Animal Planet

Australia Day Specials: Australia Taking The Heat

Animal Planet – Saturday 26 January, 8.30pm

High on the list of the most inhospitable places on earth should be Australia’s central desert. Ravaged by countless droughts, it’s a cruel and unforgiving place where temperatures soar and trees produce poisonous leaves. Yet, in the midst of this desolate environment, many species of wildlife thrive; in fact more than can be found in the more temperate climes of Europe and North America. From kookaburras and koalas to kangaroos and emus, viewers discover how these tenacious animals have learned to survive in such harsh conditions.

Australia Day Special: War Of Wombats

Animal Planet – Friday 25 January, 11.30pm

With their cute and cuddly appearance, wombats are an Australia icon but the future of the world’s largest burrowing mammal is uncertain. Shrinking habitats, crippling droughts and hunting have all combined to drastically reduce their numbers in recent years. Just 90 individuals remain of one species. War of the Wombats reveals the extraordinary efforts being undertaken by a group of passionate Australians to save these creatures from extinction. Right across the country, scientists, researchers and volunteers are desperately racing against the clock combining new technologies, innovative experiments and groundbreaking science to create an 11th hour survival plan.

Animal Planet Showcase: Daniel And Our Cats

Animal Planet – Sunday 20 January, 8.30pm

Catherine, a 30 year old French woman arrived in Namibia in search of the big African cats. In the midst of the desert she married the ‘lion man’ Daniel and lived an unusual and idyllic life in the remote Namibian hills with two leopards and a black-maned lion. One fateful night everything she loved was snatched away from her: Daniel was imprisoned, the cats taken to a secret location. When Daniel was released, they started a new life in South Africa with a baby lion cub, whilst still battling for their other cats. Then tragedy hit them all. In her personal and charming way Catherine tells us her personal true story of love, loss and healing.

Sunday Showcase: Animal Winter Games

Animal Planet – Sunday 13 January, 8.30pm

The animal kingdom’s athletic champions are revealed at this spectacular animal version of the Olympics. Bringing science and entertainment together, six animal groups put their best species forward to compete against each other in human-style events. Commentators explain why, for example, the flea could be disqualified from the high-jump event or, as we watch a slow-motion replay of the 100-meter sprint, exactly what is happening to the tiger-beetle’s eyes.

Sunday Showcase: King Cobra & I

Animal Planet – Sunday 6 January, 8.30pm

Intelligent and deadly, the giant cobra faces an uncertain future. Its natural habitats are in decline as man encroaches on these areas, killing the world’s most venomous snake out of fear. Follow king cobra expert Rom Whitaker as he searches for the perfect sanctuary for these endangered snakes in the rainforests of India’s Western Ghats. Studying their unique behaviour, can he build a better understanding of the elusive species to ensure their safety in the wild?

NZ TV Premiere: Ghost Of The Ganges

Animal Planet – Sunday 23 December, 8.30pm

In one of the world’s most sacred rivers there exists an almost mythical creature, belonging more to legend and fable than to natural history. Seldom seen, the Ganges River Dolphin is a creature from another age and a creature out of time. The dolphin is constantly singing, almost completely blind and endowed by local legend with mystical and healing powers. Until now, no filmmaker has ever captured the rare river dolphin. Wildlife filmmaker Herman Cloete and a specialist underwater team pent one year searching and finally filmed the secret life of this elusive dolphin.

NZ TV Premiere: Astrochimp

Animal Planet – Sunday 16 December, 8.30pm

This is the story of Ham, the baby chimp from Cameroon who was chosen from over 40 other chimps to become the first astrochimp in space. He is trained by some of the best scientists and pilots in the world in order to examine whether, once in space, a human being or the closest thing to him – the chimp – can conserve his intellectual and physical capacities. Throughout his training, Ham endures the same conditions as human astronauts plus he learns to respond to light, to sound and to master the controls. On January 31, 1961 Ham launched into space and returned alive. The experiment was a great success and has contributed much to the achievements of the American space program.

NZ TV Premiere: Ethiopian Wolf

Animal Planet – Sunday 9 December, 8.30pm

Set in the beautiful surroundings of the Ethiopian mountains, this program follows the lives of the endangered Ethiopian wolf through the eyes of a young female wolf called Saba. Through Saba the viewer will learn about the various threats that face the Ethiopian wolf: human encroachment, disease, competition for food. Viewers will be drawn into the story of Saba and her struggle for survival set against this animal’s beautiful habitat of the Ethiopian mountains and high plateaus.

NZ TV Premiere: The Secret Life Of Otters

Animal Planet – Sunday 2 December, 8.30pm

The beauty, intelligence and playful personalities of otters mean they are universally endearing. Unfortunately, their secretive nature means that otters are seldom seen in the wild and even more rarely filmed. In this anthology, stunning natural history footage delves into the secret lives of four of the most fascinating species of otter, depicting an existence now inextricably linked with mankind. The otters featured in the documentary come from different parts of the world: the European otter, the sea otter from North America, the giant otter from South America and the smooth-coated otter from Asia.

NZTV Premiere: Sharkman

Animal Planet – Sunday 18 November, 10.30pm

A man claims he can communicate with the world’s wildest predator – the Great White shark. Michael Rutzman wants to put his knowledge of sharks to the ultimate test with an extraordinary experiment: placing a Great White into a trance-like immobile state and then placing a large syringe into its lateral line to retrieve a blood sample. All of this is done while free-diving in the open sea. Mark believes Great Whites are not the mindless killers we make them out to be. He feels they are smart and sensitive and he can communicate with them in a profoundly new way.