6:00am PT by Kimberly Nordyke
Animal Planet Going Behind the Scenes at San Diego Zoo in New Series (Exclusive)
Animal Planet is taking viewers behind the scenes at the San Diego Zoo in a newly greenlit series tentatively titled The Zoo: San Diego.
The show, which hails from the producers of Animal Planet's The Zoo and the upcoming series The Aquarium, aims to give a "revealing" look at what goes on inside San Diego Zoo Global, whose mission is to save species worldwide while inspiring passion for animals and nature. San Diego Zoo Global — which encompasses two parks, the San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, as well as the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research — is home to more than 700 species and 6,500 animals. Their stories will be featured in every episode of The Zoo: San Diego, which premieres later this year.
The Zoo: San Diego will introduce a wide range of animals to viewers, including pandas, giraffes, Galápagos tortoises, koalas, elephants, mountain lions, two baby cheetahs that are learning how to be ambassadors for their species and a flock of ostriches known as the "Spice Girls."
Viewers also will see as California condors are brought back from the brink of extinction and get an up-close look as Joanne the gorilla celebrates her fifth birthday along with her troop. The show also will spotlight the animal care teams — keepers and veterinarians at both the Zoo and the Safari Park — many of whom have dedicated their lives to caring for animals and the various wildlife conservation projects and initiatives taking place at the nonprofit.
"The San Diego Zoo is a cherished landmark, recognized for its contribution to conservation, and a place where generations of families have learned about and celebrated wildlife," said Erin Wanner, senior vp production at Animal Planet. "We are thrilled to partner with this iconic institution to help shine a light on their work with some of the planet's most amazing creatures."
Added Rick Schwartz, San Diego Zoo Global ambassador: "The vision of San Diego Zoo Global is to lead the fight against extinction. We know that this compelling program will not only delight and engage viewers, but will also provide a global platform for us to share incredible stories of the conservation efforts that our organization has undertaken to ensure the survival of endangered species."
San Diego Zoo Global, which boasts a combined 5.5 million visitors each year, also is working on field conservation projects with almost 400 partners in 45 countries to save more than 100 species. This includes efforts to bring the critically endangered northern white rhino — only two of which are left on the planet — back from the brink of extinction.
The Zoo: San Diego is produced for Animal Planet by Left/Right, a Red Arrow Studios company, and Copper Pot Pictures. Banks Tarver, Ken Druckerman, Anneka Jones and Michael LaHaie are the executive producers; Jessie Findlay is co-executive producer for Left/Right. David LaMattina and Chad Walker are the executive producers for Copper Pot Pictures. Lisa Lucas is the executive producer abd Patrick Keegan is supervising producer for Animal Planet.