ANIMAL ADVENTURER DONALD SCHULTZ UNDERTAKES GLOBAL MISSION FOR RARE VENOM AND DNA SAMPLES IN "WILD RECON"
New Animal Planet Series Circles the Globe for Dangerous Missions and Potentially Life-Altering Scientific Discoveries
(New York, New York, November 20, 2009) - While other children were out playing soccer, nine year-old Donald Schultz was busy catching and handling the deadliest snakes on the planet. 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.
Premiering on Tuesday, January 5, 2010 at 9 PM (ET/PT), Animal Planet launches WILD RECON, a 10-part series featuring Donald, world adventurer, animal expert and adrenaline junkie willing to do a job no one else dares to do. With support from the world's top veterinarians and animal researchers, Donald 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 jelly fish 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."
"WILD RECON is a thrill ride of a show - full of heart-pounding, risk-taking adventure in each episode," says Marjorie Kaplan, president and general manager of Animal Planet Media. "Donald will say you haven't lived until you've leapt from a helicopter or clung to a cliff-face in search of a completely elusive and deadly creature. Our audience may not have that opportunity every day, but they can watch WILD RECON and hang out with this terrific, down-to-earth and dedicated guy who does."
"The work I do on WILD RECON is literally my life's work," adds Schultz. "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."
Each episode of WILD RECON sends Donald to an exotic locale where Donald faces some of earth's mightiest, deadliest and most fascinating creatures in their natural habitats. Hiking through thick jungle undergrowth, diving depths of hundreds of feet to sample sharks species or skydiving into hard-to-get-to habitats, Donald stops at nothing to complete his mission. His missions have an air of urgency as it's a race against the clock to 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.
WILD RECON is produced for Animal Planet by Gurney Productions. Scott and Deirdre Gurney are the executive producers for Gurney, and Lisa Lucas is the executive producer for Animal Planet. Marc Etkind is the vice president of development for Animal Planet.
Animal Planet Media (APM), a multi-media business unit of Discovery Communications, is the world's only entertainment brand that immerses viewers in the full range of life in the animal kingdom with rich, deep content via multiple platforms and offers animal lovers and pet owners access to a centralized online, television and mobile community for immersive, engaging, high-quality entertainment, information and enrichment. APM consists of the Animal Planet television network, available in more than 96 million homes in the US; online assets www.animalplanet.com, the ultimate online destination for all things animal; the 24/7 broadband channel, Animal Planet Beyond; Petfinder.com, the #1 pet-related Web property globally that facilitates pet adoption; PetsIncredible and other media platforms including a robust Video-on-Demand (VOD) service; mobile content; and merchandising extensions.