Matt Damon may have “Bought a Zoo” on the big-screen in 2011 — but Jack Hanna actually lives in one.
The man affectionately referred to as “Jungle” Jack resides in the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, where Hannah works as director emeritus. New Nat Geo Wild series “Zoo Life” will show viewers exactly how that works with a behind-the-scenes tour coming this June — and TheWrap‘s got your first look at how all that will look.
“I’ve traveled all over the world and seen the most amazing animals, but nothing compares to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium,” said Hanna. “‘Zoo Life’ has filmed things here that I haven’t seen in 40 years of television. Prepare to be amazed.”
“Zoo Life” showcases the bonds between caretakers and animals — like when a flamingo gives her caretaker a hug and does a “happy dance” whenever she sees her, per the National Geographic-owned cable channel. There are other surprising moments, too: Fans will learn that the zoo uses dogs as companion animals and has the only giraffe blood bank in the country. Later, emergencies force the staff to drop everything to rescue 16 parrots, and two manatees are returned to the wild after rehabilitation at the zoo.
“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!”
“Zoo Life” is produced by Spectrum Productions for Nat Geo Wild. For Spectrum Productions, executive producer is Guy Nickerson and Elaine Pugliese. For Nat Geo Wild, executive producer is Ashley Hoppin; senior vice president of development and production is Janet Han Vissering.
Watch the “Zoo Life” trailer, which is exclusive to TheWrap, above.