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Animal Planet Sponsors Auckland Zoo’s Elephants

Wednesday May 17, 2006

Animal Planet Sponsors Auckland Zoo’s Elephants

Auckland, NZ – Leading television network Animal Planet, in conjunction with SKY TV, today announced the sponsorship of the Animal Planet Elephant Clearing at Auckland Zoo, New Zealand.

Home to Asian elephants Kashin and Burma, two of the zoo’s most popular residents, Animal Planet will support the internationally recognised elephant management program at New Zealand’s largest zoo as part of the network’s ongoing commitment to assist ethical zoos across Australia and New Zealand.

“Animal Planet has always supported endangered animals through on-air initiatives and viewer awareness and it is equally important for the network to continue the education process on the ground as well,” said Mandy Pattinson, Vice President, Discovery Networks Australia and New Zealand.

The funds provided by Animal Planet and SKY TV over the next three years will support the zoo's eight million dollar (NZD) operational costs. The money will also be instrumental in helping the team at Auckland Zoo achieve fundamental conservation goals, both in New Zealand and overseas.

“Through joint initiatives, on-site signage and other marketing projects, we aim to help raise the profile of these issues,” said Pattinson.

“Partnering with Animal Planet is a superb opportunity for Auckland Zoo,” said Auckland Zoo Director, Glen Holland. “Kashin and Burma are perennial favourites with our visitors and Elephant Clearing is a must-see attraction for more than 550,000 people each year.”

“Having the support of Animal Planet will enhance this experience. In addition, the potential for telling Animal Planet's viewers about our zoo and the amazing conservation programs that we are involved with, is absolutely fantastic.”

Asian Elephants are a critically endangered species, with less than 40,000 left in the wild forests of south and southeast Asia.

About Kashin and Burma Kashin was born in captivity in Thailand in 1968. Just four years later she was transferred to Auckland Zoo. Burma is 14 years Kashin’s junior and as the younger of the two, she’s certainly the more mischievous one. Born in 1982 in a Burmese logging camp, Burma arrived at Auckland Zoo in 1990. She quickly settled in with new companion and the pair has been living at the zoo happily ever since.

Auckland Zoo is extremely proud of its ‘direct contact’ (hands on) elephant management program. It is one of a very small number internationally that uses a ‘free contact’approach, where keepers work directly with the elephants. The program is regarded as progressive, and is internationally renowned.

The keepers keep these highly intelligent animals stimulated with ever-changing behavioural enrichment activities. The ability to walk Kashin and Burma through the zoo each day provides further opportunities to engage visitors.

The zoo offers a ‘ZOOM Elephant Experience’ where individuals get the chance to help scrub down an elephant with one of the keepers. Twenty percent of all profits from this experience product goes directly to the Auckland Zoo Conservation Fund.

About Auckland Zoo Established in 1922, Auckland Zoo is home to the largest collection of native and exotic wildlife species in New Zealand (over 1900 animals and 200 species).

A much-loved Auckland icon, it has also become a place of enormous interest to people throughout the country, and overseas, through the top-rating television series, The Zoo. At the heart of all Auckland Zoo's work and activities is its mission: “to focus the Zoo’s resources to benefit conservation and provide exciting visitor experiences which inspire and empower people to take positive action for wildlife and the environment".

Auckland Zoo is a member of both the Australasian Regional Association of Zoological Parks & Aquaria (ARAZPA) and the World Association of Zoos & Aquariums (WAZA).

About Animal Planet Animal Planet grabs you. The world’s leading animal entertainment brand, Animal Planet reaches 188 million subscribers in 165 countries outside of the United States with programming customized in 24 languages. Offering intrigue, adventure, humor, relationships, life and death, Animal Planet is the only television network on the planet dedicated to people’s fascination with animals.

A joint venture between Discovery Communications and BBC Worldwide, Animal Planet launched in Asia in 1998 and is currently distributed to 113 million subscribers in over 20 countries and territories in the region, including Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Indonesia and Vietnam.

Visit Animal Planet at www.animalplanet.com.au

ENDS


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