Hippo Arrival

blog post photo

© JWM Productions

For more than two decades the DeYoung Family Zoo in Wallace, Michigan has been home to animals from across the globe. The owners of the zoo, Bud and Carrie, work hard to not only display exotic creatures, but also care for the region’s neglected and abused animals – a massive and never-ending responsibility.

The DeYoung Family Zoo is about to undertake the biggest project of its history – bringing in its first hippopotamus! Wallace is an eighteen month old hippo born in a zoo in Jakarta, Indonesia. And since they’re out of space, Wallace is headed off for the growing DeYoung Family Zoo. But what’s it take to construct a new exotic animal exhibit in northern Michigan?

Stress is high, time is running out and a slew of things threaten to interfere with this huge undertaking. Wallace the hippo is due to touch down at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport in just two days, and he’s scheduled to be the star attraction on Memorial Day Weekend. But will the DeYoung Family Zoo have everything ready in time?

Hippos are enormous creatures, spending up to 16 hours per day submerged in water. While a hippo calf can tip the scales at 100 pounds at birth, an adult can weigh up to 8,000 pounds and consume some 80 pounds of food per day.

Find out what happens with Wallace and follow the DeYoung Family Zoo’s daily adventures on the premiere of My Life is a Zoo: Show Me the Hippo TONIGHT at 10 PM et/pt on Nat Geo Wild!


  1. debalbe
    January 24, 2011, 8:23 pm

    What a shame that NatGeo Wild has chosen to highlight as yet another pseudosanctary rather than really making a stand for the animals and doing a program on a true bonafide sanctuary.

  2. sandiyoung
    January 24, 2011, 9:02 pm

    debalbe.. Have you ever been there? These people love each and every one of the animals as if they were their children, with the respect that they are wild animals… What Bud and Carrie are doing is great… I personally would like to thank them for giving us the opportunity to learn about and view these animals, thank you!

  3. CatLady42
    January 25, 2011, 12:17 am

    No matter now "nice" their cages may be, Bud & Carrie BREED at their facility. If they want to Rescue animals, that’s one thing, but Breeding for life in cages, when so many other legitimate sanctuaries are already at max capacity, is just wrong. But, people LOVE cubs and baby animals. People will PAY to hold and have their pictures taken with baby animals. For YEARS, Bud & Carrie have charged admission to have the public’s photos taken with tiger cubs or monkey babies.
    To me, this is just WRONG.
    PLUS, to ship a hippo in a crate from Indonesia, imagine the psychological stress the poor animal must be under, all because they wanted to won a hippo? How selfish!

  4. relyinsh
    January 25, 2011, 1:12 am

    I have never been charged for a picture at the zoo. Bud and Carrie have taken in many injured and orphaned animals and nurtured them. They also support organizations that are working to introduce big cats back into the wild. They have their own animal shelter called Piper’s Place where they house many dogs, cats, horses, rabbits…. all for the purpose of keeping them alive and getting them good homes. Their cause is to help animals and give them a happy place to live. If you have visited you see active animals that love their owners. Not animals that pace back and forth of boredom and unhappiness. Everything they do is for the love of the animals. Nat Geo Wild picked a very noble and caring zoo to promote. Bud and Carrie are great zookeepers, all of those animals are their pets and greatly loved by them.

  5. relyinsh
    January 25, 2011, 1:23 am

    Bud and Carrie are definitely not in it for the money, if that is what you’re trying to say. Obviously you don’t know them or what goes on at the zoo. Maybe you should watch the show and get educated on the zoo and their cause.

  6. CatLady42
    January 25, 2011, 1:57 am

    I’m not arguing with you, relyinsh, that they feel "love" for their animals. I’m sure they do, much like an animal hoarder feels ‘love’ for 100+ cats and dogs in a 2 bedroom apartment.
    I’m saying that with SO many animals who NEED sanctuary, they’re Creating More, by BREEDING, and I do Not feel that is justified.. all for the sake, of WANTING baby animals to Love??
    On the loving of their animals, they were cited last year, by the USDA for Not having an enrichment plan in place for their primates. Primates, who are Very social animals develop serious psychological problems without sufficient enrichment, apparently had NO enrichment plan.
    With Over 400 animals, and only 2 caretakers, how are we supposed to believe they are spending enough time with every animal each day to provide sufficient care??

  7. scrappy6230
    January 25, 2011, 3:57 am

    I have taken my family to the DeYoung Family Zoo many times and I feel that what Bud and Carrie do is a very great thing. My children love this zoo and we travel a long way to go to the zoo. Carrie and Bud keep up what you do and we will see you every year. We love you!!

  8. one_Disturbed_dude
    January 25, 2011, 5:35 am

    I like the show. Buddy and Carrie are awesome!! Everybody should care about the welfare of animals the way they do! I for one am looking forward to next week, and hopefully forward to another season!

  9. animalluv
    January 25, 2011, 7:20 am

    FYI, I work at this park along with a great group of people. Bud and Carrie are the main people but we all work just as hard. As for the primate thing, YES we do have enrichment programs for primates and other animals also! The new program was just put into effect, this issue was that the vet had read it through but had not signed it yet. It even states in the report that there is a program in place. If you would read the whole thing not just what parts you want to read! Bud and Carrie are my Idols and have amazing hearts for animals and people! I Love My Life is a ZOO and I want to see more 🙂

  10. animalluv
    January 25, 2011, 7:23 am

    FYI, I work at this park along with a great group of people. Bud and Carrie are the main people but we all work just as hard. As for the primate thing, YES we do have enrichment programs for primates and other animals also! The new program was just put into effect, this issue was that the vet had read it through but had not signed it yet. It even states in the report that there is a program in place. If you would read the whole thing not just what parts you want to read! Bud and Carrie are my Idols and have amazing hearts for animals and people! I Love My Life is a ZOO and I want to see more 🙂

  11. AnimalAdvocate
    January 25, 2011, 2:31 pm

    Any organization that allows the public to have physical interaction with baby animals is simply fueling the "pay for play" industry.
    Once the USDA or local regulations prohibit such interaction, either due to the size or age of the animals, these magnificent creatures simply become part of the $2 Billion Dollar exotic animal trade in the United States, estimated to be more than $20 Billion Dollars worldwide.
    You pay via your wallet, they pay with their lives.

  12. AnimalAdvocate
    January 25, 2011, 2:32 pm

    Any organization that allows the public to have physical interaction with baby animals is simply fueling the "pay for play" industry.
    Once the USDA or local regulations prohibit such interaction, either due to the size or age of the animals, these magnificent creatures simply become part of the $2 Billion Dollar exotic animal trade in the United States, estimated to be more than $20 Billion Dollars worldwide.
    You pay via your wallet, they pay with their lives.

  13. AnimalAdvocate
    January 25, 2011, 2:39 pm

    Any organization that allows the public to have physical interaction with baby animals is simply fueling the "pay for play" industry.
    Once the USDA or local regulations prohibit such interaction, either due to the size or age of the animals, these magnificent creatures simply become part of the $2 Billion Dollar exotic animal trade in the United States, estimated to be more than $20 Billion Dollars worldwide.
    You pay via your wallet, they pay with their lives.

  14. joeexotic
    January 25, 2011, 3:19 pm

    Animaladovacte- Just stand up and say your name Carole Baskin— You are the biggest FRAUD out there and Bud and Carrie do this cause they love animals. First of all you don’t have a clue what your complaining about, they are not non profit and they are not a sanctuary, they are the D-YOUNG Family Zoo. (ZOO) do you understand what the word means. Not a sanctuary or a place of fraud like yours….Its time to get a life or I will have to make a nother trip to Florida except this time to meet you face to face. We are tired of your crap, lies and propaganda. If anyone cares to see the real facts about BCR and Carole Baskin go to MY WEBSITE http://www.911animalabuse.org and see what the COW is really all about. Do BUD and Carrie a favor, spread that website around as much as you can. We love ya guys, great show.

  15. joeexotic
    January 25, 2011, 3:24 pm

    Now everyone keep in mind this is coming from a lady who charges $25.00 per person to see cats that were bought and not rescued. and to get a tour by her is $1000.00 each. now lets talk about who is exploiting animals. I have been to both places and Carole you dont have anything better than them. IN FACT if people watch the video of your place on http://www.911animalabuse.org you will see your place is a dump. You were just lucky enough not (yet) to get caught killing your husband for insurance money…..

  16. candacerankin
    January 25, 2011, 3:36 pm

    Lets see I am a huge fan or Joe Exotic I have seen those animals and the way he loves and care for them…He has given his whole life to those animals and inspires little children too..I found some things on Mrs. Carole Baskin that i should share with the world
    The big cat fight

    Activism, accusations lurk behind a pet project

    By LEONORA LaPETER ANTON, Times Staff Writer

    Published November 11, 2007

    TAMPA – Carole Baskin would like to forget that she once bred exotic big cats and sold them as house pets.

    She would like everyone else to forget that her husband disappeared mysteriously 10 years ago, leaving her a rich woman.

    She would rather that everyone thought of her the way she sees herself: a crusader for animal rights who believes no one should own a wild cat. Not a zoo. Not a sanctuary. Not even herself

    But to many who live and breathe exotic animals, Baskin is a hypocrite.

    They point out that her own 40-acre Big Cat Rescue sanctuary in Hillsborough County has 137 tigers, lions, leopards, lynx and other big cats. Her own "private collection," they call it.

    They heckle her at state wildlife meetings. They picket her fundraising Fur Balls. And they speculate on what happened to her late husband, Don Lewis, calling police with tips.

    "Did you feed him to the tigers?" someone once asked Baskin at the grocery store. Her own stepdaughter wanted police to test the meat grinder at the sanctuary for her missing father’s DNA.

    Baskin says she has no idea what happened to Lewis and she had nothing to do with it. She is simply focused on her mission to outlaw private ownership of big cats and arrive at a day when there is no longer a need to shelter them. A day when Big Cat Rescue closes.

    "That’s our ultimate goal: to put ourselves out of business," she says. For now, her sanctuary for big cats remains one of the largest in Florida. e_SClBBaskin glides quietly between the steel enclosures at her overgrown sanctuary, nodding at the tigers and lions, cougars and leopards that lounge or pace around. Today she keeps her distance. No more "Mommy loves you," at least not out loud. No more bobcats in her bed.

    Instead, she compiles statistics on big cat attacks and writes legislators. She firmly believes that exotic cats should be left to either wax or wane in the wild. People who think they’re preserving the species in captivity (as she once did) are fooling themselves, she says.

    "What drives a lot of these people to have these sanctuaries and pseudosanctuaries and backyard collections is that they love being around that kind of animal," Baskin says, dressed in cheetah print.

    Her opinions and actions have inflamed many who love, breed, rescue and rehabilitate exotic animals in Florida. Some have sent out anonymous packets with letters and testimonials, to show Big Cat Rescue is simply a private collection masquerading as a rescue. They sign it "Crusaders for Animals."

    The animosity rea

  17. candacerankin
    January 25, 2011, 3:39 pm

    Page two…The animosity reached a peak this year after Baskin helped get a liability law passed that would require owners of tigers, chimps and other exotic animals to get insurance in case of injuries.

    Baskin also took it upon herself recently to send letters to more than 1,500 people around the state informing them that they live next door to an exotic animal even though state wildlife officials decided against doing so.

    The dispute is largely playing out on the Internet and YouTube. Baskin has compiled a wall of shame of animal owners, complete with names, dates and actions on her Big Cat Rescue Web site. Exotic animal owners fight back on other Web sites.

    Vernon Yates, a man who has about 200 exotic animals in Seminole, has clashed with her repeatedly, even calling her "A.K.A. The Liar" on his own wildlife rescue Web site.

    But Baskin says she’s not intimidated.

    "It isn’t about me or any other individual," she wrote in an e-mail. "It is the collective conscious of society that is evolving in such a way that keeping wild animals captive will soon be a thing of the past."

    Exotic animal owners say they are trying to expose her heavy-handed fundraising, and what they say is her true intent: to be the only game in town.

    Judy Watson, former education director at Big Cat Rescue, says Baskin tells less-than-truthful stories about how she rescued some of her cats from the pet trade or abuse. Sometimes Baskin bred or bought the cats herself, Watson says.

    One example is Shere Khan, an 800-pound Siberian tiger that was undernourished and stuck in a cage up to its belly in feces when it was rescued, according to the Big Cat Rescue Web site.

    But the man who sold Shere Khan to Baskin in 1994 says the tiger had the run of his house in Flat Rock, Ind., even sleeping with a pillow and comforter in the living room.

    "That’s baloney," says Dennis Hill, 50, who said he sold the tiger to Baskin for $800. "She uses this creative writing and plays on people’s heartstrings. That situation never existed."

    Baskin says the stories on her Web site are all true and Hill gave her Shere Khan in that condition. But she admits that some of the animals she claims to have rescued were actually her pets. But she says she has changed.

    Her supporters say she has worked tirelessly to make people aware that owning big cats is misguided.

    "She has been a pioneer in changing people’s ways of viewing the animals from cute and cuddly balls of fur, to something they are going to be responsible for 20 to 25 years," says Jennifer Ruszczyk, 33, a Big Cat volunteer.

    – – –

    All the controversy has made Baskin cautious. In person, she is quiet yet passionate, guarded yet pointed. She’ll talk about her purpose, but not her past.

    She does write about it though. Her 12,000-page Web site is sprinkled with colorful stories about her childhood, the men in her life, her effort to lose weight and her infatuation with "The Se

  18. candacerankin
    January 25, 2011, 3:40 pm

    Page three infatuation with "The Secret," a belief that positive thinking can create results. There’s even a video of her reading Wallace Wattles’ The Science of Getting Rich.

    Baskin says she left her Tampa home at 15 and took up with an older man, an abusive drunk. Met another man where she worked as a bookkeeper. Married him at 17, had a baby girl at 19.

    And then there she was walking along a Tampa road barefoot, trying to subdue her anger. It was 1980. She had just thrown a potato at her husband. Her baby was 6 months old. And Lewis drove by. He was in his 40s with a wife, young children. She was 19 and beautiful in the way that Suzanne Somers is beautiful.

    He stopped the car. She got in.I fell in love with him immediately," she says, smiling.

    Baskin tried not to talk about Lewis, but inevitably he slipped into the conversation.

    The two carried on an affair for a decade before Lewis’ wife divorced him. Though he had made millions in trucking and foreclosures, he gave Baskin a $14 engagement ring from a pawnshop.

    "He looked like someone who basically came home from a 50-hour workweek on a road crew," recalled James Moore, Lewis’ friend and a former volunteer at the sanctuary. "He Dumpster dove. You looked at him and you wanted to hand him money."

    Lewis and Baskin both loved animals even before they met. Lewis had owned swans and geese, raccoons, even prairie dogs. Baskin had bred Himalayan show cats, amassing a wall of ribbons and plaques.

    Together, they got their first pet bobcat, Windsong, at an animal auction in 1992. One wasn’t enough. The way Baskin tells it, the couple found themselves at a Minnesota fur farm staring at 56 bobcat kittens in cages matted with fur and feces. They brought the cats back to a 40-acre parcel on Easy Street in northwest Hillsborough County. They had gotten the land in a foreclosure.

    They called their new place Wildlife on Easy Street.

    – – –

    Trouble began to surface once the exotic cats came along. The couple’s relationship appeared to suffer, kind of like parents who fight about how to raise their kids.

    Baskin wanted to change their mission from breeding and selling exotic cats to rescuing them.

    Lewis didn’t.

    By 1996, Lewis wanted to move the operation to a 200-acre farm he owned in Costa Rica. His wife didn’t.

    Lewis told Anne McQueen, his assistant of 18 years, that he wanted a divorce. A year later, he walked into the Hillsborough courthouse and asked for a domestic violence injunction against his wife.

    "Me and Carole got in a big fuss, she ordered me out of the house or she would kill me," Lewis wrote in court documents. "She has a .45 (caliber) revolver and she took my .357 and hid it."

  19. candacerankin
    January 25, 2011, 3:41 pm

    page four keep reading you need to know this….A judge said there was "no immediate threat of violence" and denied the request.

    The last time McQueen saw Lewis, he had argued with his wife and slept in a semitrailer on the property.

    "Don did not leave of his own free will," says McQueen, 53, who lives in Tampa. "He loved his money more than anybody, and he would have never left his money."

    In August 1997, police found Lewis’ van at a Pasco County airport with the keys on the floorboard. He was known to fly out of the country frequently, so police first thought he had just taken a trip. But as the months passed with no sign of Lewis, police flew to Costa Rica, chasing possible sightings. They also searched the wildlife sanctuary in Hillsborough.

    Police found no sign of him.

    Lewis never touched his $6-million estate again – but his family fought over it. Baskin had documents showing he left her in charge of his estate. Lewis’ children were mostly left out of the will except for a previously agreed upon trust.

    In 2002, five years after he disappeared, a court declared Lewis dead. Most of his estate went to Baskin.

    – – –

    In 2004, Baskin walked down the beach on Anna Maria Island toward a man dressed like a caveman. She hit him over the head with a plastic bat. He threw her over his shoulder. They exchanged vows in the surf.

    The man was Howard Baskin, a semiretired banker with an MBA from Harvard Business School and a law degree.

    He has brought a corporate mind-set to Big Cat Rescue, now a $1-million operation with dozens of volunteers. He had the sanctuary’s name changed to Big Cat Rescue because Wildlife on Easy Street sounded like a bar. And he brought in corporate sponsors, including a Washington lobbyist.

    Big Cat Rescue’s annual Fur Ball gala raised $120,000 last month – twice what it did the year before.

    The nonprofit sanctuary charges $25 a person for tours. Last year, more than 26,000 people visited and for the first time it turned a profit, of $500,000.

    The Baskins plan to use the money to build a wall around Big Cat Rescue since the sanctuary is surrounded by a major mall, a soon-to-be condo development and Veterans Expressway.

    But they say the wall likely will not fend off the attacks from other exotic animal owners intent on using Carole Baskin’s past against her.

    "What will carry her … is her passion for her mission and understanding that her role unfortunately includes being the subject of these attacks," Howard Baskin wrote in an e-mail.

  20. candacerankin
    January 25, 2011, 3:42 pm

    Last page
    At the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, Detective Chris Fox skims through two volumes on Lewis’ disappearance.

    It remains a cold case.

    Fox says Lewis’ trips to Latin America "gave him a very exotic image and opened him up to rumors and questions about everything from drug smuggling and animal smuggling to money laundering and who knows what else. Add in a contentious relationship with his wife."

    There have been no tips in the case for years – except one in 2005. It came, Fox says, from another exotic animal owner. A former sanctuary volunteer was now saying she had not witnessed Lewis’ will.

    Susan Aronoff Bradshaw said that after Lewis disappeared, Carole Baskin asked her to testify that she was there for the will signing when she was not.

    Bradshaw, an exotic animal owner in Plant City, said she feared angering Baskin. "Carole’s made a big name for herself and I’m a big nobody," Bradshaw said recently.

    Fox believes she is telling the truth, but the statute of limitations on the possible perjury has passed. It is also not enough to focus the investigation back on Baskin or Big Cat Rescue.

    But Fox is aware of the controversy swirling around Baskin.

    "The only inquiries I have received on this case in the past year," he said, "are from people who are business adversaries of Carole Baskin and who hope she will be discovered to be responsible for his disappearance."


  21. tigerguardian
    January 25, 2011, 3:45 pm

    I think this program is extremely interesting. I am a wildlife biologist. I have worked with Tigers in India, wildlife in Africa and ocelots in Central America. I have been a zookeeper and I have spent years volunteering at a variety of rescue centers. I feel this program shows what is involved with animal care which is something that many people take for granted. Having worked with Nat Geo in the past, I enjoy your wide variety of wildlife programing showing different issues facing animals and those that work with them.

    Please keep up the good work Nat Geo. The majority of us support your network and programming and we feel that a minority of extremists can not dictate what the rest of us what television programs and people we choose to support.

  22. candacerankin
    January 25, 2011, 3:50 pm

    Hey! Another thing if you go to http://www.bigcatrescue.com and go to the animals if you click on cheetahs look at them, then open another internet explorer go to Bing.com and type in pictures of cheetahs in the wild and hit search the same pictures come up as Carole Baskin has on her page those arent her animals she just took pictures from someone else…now tell me what kind of CRAP is that…have you seen Joe Exotic’s page have you seen how healthy and well cared for those animals are have you seen how beautiful his web page is, have you seen the virtual 3d tour and how beautiful the park is…open your eyes you people are targeting the wrong person/

  23. chufflover
    January 25, 2011, 4:17 pm

    I have worked in this industry for 10 years and I applaud the DeYoung family for their incredible love and dedication. BCR could learn a lot from them and Joe. I have been to BCR and its a dump. There is a lot of wrong going on. Had that facility belonged to another individual, it would have been closed a long time ago. She is trash. A no hoof hypocritical low life activist. I absolutely love this series and I think its about time the public sees what really goes in to giving these animals the life they deserve! Good job Nat Geo!

  24. knoxbanfield
    January 25, 2011, 4:21 pm

    This is a great show. It shows what people with true compassion for animals do. I visited BCR, and it was a dump. I could not believe how disgusting the enclosures were. Overgrown with poop everywhere. It’s apparent that BCR’s goal is not animal welfare, but dominance. The DeYoung Family represents the national treasure of people who care about the animals, and do something for education and conservation.

  25. zookeeper2
    January 25, 2011, 4:31 pm

    I enjoy the show for what it is. A show. I am a keeper at a private owned zoo. I know first hand the hardships and the rewards. I do have a few point for the De Youngs.

    First, NEVER EVER should you be going into an enclosure with a full grown wild animal. I have raised MANY cubs and no matter how much hands on you have had, you can’t take the wild out of them. You will be the reason that the gov’t ends up coming down on the rest of us.

    Second, shame on you for letting the world think that you do this all on your own. I know for a fact that you have a multitude of volunteers and a group that comes every year to spend their "vacation" wk doing nothing but cleaning for you. Give them their due.

    Third, I applaud that you are giving these animals a home. They all look healthy and happy. But please make this more about the animals and less about getting your (Carrie) faces on TV.

  26. adriennen
    January 25, 2011, 5:31 pm

    Bud and carrie are awesome! I love the show and they do NOT promote breeding … As a matter of fact they rescue TONS of animals from local shelters and people that they get spayed/neutered and Utd on shots Right away!(money out of there own POCKETS!) They are responsible and caring people … Thank you deyoung zoo for all you do for the community ..Keep up the awesome work and I am glad to know you !

  27. joeexotic
    January 25, 2011, 7:05 pm

    The thing is who cares if they breed as long as the animals are cared for, and trust me I have been there many times and the animals are cared for. If Carole or anyone else that has problems with anything they should turn on the news and read newspapers, The Tigers and other animals are in trouble in the wild and breeding in captivity is their only hope. Nat Geo did an awsome job making a great show. People in America still have a right to do what they want as long as no laws are broke. Carole likes to put up that all it takes is $40.00 and a USDA license but she fails to say that is all she has. LOL Keep it up Bud and Carrie, setting by the fire eatting supper with ya is still the best thing in my life. Love you ya all

  28. JustAThought
    January 25, 2011, 7:28 pm

    ANYONE who thinks that Buddy and Carrie are not putting thier animals first are crazy and have no idea what they are talking about. I challenge all of the critics to spend some time at the zoo, get to know the people involved. debalbe, I am sorry is the name of the show, My Life is a sanctuary? Pretty sure it was clear that they run a Zoo. Pipers Place came about do to the overwhelming number of animals that were in need of care and left to die or tied to the fence with a note saying "feed to the tigers" and Bud and Carries enormous heart and inability to say no to any animal that needs help! Get your facts straight before you criticize. CatLady42, I have no idea who you are or about your story, nor do I care, but I dare say you have never been to the zoo and know nothing about it because I have never been charged for anything other than admission, and corn for the petting zoo area (even then a bucket that will last the whole day is $5). I have been to the zoo on business (6 years of school trips) and pleasure, (my family loves this place), and never once have I seen a person charged for a picture or to interact with the animals. If anything Bud and Carrie will give the shirt off their backs to make sure you have a great experience. They are some of the most wonderful and caring people I have met, and they run an amazing zoo that is like no other on earth. To those who question thier loyality and love of animals….Bud charged a Tiger to save a chicken on the show last night and Carrie and her awesome team spent hours in a cat hoarders sealed up house, in the summer heat, tryng to save 13 house cats after their owner passed away. Really, how can anyone say they don’t love and devote thier life to animals???!!! Anyways the show is great, I LOVE it and cant wait to see more. My one complaint is all of my family and friends are already asking to stay at my house just to go to the Deyoung Family Zoo!

  29. chufflover
    January 25, 2011, 8:04 pm

    Zookeeper2…. first off there is nothing wrong with having a full contact relationship with your animals. If you have the training and know how to read their behavior, its our choice to do so. Not every keeper can handle full contact, nor does every keeper want it. It’s not hard to feed animals threw cages, but full contact and training separates a lot of people in that sense. We know exactly what were getting ourselves into and take that responsibility. But there is nothing wrong with that!

    Second in the first episode they state that they appreciate everything they receive and what’s donated. Clearly you can see tons of people helping them so no one thinks their doing this alone! NO facility could service without dedicated volunteers!

  30. tigerguardian
    January 25, 2011, 8:19 pm

    The variety of wildlife and animal oriented programs on this network and those of its competitor shows the many different aspects of animal care and conservation. People have different ways of doing things that work best for them. I am involved with a wildlife rescue/rehab facility and I have seen first hand that a lot of people want to stick their two-cents in because the way one person does things may be very different from the way another person does things.

    One of the first rescue centers I volunteered at used to move their tigers around on leashes. That was the first time I saw this and thought it was strange. When the staff explained that their facility was in an area that was plagued by hurricane’s and they needed this type of contact with their animals in order to safely move them at a moments notice. This is an example of a practice that works for one facility but may not work for another.

    I do not believe anyone has the right to force their views on others nor do they have the right to try and bully other facilities or networks that support programs such as this one because it differs from someone else’s views.

  31. AnnaFitzgeraldPancaldo
    January 25, 2011, 10:54 pm

    I was thrilled to watch this show! The compassion shown by Bud and Carrie was truly refreshing, as well as the real life feel to the show. Another factor was that they not only doted on the exotic animals, but also on the domestic. I can’t wait to watch the next episode and wish them true financial success so that they can expand their zoo.

    Great show, great family, true excitement about a fascinating show that NatGeo has offered us!

    Thank you!

  32. joeexotic
    January 25, 2011, 11:53 pm

    The problem is you are now responding to BCR and her little herd of brain washed dumb A**es. You got to understand this comes from a group of people that are trained never to clean a cage or show love for the animals they care for, BCR’s animals show that they are only there for the benifet of Carole Baskin and her millions she makes off of them. Why on earth would one company need 14 non profits running out of one location if she was for the animals. The real animal people who care about animals live in a half shotty house full of animals and spend every dime they have to keep them. Carole does not even live on site as she must have a mansion in town to keep exploiting her cats. Dont let any of this worry you. Nat Geo you have a great show going.

  33. apkoronka
    January 26, 2011, 3:30 am

    Bud and Carrie, I have to applaud you two on what you do and as well as Nat Geo Wild for recognizing your efforts and the uniqueness of having your zoo in the Western Upper Peninsula. If operating the zoo and an animal rescue operation were not challenging enough you also face the extreme moods of Mother Nature and challenges of having a limited market due to your location. I had the opportunity to visit in July while on a family trip to the Keeweenaw Peninsula. Having been to the Minnesota Zoo and a few other "smaller" zoos, that are much larger than yours, it is evident that the DeYoung Family Zoo is different and possibly one of a kind. Very rarely do you have owner/operators or trainers that love what they do so much that they immerse their entire lives into caring for the animals and sacrifice any chance to relax like the average person. I can only assume that the chance of a vacation is similar to that of a snowball in hell. Additionally, the quality and cleanliness of the habitats are top notch due to their size, cleanliness, and the physically healthy demeanor of the animals themselves. I hope that anyone reading the contents of this blog are able to read past what everyone has written here and take the opportunity to enjoy the show for themselves and possibly take a trip to see what you’ve done in person.

  34. Cdogg
    January 26, 2011, 6:25 am

    I think Bud and Carrie are great people i got the chance to work at their zoo when i used to live up in Wisconsin i visited their zoo on a daily basis and i love it and the show is great also keep up the awesome job Bud and Carrie I support you all the way

  35. PorterfieldExotics
    January 26, 2011, 6:40 am

    I have been friends with Buddy since before he had a zoo, the first time I was at his place he had a small state licensed game farm with just a hand full of animals that were native to Upper MI. I have watched the zoo grow each year and am very impressed with the effort and money that they have invested. They are always working on bigger and better facilities for each new animal or group of animals. I have been in the animal scene my entire life and have experienced animal facilities all over this country. Most have two images, the public image and the things that the public does not get to see. I have been at DeYoungs when Buddy has been in the middle of butchering one of the many carcases that are needed to feed the animals at the zoo and donated by farmers and the county. Buddy not only does not hide this part of running the zoo from the public but he uses it as an educational tool. I like the way that Nat Geo has shown a bit of the work involved in running an animal park. I hope to see them do many more shows and would like to see more of the behind the scenes daily experiences of zoo life. I also would like to see more scenes of the many volunteers, interns and other helping hands around the zoo. I know how many people are involved in one way or another there and how much help they do get. Those who do not know this are quick to unfairly judge and make comments such as they could never properly care for that many animals. They are right, two people alone could not but with the support and help they get from family, friends, neighbors, interns and volunteers DeYoung’s is one of the best kept privately owned animal facilities I have been to. Great work Bud, Carrie and all those that work with and support them. I’m looking forward to the next two shows and hope to see many more next season.

  36. wawildbill
    January 26, 2011, 10:29 am

    This is a very interesting show, however I have to take exception to when Bud called the school his grandson goes to, and yelled at the staff for not allowing him to come on a scheduled field trip to Bud’s zoo. Apparently the grandson was being disciplined for an undisclosed behavioral issue, and the school’s policy was apparently not to allow him (or ANY OTHER STUDENT under disciplinary action) go on scheduled field trips. Bud proceeded to DEMAND that his grandson be driven to the zoo, because of the many times he ‘at no cost’ had kids from the school come there. There seemed to be an underlying threat as to if the school didn’t release his grandson, his zoo would no longer be open to the school. In any case this was completely unprofessional on Bud’s part. And SHAME on the staff member of the school for backing down. It doesn’t matter what anyone does for a school, rules are for EVERYONE and NO ONE should be exempt from them.

  37. Ronco49893
    January 26, 2011, 10:43 pm

    You won’t find many people like Bud and Carrie. The zoo is well maintained and the animals are cared for by people that do it because they love animals and kids; not because they are selling tickets or putting on a show. I live near the zoo and plan to visit and contribute more often! I wish them well and thank Nat Geo Wild for bringing their story to the world.

  38. relyinsh
    February 3, 2011, 2:28 am

    Our family loved the new episode. We laughed, we learned and we were concerned. What a great way to spend a Monday nite. People at worked liked it too. Great to see all the great things the DeYoungs do for local animals and friends.

  39. relyinsh
    February 3, 2011, 2:30 am

    Whatever happened to "If you don’t have something nice to say, then don’t say anything at all." Obviously there are some miserable people making comments out there.

  40. relyinsh
    February 9, 2011, 2:25 am

    Great new episode!! Keep them coming.

  41. one_Disturbed_dude
    February 9, 2011, 3:46 am

    I like watching this show, and hope to see more! Much more enlightening then Jersey Shore, or any of the "Housewives of" shows!! Keep them coming!!

  42. Gormfrog
    February 9, 2011, 10:18 pm

    "I couldn’t visit the DeYoung Family Zoo, a game farm in Wallace, Michigan, still in business despite its owner, Harold DeYoung, being busted for Lacey Act and Endangered Species Act violations." This is from Ted Williams’ incite article, Audubon Magazine, march/April 2010. Mr. Williams usually writes very good, researched articles. This seemed to be a snub, unfounded, on a piece on ‘fake photography’ Is there something going on at this zoo that is suspect??

  43. lorababygirl
    February 12, 2011, 8:39 pm

    I do love this show. The relationship between Bud and Carrie is one where they can yell at each other and still get along. Sometimes that happens and people do not always agree. I totally respect what they do and I cannot even image taking on such a big task, and on a daily basis, all year long. They are together constantly so of course they are going to argue, it is part of life. It is good for kids to see that they might agree to disagree but still be friends.

  44. haydardedeoglu
    February 13, 2011, 12:41 am

    I have just started watching bud and carrie I live in Sydney Australia, and I just love everything about the show and what they do. They may promote breeding but what they really promote is a healthy safe environment for each animal species, if breeding occurs within then it just goes to show that they are succeeding in promoting the right type of captive lifestyle wild animlas should be in. Take "Emo" for example they desexed him due to his defects and not wanting to pass this on to another generation, if they were careless they would have not stepped in. They are compassionate and these animals are there life, I thank them for showing us all into there unique lives. I have worked with animals for years in Australia, but unfortunately we have nothing like Deyoung zoo over here, and if I ever make a trip to America, I will be going to Michigan and visiting there fine family. I just love them and everything they stand for. God Bless guys.

  45. Gormfrog
    February 19, 2011, 6:14 pm

    Update on my post (third one up, Gormfrog). Ted Williams responds to my inquiry about his comment on the DeYoung Family Zoo:

    Dear Pat: I apologize for the delay in getting back to you, but I wanted to have the Fish and Wildlife Service Office of Law Enforcement find the court documents, and it got back to me only today. Harold DeYoung’s Lacey Act and Endangered Species convictions were for “transporting an endangered species (tiger) in the course of a commercial activity.” The two charges stemmed from the same incident. The transaction was between DeYoung and Ken and Nancy Kraft. I am pleased and not surprised to hear that DeYoung is running a good operation. The case agent informs me that, while the Department of Justice clearly established intent to violate federal law, DeYoung was exceedingly remorseful and very helpful in getting the message out to other displayers of wildlife to obey both laws.


    Ted Williams

    Editor-at-Large, Audubon

  46. Mary Ann Gorog
    February 23, 2011, 1:22 am

    My husband and I would like to visit this zoo but there is no definite location other than the upper penninsula. Can someone give us an address or directions?

  47. Animals
    March 7, 2011, 5:38 am

    I would love to see more of this program…I love it…Myself and my friends all get together and watch it… We are HUGE animal lovers. And the love that Bud & Carrie have for each other and their animals is unbelieveable… I don’t know of any people who would go out there in those cold Michigan winters and work like they do to take care of their animals.. They are wonderful people. I am watching the reruns, but want to see more new epoisode… I work in a office of about 330-400 and everyone loves it. It is the talk at the water cooler…Please bring this show back… I think Nat GEO has a real winner on it hands here. the more people I tell about it the more that watch it and love it…It is the best show since Brady Barr. And I love him too…If Nat GEO is not going to pick this show up, I think they should let Animal Planet have it ….It is great and these two people love these and animals and you can tell these animals are well feed and taking care of. And people who have made negative comments act like they should go out there dressed in their best clothes to clean and take care of their animals. But, that is not practical and ridiculous..They dress to go out there and take care and love their animals. And I think it is one of the best shows to come along in years… Please We want to see more. Maybe even a wedding at the zoo between Carrie and Bud since that is their passion. The should have one there and the reception at Pipers Place or vice verse…..I love the no kill shelter… Every shelter should be that way…. I am mailing them money to make a contributions as I am typing this….They are wonderful people. Please Nat GEO more PLEASE

  48. tme1bogie@embarqmail.com
    March 25, 2011, 12:02 pm

    I just love the shows about the DeYoung Family Zoo. I think it’s great that Bud & Carrie devote all their time & engery into creating this place for animals that need a place to live or they would be put down. Not many people would do this. I hope to see more shows on the DeYoung Family Zoo, they are the most caring people with all their volunteers. TJ an Animal Lover

  49. country290
    April 1, 2011, 8:44 pm

    i love this zoo….i think buddy has done a great thing, he has his life into this zoo…do i agree with carrie taking all the credit,NO! i have known buddie for along time and i know how hard he works to make the animals have a good life and a nice place to live. i watched the first several my life is a zoo shows and it just was too much for me, have some respect and let the world know that BUDDY started this zoo and HE has made it what it is!

  50. myfriendted98
    July 24, 2011, 6:00 pm

    I do not doubt that the DeYoung’s love what they do. Have you ever thought of what they do with the surplus animals?? No way are there enough farmer castoffs and roadkill to even come close to feeding those carnivores. IMHO I beleive they may adopt out friendly healthy animlas but there are plenty of horses, rabbits calves sheep and others that are slaughtered.I went there before they became "famous" and was astounded by the condition of the "petting Zoo". Draft horses and their foal, two other horses, cows, goats sheep all in one small round pen fighting each other to get to the next patron that had a handful of grain. There was not a stick or blade of hay in sight. If you are going to kill them at least feed them so they are not suffering. I have heard that they now have some hay in there for them but I’m sure things are better in view since going on T.V. Bottom line for me is why do we as humans have to be entertained by this.Exotic animals should be left in the wild. There is a reason we cannot fully domesticate them.