Ask Jack: Giant Panda Just One Animal Jack Hopes to Film

By Beacon Staff

Throughout my zoo career, I’ve been really lucky to have traveled the world and seen wildlife “up close and personal.” In fact, I’ve visited every continent – twice. However, there are some places that I haven’t explored with my TV crew as of yet, places that I hope to visit. That said, I’d re-visit many of my favorite spots again and again. Animals are so interesting to me, and every time I’m on a safari I witness something new and exciting!

As an avid watcher of your TV show for the last 10 years, I’m always amazed at the diversity of the places and wildlife that you and your crew film. I’m sure you’ve been all around the world, but are there any special places left, or animals that you haven’t filmed? – Steve

We’ve been really fortunate to have filmed “Animal Adventures” for 10 years. With our new show, “Into the Wild,” we’re looking forward to traveling to more unique places as well. But, certainly, there are quite a number of special animals and conservation projects that we haven’t covered.

Giant pandas top the list. Although I’ve traveled to China, we haven’t filmed there for our show. So little is known about this magnificent black and white animal. A visit to China to get the real story about them would be really fascinating. They live in such inhospitable habitats that filming would be extremely difficult (high altitudes and snowy, steep mountains). We might have to concentrate on the various panda breeding centers in Chengdu and Wolong.

So let’s go to the other end of the color spectrum, from black and white pandas to orangutans. Orangutans are a vibrant brilliant orange and are considered one of the Great Apes (along with the gorilla, chimpanzee and bonobo). I know where to find oranges – on the island of Borneo – and there is a very interesting conservation and ecotourism project that would be a great story. While in the area, we’d certainly search for the odd-looking proboscis monkeys, very unusual critters that live in the forests.

Finally, another striking creature: the Bengal tiger. Although I look forward to filming the tiger one day soon, I could do without the spicy curry food in India. Tigers and their habitats are disappearing quickly, but I have friends that have developed a protected area to view these large predators. While in India, we’ll find the Great Indian one-horned rhino (the one whose hide looks like armor plating) – one of the most spectacular animals in the world!

I’ve just mentioned the giant panda, orangutan, and the tiger – all considered “mega-mammals” with a lot of charisma. But there are a ton of stories out there about insects, birds and sea creatures that we haven’t done – so I’ll keep my eye out for them!

Remember to e-mail me your questions at [email protected].