Wild, Wild World of Animals: August 2008

Posted By RabbitEars

This month’s programming that may be of interest to you animal lovers:

Rolex Grand Prix of Show Jumping Animal Planet, Aug. 2. This prestigious event is the last chance for U.S. athletes and horses to make the U.S. Olympic Show Jumping team, which will be announced at the conclusion. A crowd of 35,000 spectators, as well as many top international riders, adds to the tension.

Puppy Games 2008Animal Planet, Aug. 8. We’ve seen them run and tackle in the popular Puppy Bowl, and now more cuddly canines are taking part in different athletic endeavors in the first Puppy Games. The competition settings include various arenas such as swimming pools and boxing rings, but, if you know puppies at all, it seems inevitable that each event will simply end up in some form of running, wrestling and/or tug-of-war. They are only amateurs, after all. And instead of bringing an international flair to the proceedings à la the Olympics, the variety here comes from the various breed representations (among the scheduled participants we’ve heard of so far there will be Australian cattle dogs, pugs, Boston terriers, cocker spaniels, a Weimardoodle and even a Norwegian lundehund). Like the Summer Games themselves, there will be both opening and closing ceremonies, airing on the nights of the actual Olympics ceremonies (the Puppy Games encore on the last night of the Olympics, Aug. 24, followed by closing ceremonies). Not to be outdone by their rival pets, some kitties will take center stage at the outset to kick things off, and some goldfish will be acting as judges, don’t ask me how.

Explorer: Zoo Tiger EscapeNational Geographic Channel, Aug. 10. On Christmas Day 2007, a 243-pound Siberian tiger named Tatiana escaped from her open-air enclosure at the San Francisco Zoo and mauled three young men. Before long, one 17-year-old boy and the 4-year-old tigress lay dead. The incident was the first time a visitor was killed by an escaped animal at an accredited zoo in the United States. How did the tiger escape from an enclosure with a 29-foot dry moat? And could it happen again? This special investigates the how and why of what really happened that night.

Tiger: Spy in the JungleAnimal Planet, Aug. 17. Elephants have been used for centuries to search for tigers — there is no better way to enter the hidden den of the king of the Indian jungle. India’s few remaining tigers live in dense forests that have made filming tiger behavior one of the last great wildlife challenges. Until now. By using camouflaged “trunkcams” and “tuskcams” carried by the elephants, filmmakers have opened up the dark and mysterious world of tigers few have ever witnessed in this new special.

The Grizzly Man Diaries Animal Planet, Aug. 29. A document of Timothy Treadwell’s relationship with bears — a relationship that ultimately led to his untimely death. Set against the backdrop of the Alaskan wilderness, this mini-series draws on hundreds of hours of unseen footage from the decade before Treadwell’s death in 2003. It will tell the story that Treadwell himself hoped to tell—featuring “his” bears as genuine creatures to be respected, admired and loved, not as the wild, strong and dangerous animals that killed him.


Puppy Games: David Holloway/Getty Images/Animal Planet

Tiger: Spy in the Wild: Animal Planet/BBC

Grizzly Man Diaries: Timothy Treadwell