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'Animal Intervention' comes Oct. 2 on Nat Geo WILD (VIDEOS)

By April MacIntyre Sep 27, 2012, 8:10 GMT

'Animal Intervention' comes Oct. 2 on Nat Geo WILD (VIDEOS)

Tune in alert for the emotional new series "Animal Intervention" which premieres Tuesday, October 2, at 9PM on Nat Geo WILD.

Tune in alert for the emotional new series "Animal Intervention" which premieres Tuesday, October 2, at 9PM on Nat Geo WILD.

Full-grown tigers, lions and monkeys are powerful, unpredictable and extremely dangerous.  They need a lot of food, a lot of space and a lot of attention in order to live comfortably and safely in captivity. 

When owners are unwilling or incapable of acting in the best interest of their animals, it takes an Animal Intervention.

Enter animal advocate Alison Eastwood and animal expert Donald Schultz, who confront overwhelmed and out-of-touch wildlife owners who house exotic animals in confined and potentially hazardous environments. 

Some of the owners breed their animals, further crowding their facilities and increasing the overall population of exotics living in captivity.  Alison and Donald approach owners at private ranches, roadside zoos and even magic shows to assess the conditions in which they keep their animals. 

From Nat Geo WILD

Emotions run high when Alison and Donald recommend changes, sometimes as drastic as relocating full-grown wild animals to safe and clean animal sanctuaries.  Their work is chronicled in the new series Animal Intervention, 

Alison and Donald receive tips from concerned organizations and individuals about potentially problematic animal enclosures, and set out to investigate.  They catch up with a Louisiana couple harboring four capuchin monkeys in their RV. 

The monkeys live in cramped cages and take turns sleeping with the couple in bed at night. 

Then duo tours a makeshift zoo in upstate New York run by an owner who is physically and financially strained battling multiple health problems.  His family must consider the heartbreaking decision to find sanctuaries for the bobcats, macaques and mountain lion they have loved liked family. 

And they visit central Ohio and meet an animal lover who created a rescue for unwanted big cats in her home, only to struggle both financially and emotionally to keep up with the massive responsibility.  She and her husband continue building cages both inside and outside of their home to take in new animals, while at the same time pawning all of their valuables in a desperate attempt to keep the cats fed and cared for.

Donald is a wildlife expert, extreme adventurer, writer and photographer.  He started working with reptiles at the age of 13, and his fascination with snakes became the bedrock of his career.  He hosted the cable programs “Wild Recon” and “Venom in Vegas,” co-authored a number of scientific articles and has spoken at the International Herpetological Symposium.

Alison, daughter of Clint Eastwood, is not only an American film director and Hollywood actress, but also a true animal advocate, having worked with Marine Animal Rescue and other organizations.  She made her directorial debut with “Rails & Ties”; her other acting credits include “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil,” “I’ll Be Seeing You” and “Once Fallen.” 

“This is a series that is near and dear to my heart,” says Eastwood.  “I have amassed television and film credits, but helping animals and finding them loving homes is my passion.  I have wanted to create a show about rescuing animals and bringing attention and awareness to their plight for some time.”

Donald adds, “I joined the series to not only raise awareness to the plight of animals in captivity but also the owners.  Having owned and worked with exotic and dangerous animals, I wanted to explore these relationships and try and help all parties involved.  While only bad incidents get press, there are thousands of responsible exotic owners out there, and I wanted to try and weigh in on this hot button topic with my expertise.”

Sometimes Alison and Donald successfully persuade owners to relinquish their animals, and at that point a sanctuary is called in.  Tearfully, owners make the difficult decision to say goodbye to their animals and watch as they are loaded up and taken to a better home.  In other cases, however, the owners ’refuse changes outright, and Donald and Alison have no choice but to leave empty-handed.  If they think they have another solution to help the animal, they attempt to return at a later date with a plan in place. 

Animal Intervention is produced for Nat Geo WILD by Bienstock Young Media.  For Bienstock Young Media, executive producers are Jay Bienstock and Eugene Young.  For Nat Geo WILD, executive producer is Ashley Hoppin and executive vice president and general manager is Geoff Daniels.

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Premiere Episodes Include:

Animal Intervention: RV Monkeys
Premieres Tuesday, October 2, 2012, at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT
Alison and Donald head to Branson, Mo., to meet with Kirby Van Burch, a magician who uses exotic animals in an act he performs more than 300 times a year.  He has been close with animals all his life, and even cuddles with a leopard on the couch of his dressing room.  Kirby has been criticized for his small enclosures and rigorous production schedule for his main attractions—three tigers and two leopards.  Alison and Donald are there to find out if these accusations are true, or if it is all just smoke and mirrors.  They then head to the bayous of Louisiana to meet Jim and Donita Clark, who are evading local authorities while housing four capuchin monkeys in their RV.  Ironically, their Louisiana home was designed to house the monkeys properly, but as Alison and Donald discover, there is more to the story of the Clarks than meets the eye.

Animal Intervention: Mama’s Boys
Premieres Tuesday, October 9, 2012, at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT
Donald and Alison head to upstate New York and visit the home of John Palmer, whose dream of operating a roadside zoo with his family is in jeopardy.  Legal troubles and health issues have put financial strain on the family and their ability to care for their bobcats, macaques and mountain lion.  Our hosts then head to central Ohio, where lax laws have created a massive exotic animal trade.  They visit a home for big cats whose owner/operator Angela Harter has taken on the responsibility of caring for unwanted tigers, bears, wolves and lions that became bothersome to their owners.  But Angela’s heart is larger than her property and resources.  With vet bills over $100,000, Angela resorts to selling all of her worldly possessions, including her grandmother’s jewelry, to care for these animals.  Alison and Donald check the condition of the animals and offer suggestions to help relieve the Palmers’ and Angela’s overwhelming situations.

Animal Intervention: Dances With Bears
Premieres Tuesday, October 16, 2012, at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT

Alison and Donald travel to Wynnewood, Okla., to meet Joe Schreibvogel, better known as “Joe Exotic.”  Joe has been under the magnifying glass for his practice of taking tiger cubs away from their mothers and allowing the public to interact with them, and for his extensive, often bizarre breeding program. 

Donald and Alison hope they can convince Joe to stop some of the more controversial behavior at his park.  They then visit a Cherokee reservation in North Carolina to get a firsthand look at a controversial “bear zoo.”  One of the most recognized critics is longtime “The Price Is Right” host Bob Barker, a well-documented animal activist.  Bob attempted to visit the Cherokee bear zoo himself to help the bears, but was told he was not welcome on the property.

Animal Intervention: Tigers on the Strip
Premieres Tuesday, October 23, 2012, at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT

Alison and Donald journey to Pahrump, Nev., a remote town where the laws are sparse and the locals prefer to be left alone.  They confront tiger owner Karl Mitchell about his dangerous practice of allowing “VIP” visitors to get up close and personal with his big cats.  However, convincing Karl that he’s doing anything wrong may lead to a volatile situation.  Karl has clearly stated that he’ll shoot anyone who tries to take his animals away.  Lillian Caudill used to run the roadside Faircloth Zoo in Bolivia, N.C., with her husband, but she was forced to close the zoo and relocate the animals.  The rusty, decrepit zoo still has one resident, though: Shadow, a black bear.  Lillian loves Shadow dearly but understands he would be happier in a more natural environment.  Alison, accompanied by fellow actor and animal activist Billy McNamara, arranges for Shadow to be relocated to a local animal sanctuary.

Animal Intervention: Trouble With Bubba
Premieres Tuesday, October 30, 2012, at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT
Alison and Donald make a trek out to the Amish countryside of Ashland, Ohio, to meet Denise Flores, who runs a private rescue for eight big cats.  In the wake of a nationally covered animal incident in nearby Zanesville, Ohio, last October, the state is considering strict laws against owning exotic animals.  Denise is worried about what this will mean for her operation, as she seems intent on keeping her cats.  Alison and Donald then split up, heading to New York and Pennsylvania, respectively.  Kathy Gilbert once had dreams of opening her own zoo, but is facing some serious health problems and feels she can no longer provide the care her animals deserve.  Craig Lavelle fell in love with big cats as a kid at the carnival.  He raised his Bengal tiger Bubba from a cub, envisioning a day he could open his own animal sanctuary.  Unfortunately, Craig too found himself dealing with health problems and is now wrestling with the decision to let Bubba go.

Allison and Donald attempt to rescue wild animals and confront their owners.

A Magician's Wildcats: Kirby the magician shows the cameras his intimate relationship with the big cats in his act.




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