With more than 10,000 animals in their care and over 2.4 million guests welcomed a year, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium and The Wilds have many compelling stories to tell. Wildlife fans will get the opportunity to share in some of these heartwarming and moving adventures on Sunday, July 29, when “Secrets of the Zoo” premieres on Nat Geo WILD. Two one-hour-long episodes will premiere this Sunday at 9 p.m.
Over the course of the last year, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium staff and documentarians at Nat Geo WILD have been working together to share a glimpse into the incredible bonds between caretakers and animals at the zoo.
“Secrets of the Zoo” also focuses on the Columbus Zoo’s incredible conservation work, including an in-depth look at The Wilds, one of the largest conservation centers in North America at 10,000 acres, and home to rare and endangered animals from around the world.
Upcoming episodes feature both heartwarming and heart-pounding stories, including the following:
“Secrets of the Zoo – Stand by Your Manatee”
Premieres at 9 p.m. Sunday, July 29
An orphaned baby manatee is rescued from the wild, and the zoo staff manages to retrieve an important urine sample from a beloved manatee mom. It’s a big new world for the zoo’s newest additions — adorable tiger cubs. A male oryx joins a herd of females, while the zoo staff collects lifesaving blood from a giraffe, and has some fun feeding their hyenas.
“Secrets of the Zoo – Run, Cheetah, Run”
Premieres at 10 p.m. Sunday, July 29
The zoo doctors go into hero mode, attempting to replace a missing bone in a cheetah’s shoulder and rescuing 16 macaws from a hoarding situation. They also perform pregnancy tests on rare mares, give baby polar bear cubs swimming lessons and treat rambunctious — but loveable — flamingos with leg problems.
“Secrets of the Zoo – Kangaroo-mance”
Premieres at 9 p.m. Sunday
Young kangaroo Fergus gets a gut check in the love department while Zuri, an expectant warthog, delivers unexpected results. Baby, a beloved black rat snake, develops a concerning mass, while Mac, the zoo’s oldest silverback gorilla, gets a surprise birthday party.
“Secrets of the Zoo – Rhino-mite!”
Premieres at 9 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 12
At the zoo, a white rhino ultrasound shows surprising results, and a sick guinea fowl becomes an emergency. From Florida to California, the zoo team hits the coasts, returning two rescued manatees to their native waters, and transporting four wild cats to Los Angeles for an appearance on “The Late, Late Show With James Corden.”
“Secrets of the Zoo – Beauties and Beasts”
Premieres at 9 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 19
Baby fever spreads through the zoo as a cheetah repopulation program goes into full effect, a takin has a hitch in his getalong and Jack Hanna cases chaos through the zoo as he prepares to delight a crowd, while the park’s most chill residents get a frozen spaghetti seal treat.
“Secrets of the Zoo – Bringing Up Baby”
Premieres at 9 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 26
The keepers make their morning breakfast rounds at the Heart of Africa exhibit, a young bull elephant has a play date while his expectant mother gets an ultrasound, a rare okapi gets a checkup, a cougar has a concerning abscess and it’s a winter herd roundup at The Wilds.
“More than 175 million Americans visit a zoo every year, but nothing compares to the behind-the-scenes experience we deliver,” said Geoff Daniels, executive vice president and general manager, Nat Geo WILD. “Thanks to the Columbus Zoo and their incredible staff, our audience of animal lovers and their families will get an exclusive golden ticket to witness all the extraordinary work, heartwarming stories and inspiring moments most people never see at a place where the passion and commitment to wildlife has to be seen to be believed!”
More than anything, Secrets of the Zoo places the Columbus Zoo and the Central Ohio community into the national spotlight by showcasing a progressive zoo with a mission to lead and inspire by connecting people and wildlife. The Columbus Zoo team accomplishes this by providing memorable and meaningful on-site experiences, engaging educational programs and inspiring outreach activities, as well as constantly striving to make an even bigger global impact.
“We are proud to have some of the most talented, knowledgeable, dedicated and passionate staff members in the world on our animal care team,” said Columbus Zoo and Aquarium President and CEO Tom Stalf. “The fact that the Columbus Zoo and The Wilds were selected for this show is a true testament to our team as well as our supportive Central Ohio community that has helped to make our Zoo one of the best in the nation. While sharing the true heart behind the care provided to the animals by our team of experts, we are excited that Secrets of the Zoo is also providing us with the opportunity to help us establish that emotional connection between a national audience and these animals so that we can further lead in inspiring people to take action to help protect wildlife and wild places.”