Natural history commission roundup: “Africa Wild Vet” and “Most Endangered Species” format

A trio of companies from around the world – BirdDog Media Ventures, Drive Media Rights and Ahoy Films – are collaborating to produce and distribute the 8 x 60-minute series ...
October 5, 2021

A trio of companies from around the world – BirdDog Media Ventures, Drive Media Rights and Ahoy Films – are collaborating to produce and distribute the 8 x 60-minute series Africa Wild Vet for delivery in the second quarter of 2022.

The series will be shot on location in and around the Greater Kruger National Park, following Dr. Chris Bossie Boshoff and his assistant Yke Osmers as they provide veterinary services in the wild to some of the largest and most dangerous animals on the planet. Their work will range from darting an escaped cheetah, collaring an elephant for research and treating a rhino that has survived a poaching attempt, all in a wildlife preserve the size of New Jersey.

BirdDog Media Ventures principals Clark Bunting and Stephen Ellis are executive producers on the series, with Ahoy Films president Dan Odendaal producing. Drive Media Rights, led by co-managing directors Lilla Hust and Ben Barrett, will source international pre-sales and handle international distribution.

Meanwhile, Finnish production and distribution company Rabbit Films has been commissioned by TVNZ in New Zealand for a local version of its factual format The Most Endangered Species with WWF. The 6 x 60-minute series will be titled New Zealand’s Most Endangered Species and be produced by Warner Bros. International TV Production New Zealand, with the support of NZ On Air. The series is set to premiere on TVNZ 2 and TVNZ OnDemand next year.

The series sees a comedian travel with a scientist to the outermost corners on Earth, to better understand the protection of endangered animals. The series features snow leopards in the Himalayas, Svalbard polar bears and shrinking areas of the orangutan in Borneo.

The New Zealand version of the series will focus on endangered species in New Zealand only, searching for some of the country’s rarest species.

“Warner Bros New Zealand have been incredible partners and have done an amazing job together with TVNZ, WWF and NZ On Air to create this compelling yet entertaining ‘call-to-action’ series,” said Samantha Ferguson, senior sales manager at Rabbit Films, in a statement.

“The series provides easy co-viewing opportunity with the comedic tones which allows audiences to engage in and learn more about environmental issues.”

The format has also been optioned in Canada by BGM Inc, a Sphere Media company. It’s currently working on local adaptations for both English- and French-speaking Canada.

Photo by Katja Rönkkö, World Wildlife Fund

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.