The latest season of Australia’s Channel 10 network, Bondi Vet, kicked off far from its comfortable east coast home. Dr Chris Brown, who usually deals with injured, abandoned or abused animals such as cats, dogs and pet mice, found himself in the thick of the African bush with their slightly larger and wilder counterparts. Whilst they covered everything from township pets to charging rhinoceros, we covered them with first class facilitation.
It’s almost like those classic stories of Africa from the colonial past, or one that you might come across in a Wilbur Smith novel. The tall and rugged animal lover, dismayed by the fall of one of Africa’s most majestic beasts at the hands of the lowly poacher, ventures forth into the heart of Africa to help save the species. Rhino poaching is on the increase every year in South Africa with over three hundred and fifty animals being poached in 2010 alone. The Dr helped to tackle this issue by teaming up with the owner and manager of the Moholoholo Wildlife and Rehabilitation Centre to set about inserting traceable electronic chips into their horns. Injured and sick lions were also on the agenda at The Kingdom, a sanctuary for the domestic cats larger cousin. A few of the lions had developed a cancerous growth that needed to be removed and Dr Chris was given the task of darting and removing the growths.
He also facilitated the release of an endangered cat, the Serval, back into the wild, saw to hyena and lion cubs and endangered birds of prey and managed to have a traditional African safari as well.
When the crew wasn’t in the wild they were treating domestic animals, cats and dogs, in the poor township areas around Johannesburg. Dr Chris also spoke to a local school about taking care of their pets.
One may not notice but behind this classic story of danger and rescue lies another tale of logistics, administration and ongoing support. The crew shot over a seven day period, covering some spectacular events and places across South Africa. They achieved their shooting goals and still had time to take a personal sunset safari. Time Frame covered every aspect of the shoot; drivers and vehicles, accommodation, locations and the import of some serious veterinary drugs and equipment into the country. Gear was always available as a backup should, for instance, the camera be trampled by a herd of buffalo or, as actually happened, be carried off by marauding monkeys. The crew set out to cover enough for an episode but by the time they left had decided to pitch another two to the Channel 10 network.
All in all one very satisfied group of Aussies, mate.