Owning a wild animal is no small task. Full-grown tigers, lions and monkeys are powerful, unpredictable, and extremely dangerous. They need a lot of food, a lot of space, and a lot of attention in order to live comfortably and safely in captivity. It takes more than a love of animals to make a good owner. And when owners are unwilling or incapable of acting in the best interest of their animals, it takes an Animal Intervention.
Enter animal advocate Alison Eastwood and animal expert Donald Schultz, who confront overwhelmed and out-of-touch wildlife owners who house exotic animals in confined and potentially hazardous environments. Some of the owners breed their animals, further crowding their facilities and increasing the overall population of exotics living in captivity. Alison and Donald approach owners at private ranches, roadside zoos and even magic shows to assess the conditions in which they keep their animals. Emotions run high when Alison and Donald recommend changes, sometimes as drastic as relocating full-grown wild animals to safe and clean animal sanctuaries. Their work is chronicled in the new series Animal Intervention, premiering Tuesday, October 2, at 9:00 p.m. on Nat Geo WILD.
Alison and Donald receive tips from concerned organizations and individuals about potentially problematic animal enclosures, and set out to investigate. They catch up with a Louisiana couple harboring four capuchin monkeys in their RV. The monkeys live in cramped cages and take turns sleeping with the couple in bed at night. The duo then tours a makeshift zoo in upstate New York run by an owner who is physically and financially strained, battling multiple health problems. His family must consider the heart-breaking decision to find sanctuaries for the bobcats, macaques and mountain lion they have loved liked family. The team also visits central Ohio and meets an animal lover who created a rescue for unwanted big cats in her home, only to struggle both financially and emotionally to keep up with the massive responsibility. She and her husband continue building cages both inside and outside of their home to take in new animals, while at the same time pawning all of their valuables in a desperate attempt to keep the cats fed and cared for.
Donald is a wildlife expert, extreme adventurer, writer and photographer. He started working with reptiles at the age of 13, and his fascination with snakes became the bedrock of his career. He hosted the cable programs Wild Recon and Venom in Vegas, co-authored a number of scientific articles and has spoken at the International Herpetological Symposium.
Alison, daughter of Clint Eastwood, is not only an American film director and Hollywood actress, but also a true animal advocate, having worked with Marine Animal Rescue and other organizations. She made her directorial debut with Rails & Ties; her other acting credits include Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, I’ll Be Seeing You, and Once Fallen.
“This is a series that is near and dear to my heart,” says Eastwood. “I have amassed television and film credits, but helping animals and finding them loving homes is my passion. I have wanted to create a show about rescuing animals and bringing attention and awareness to their plight for some time.”
Donald adds, “I joined the series to not only raise awareness to the plight of animals in captivity but also the owners. Having owned and worked with exotic and dangerous animals, I wanted to explore these relationships and try and help all parties involved. While only bad incidents get press, there are thousands of responsible exotic owners out there, and I wanted to try and weigh in on this hot button topic with my expertise.”
Sometimes Alison and Donald successfully persuade owners to relinquish their animals, and at that point a sanctuary is called in. Tearfully, owners make the difficult decision to say goodbye to their animals and watch as they are loaded up and taken to a better home. In other cases, however, the owner’s refuse changes outright, and Donald and Alison have no choice but to leave empty-handed. If they think they have another solution to help the animal, they attempt to return at a later date with a plan in place.
Be sure to tune in to the series premiere of Animal Intervention: RV Monkeys tomorrow at 9P on Nat Geo WILD.