Wednesday, February 27, 2013

ANIMAL ADVENTURER DONALD SCHULTZ UNDERTAKES GLOBAL MISSION FOR RARE VENOM AND DNA SAMPLES IN WILD RECON

    - Airing every night at 9 pm in March, Animal Planet’s series circles the globe for dangerous missions and potentially life-altering scientific discoveries -
It's one of the most dangerous jobs on the planet, but animal adventurer, adrenaline junkie and venom expert, Donald Schultz is willing to risk his own life to do it. Whether harvesting venom from the fangs of deadly black mamba in South Africa, collecting deadly jelly fish tentacles off the remote coasts of Papua New Guinea, or bringing down a 400-pound wild African lion to get a blood sample, Donald is fearless in the worldwide pursuit of bio-specimens for research and potential new scientific discoveries.
Airing every night at 9 pm in March, Animal Planet’s exciting series Wild Recon will feature adventurer Donald Schultz, who faces some of the Earth's mightiest, deadliest and most fascinating creatures in their natural habitats.
While other children were out playing soccer, nine-year-old Donald was busy catching and handling the deadliest snakes on the planet. Donald Schultz is willing to do a job no one else dares. With support from the world’s top veterinarians and animal researchers, he travels to remote and jeopardous locales to collect venom and rare DNA critical to cataloguing species and research that will one day save countless lives.
Whether harvesting venom from deadly black mambas in Mozambique, collecting lethal jellyfish tentacles off the remote coasts of Australia, chasing and relocating charging elephants in Sri Lanka, or bringing down a 600-pound wild African lion to get a blood sample in South Africa, Donald is fearless in the worldwide pursuit of bio-specimens for research and potential new scientific discoveries that he hopes will save lives. As Donald himself says, “This is not a stunt; this is my job.”
“The work I do on Wild Recon is literally my life’s work,” adds Donald. “I’ve been going on these adventurous missions for years and now the series spotlights the jeopardy that I enjoy in collecting these samples on behalf of the research community. I’ve dedicated my entire life to working with animals.”
Born and raised in South Africa, Donald was the youngest person ever to give venomous snake demonstrations at the world-famous Fitzsimons Snake Park. But catching, caring for and studying snakes were not enough. Now, Donald travels the globe tracking down dangerous creatures, all in the name of science. He uses his animal acumen and taste for adrenaline for a greater cause, risking his own life for research that may one day save the lives of animals and humans.
Hiking through thick jungle undergrowth, diving to depths of hundreds of feet to sample shark species or skydiving into hard-to-get-to habitats, Donald stops at nothing to complete his mission. In addition, his missions are a race against the clock as he must get his fragile samples out of the field and into the lab for the next stage of work to commence. With Donald's help, researchers will hopefully unlock the mysteries of animal DNA, identify the blueprint for undiscovered anti-venom or even one day find a cure for a life-threatening disease.
Donald works closely with researchers at zoos, universities, laboratories, pharmaceutical companies and especially local governments and communities to assess their needs and identify what research could be critical to their ongoing studies.

 Episode Description:
Alien Invasion
Animal adventurer Donald goes Down Under to Australia, home to some of the most venomous creatures on the planet. His mission is to find animals threatened with extinction by an unassuming toxic invader: the Cane Toad. He starts in the rugged bush, and when he finds his reptile targets, he takes venom and DNA samples from each one, in hopes of preserving these magnificent animals for future generations. Donald then journeys to Southern Australia, where he tackles a thrashing emu that weighs as much as he does. His challenge is to avoid the flightless bird’s razor-sharp talons long enough to get a blood sample for researchers. Finally, when night falls, he heads into the deadly waters off Queensland for his most dangerous mission of all: to grab rare, venomous sea snakes from a moving boat… by hand.
Rampage
Donald literally descends upon the Southeast Asian country of Sri Lanka in the aftermath of a brutal civil war – he becomes the only civilian to skydive into the nation in two decades. Production of antivenin has taken a back seat in this war-torn country, and, as a result, more than 1,200 of its people are dying each year from snakebites. Donald’s mission is a dangerous but lifesaving one: capture three of Sri Lanka’s deadliest snakes – the Spectacled Cobra, the Krait and the Russell’s Viper – and milk their venom so researchers can create antivenin. Donald then treks into the lowland forest in search of one of his favourite animals – the Slender Loris, a tiny primate with a bizarre toxic defense. Before his Sri Lanka mission is complete, Donald joins forces with dozens of men to find and relocate a rampaging rogue elephant that is terrorising local villagers.
Bounty Hunter
On this mission, animal adventurer Donald travels to the exotic nation of Belize, nestled between Mexico and Guatemala on the Caribbean coast of Central America. He sets out on a dramatic search for deadly animals that are the targets of poachers, like crocodiles, sharks and rays. His goal is to collect blood and tissue samples needed for research before these endangered animals disappear. He heads into the dense rain forest canopy to track down the loudest animal in the world – the Howler Monkey – a critically endangered primate that is falling prey to poachers. While there, Donald stumbles on his least favourite creature – a Tarantula spider that is nearly as big as his hand. In an unusual “milking” procedure, Donald anesthetizes the spider, then uses a tiny electric shock to draw its rare and understudied venom.
Border War
Animal adventurer Donald returns to his home country of South Africa for a new mission and to take stock on what his country has done to pave the way for aggressive conservation efforts. There, he is tasked with tracking down and extracting blood samples from a regal cheetah and two massive rhinos, and hand-capturing the fastest-striking snake in Africa, the Gaboon Viper. Along the way, he sees the effects of human intrusion on animal habitats – and the potential for disastrous encounters.
Bitten
Animal adventurer Donald Schultz is on a mission in Australia to collect samples from some of the most venomous creatures on Earth, including the deadly taipan and stonefish. His mission is jeopardized when he gets too close to one snake and is bitten, far from any medical help.
Desert Venom
Animal adventurer Donald Schultz journeys to one of the world's toughest environments: the deserts of Jordan. His mission in this unforgiving terrain is to track down and collect samples from animals that have adapted to life in this harsh landscape — deadly snakes, venomous lizards, camel spiders and hyenas. The samples Donald collects may hold secrets that could one day benefit people.
Lost Worlds
Adrenaline junkie Donald Schultz travels through Mozambique, South Africa and Tanzania. His mission: track down and collect biological samples from East Africa's biggest animals, including an elephant, a bull shark and a flying fox bat, then explore Pemba, a remote Tanzanian island with a history of black magic and forests that have never been scientifically chartered.
Hidden Cures
Adventurer Donald Schultz travels to ground zero for biodiversity — the rainforests of Costa Rica. His mission: find and extract toxin, blood and venom samples that may hold keys to human pharmaceutical breakthroughs from a range of animals, including poison dart frogs, a three-toed sloth and a newly discovered species of sea snake.
Moving Target
Animal adventurer Donald Schultz travels to the mountainous kingdom of Swaziland in search of a snake that has eluded him all his life, the berg adder. As he crisscrosses the country in search of this biological holy grail, Donald will come face to face with a deadly black mamba, tackle a giraffe and examine a lion for a disease which threatens to wipe out the local population — anthrax.
Ocean Killers
With shark populations plummeting across the globe, scientists are in a race against time to save these fearsome predators from extinction. Animal adventurer Donald Schultz travels to the Bahamas, Florida and California to obtain tissues samples from highly endangered hammerhead populations, elusive reef sharks and a menacing bull shark.
About Animal Planet
Animal Planet is the world’s only brand that immerses viewers in emotional, engaging and passionate content devoted to animals – from wildlife to pets. Animal Planet connects humans and animals with rich, deep content and offers animal lovers access to entertainment, information and enrichment via multiple platforms including television, online and merchandising extensions. Animal Planet is available to 369 million cumulative subscribers worldwide. Animal Planet launched in Asia-Pacific in 1998 and is currently distributed to more than 169 million subscribers in 31 countries and territories in the region. For more information, visit Animal Planet at www.asia.discovery.com.
About Discovery Communications
Discovery Communications (Nasdaq: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK) is the world's #1 nonfiction media company reaching more than 1.8 billion cumulative subscribers in 217 countries and territories. Discovery is dedicated to satisfying curiosity through 153 worldwide television networks, led by Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, Science and Investigation Discovery, as well as U.S. joint venture networks OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network, The Hub and 3net, the first 24-hour 3D network. Discovery also is a leading provider of educational products and services to schools and owns and operates a diversified portfolio of digital media services, including HowStuffWorks.com. In Asia-Pacific, eight Discovery brands reach 565 million cumulative subscribers in 35 countries with programming customised in 15 languages and dialects.