Shamu TV


Who doesn’t love penguins with their silly Chaplin-esque gaits and their dashing formal clothes?  So in one area of Africa, when an ecological disaster occurred, some people who are passionate about these creatures came to their rescue.  This November, the Discovery Kids Channel presents a heartwarming special that charts the all-out effort to save thousands of these creatures from ecological disaster.  Actor Elijah Wood, who plays Frodo in “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy hosts the latest installment of Discovery Kids twice Emmy-nominated series of special SAVING A SPECIES.  This special SAVING A SPECIES: The Great Penguin Rescue debuts on the Discovery Kids Channel on Sunday, November 19 at 6:30 PM (ET), repeating again at 9 PM (ET).

When a giant oil spill off the coast of Cape Town reaches a colony of African penguins during their breeding season, these already-endangered birds face certain death.  Yes, penguins are known for their toughness, having had to thrive in some of nature’s most extreme conditions of cold and heat.  But these penguins are also in dire need of protection; African penguins are the only penguin species that breed exclusively in Africa and can’t be found anywhere else on the planet.  When an oil spill threatens their habitat and breeding activities with thousands of gallons of gloppy oil, volunteers from around the world rush to their rescue, including animal care experts from SeaWorldä San Diego, SeaWorldä Orlando, the Baltimore Zoo, the Tri State Bird Rescue & Research, the  IFAW (The International Fund for Animal Welfare) and SANCCOB (South African Foundation for the Conservation of Costal Birds).  Together these volunteers set into motion the biggest evacuation and rescue attempt of wild birds in history.

Created specifically for kids, SAVING A SPECIES: The Great Penguin Rescue details how bird conservation experts, local citizens, tourists, government and business workers and concerned volunteers from all parts of the world partner to save the oiled penguins.  An old railroad warehouse in Cape Town quickly becomes the rehab site, and in just 24 hours, dry pools are set up, water and electricity installed and crushed shells are delivered, and the facility is good to go!  Volunteers rescue the oiled birds from their islands – by air, boat and even truck – and the clean-up begins.

It takes two volunteers about an hour to wash one penguin (two sudsings for each), and there are thousands of birds!  Will their rescue efforts succeed, and will they be able to save the more fragile chicks?

The program is loaded with fascinating information about penguins-- most species of penguins lay only one or two eggs at a time, and generally only one survives; penguins are warm-blooded seabirds, and three variables help them survive in frigid water and extreme weather – body fat, metabolic rate and their blood flow system; penguins in warmer climates release heat through bare patches around their eyes and beaks; left alone, oiled-soaked birds would no longer be waterproof and would be unable to swim.

In SAVING A SPECIES: The Great Penguin Rescue, kids learn that in addition to environmental threats, human activities such as hunting, coastal development, pollution and the over-harvesting of the kinds of fish that penguins eat can also threaten penguins’ existence.  They also see how the massive South African rescue effort would not have been possible without the thousands of volunteers who came to help.  SAVING A SPECIES: The Great Penguin Rescue is produced for Discovery Kids by Spectrum Productions.  Guy Nickerson is director, and Elaine Pugliese is supervising producer.  For Discovery Kids, Jim Rapsas is executive producer, and Marjorie Kaplan is the executive in charge of production.

Discovery Kids Channel lets kids of all ages (from preschoolers to tweens and teens)  explore their world from their point of view.  This 24-hour digital cable channel provides entertaining, engaging, and high-quality real-world programming that kids enjoy and parents trust.  Every day, kids can learn about science, adventure, exploration and natural history through documentaries, reality shows, scripted dramas and animated stories.  With multiple Emmys as well as awards for quality children’s television, Discovery Kids is committed to satisfying kids’ natural curiosity about… well… everything.
# # #