy Elephants who are most in need of being transferred to Elephant Haven. Viewers see first hand how she brings two elephants to bring to the park.

Animal Planet Showcase: Big Sky Bears

Animal Planet – Sunday 27 January, 8.30pm

Two mischievous black bear cubs are making their perilous journey to adulthood. This is an intimate story of twin black bear cubs growing up in Wyoming’s Grand Teton Mountains. Meet the furry balls of curiosity as they bundle out of their mother’s den for the first time. As their mother worries for her family, the twins enjoy the magic of growing up in the Grand Tetons. They play in a mountain stream as halos of newly emerged stone-fly catch the golden evening light. A great grey owl looks down in curiosity as mother rakes an old tree stump for tasty ants and some grub. This special program captures the comical as well as the deadly serious moments of the twins’ youth.

Australia Day Specials: Toad Warriors And Venom Hunters

Animal Planet – Saturday 26 January, 9.30pm

Craig and Jackie Adams-Maher cross Australia in search of animals threatened by the spread of the cane toad. Their mission is to capture snakes for the Australian Reptile Parks venom program. At the top of their list are two species, the Plains Death Adder and King Brown. The snakes make their home on the plains of Arnhem Land and Kakadu National Park in the Northern Territory. Come the wet season (November to January) the cane toads will sweep across the area, sending animal populations crashing. These snakes are essential to the production of anti-venom and must be saved. Along the way we see the many species under threat and the other bizarre creatures that have been transplanted to Australia and now call it home.