(Washington, DC – March 21, 2013) Nat Geo WILD announced today that it has commissioned Wild Nepal, an epic journey to the other side of the world in partnership with World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and featuring radio and television personality Billy Bush (“Access Hollywood”). Bush will set off halfway around the world, first touring the sprawling city of Kathmandu before hopping onto a two-propeller plane, and then driving several hours toward the world’s tallest grasslands in majestic Chitwan National Park — a World Heritage Site that is home to a host of endangered species, such as rhinos, tigers and elephants.
The special is produced by Market Road Films and executive produced by National Geographic Channels president Howard T. Owens, Billy Bush and Nat Geo WILD senior vice president of development and production Janet Han Vissering, who will accompany Bush on the trip. The announcement was made by Nat Geo WILD executive vice president and general manager Geoff Daniels.
Once in Kathmandu, Bush will spend his first evening immersed in the ancient cultures. The city exhibits in many respects a harmonious blend of humanity and the natural world, yet it is a crossroads for illicit trade in endangered animal parts. From Kathmandu, Bush departs with WWF and government scientists to the frontline of the conservation battle to save endangered Asian one-horned rhinos, which at one point were poached almost to extinction in Nepal but are now recovering thanks to intensive, relentless conservation efforts.
Bush and a team of scientists (along with Owens and Vissering from NGC) will set out on elephant-back to track, dart, collar and release one wild rhinoand then monitor it with cutting-edge technology to better understand the creature’s habits and the resources needed to protect them. He will also explore the many other wildlife species that Nepal has to offer, including royal Bengal tigers, Gharial crocodiles, wild elephants, gaurs, four-horned antelopes, pangolins and golden monitor lizards.
“This will truly be a journey of a lifetime,” says Bush. “The trip to Nepal will be a huge departure from my daily routine in Hollywood, but I am excited to visit such a beautiful place and to come face to face with remarkable creatures that desperately need the world’s help.”
Daniels remarks, “The participation of World Wildlife Fund and especially someone as well known as Billy Bush gives this project the gravitas it needs to shed light not only on the plight of the Asian one-horned rhino, but also on the vast and majestic landscapes of Nepal.”
“Nat Geo WILD is not only the emerging destination for family entertainment, but we are all about unexpected, fearless and awe-inspiring adventures,” adds Owens. “This expedition fits the bill perfectly, and we are truly honored to have Billy lend his name, time and talents to this amazingly important cause.”
The adventure will begin in early April, with an airdate slated for later this year.
Wild Nepal is produced for Nat Geo WILD by Market Road Films. For Market Road Films, executive producer is Tony Gerber. For Nat Geo WILD, executive producers are Owens and Vissering. In addition to appearing in the special, Billy Bush also serves as executive producer.
# # #
About Nat Geo WILD
Experience the best, most intimate encounters with wildlife ever seen on television. Backed by its unparalleled reputation for quality and blue-chip programming, Nat Geo WILD is dedicated to providing a unique insight into the natural world, the environment and the amazing creatures that inhabit it. From the most remote environments, to the forbidding depths of our oceans, to the protected parks on our doorsteps, Nat Geo WILD will use spectacular cinematography and compelling storytelling to take viewers on unforgettable journeys into the wild world. Launched in 2006, Nat Geo WILD is part of National Geographic Channels International (NGCI) and is available in more than 90 countries and 100 million homes. Nat Geo WILD HD launched in the U.K. in March 2009, and is also available in Greece, Latin America, Poland, Spain and Russia. Further expansion is expected globally. For more information, please visit www.natgeotv.com.
Chad Sandhas, National Geographic Channels; 202-912-6537; email@example.com
Greater one-horned rhino. Nepal; © Jeff Foott / WWF-Canon