TV vet Steve Leonard is to present two brand new series for ITV1.
Both wildlife shows will be set in Africa, featuring a rich and diverse range of exotic creatures.
Safari Vet School and Animal Kingdom are both produced by ITV Studios Anglia Factual, which makes acclaimed ITV1 wildlife series Survival With Ray Mears, Wild Britain With Ray Mears, Lion Country and Cheetah Kingdom.
Both series were commissioned by Diana Howie, ITV Factual Commissioning Editor, with Alison Sharman, ITV Director of Factual and Daytime.
Steve Leonard will present 12×30 series Safari Vet School, which will track the fortunes of student vets, as they come face to face with Africa’s ‘big five’ for the first time during a life-changing and action-packed 16 day summer placement at the 15,000 acre Amakhala Game Reserve in the Eastern Cape of South Africa.
Working with top wildlife vets the students – mainly from UK vet schools – will gain valuable experience of exotic wildlife and learn skills ranging from basic capture techniques to darting to wildlife relocation.
Filming will also take place at the Shamwari Game Reserve and the Addo National Elephant Park.
Animal Kingdom will see Steve Leonard following wildlife stories from inside one of Africa’s most beautiful and diverse games reserves, the Erindi Game Park, which lies between the Namib and Kalahari deserts, in Namibia.
The park’s 175,000 acres of prime wildlife habitat has been designated as an area for the re-introduction of endangered species as well as maintaining numbers of the 100 or more that share the reserve. Animal Kingdom will look at the work being done to manage the delicate balance of wildlife in the park including the introduction of new groups of animals while providing an intimate focus on the lives of individual creatures. Following their struggles for survival across a changing season, 6×30 series Animal Kingdom will provide a compelling insight into the behavioural patterns and secret lives of some of the territory’s most charismatic creatures.
Steve Leonard said: “It’s great to be back in Africa working with the big beautiful iconic species and some of the ugly little jaspers as well. These two projects are both very much hands on allowing me to tap into my veterinary skills and get my hands dirty – and nearly bitten. I’m very pleased to be working with the creative team at ITV who really understand wildlife program making and who are as enthusiastic about conservation as I am.”
Diana Howie said: “We’re delighted that Steve has agreed to present these two Africa-based series for ITV1. His informal, honest style, mixed with his extensive animal knowledge, is the perfect mix for our ITV1 viewers.”