New Monthly Initiative Kicks off With Premiere of "Panda Babies: Mission Critical" on NatGeoWILD

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24 August 2016
Mission Critical
Courtesy of Nat Geo Wild
"Mission Critical"
Premieres Sunday, August 28 at 8/7c on Nat Geo WILD

          For many of Earth’s species, time is running out. Iconic animals such as black rhinos, mountain gorillas and giant pandas are close to joining dodos and dinosaurs on the unfortunate list of animals gone forever. While working to preserve these threatened and endangered creatures may seem like a daunting mission, Nat Geo WILD believes that it’s a critical one.

         “Mission Critical” is a new monthly programming initiative featuring powerful stories of the most incredible and endangered animals on our planet. The new series hopes to inspire a new generation of animal lovers to preserve and protect our world’s amazing wildlife, and will premiere globally in 131 countries and 38 languages. Every month, “Mission Critical” highlights species at the forefront of extinction and the brave individuals who are racing against the clock to make a difference. From adorable baby beluga whales to mischievous Tasmanian devils to elusive leopards, the episodes range from heartwarming to tear-jerking in hopes to shine a light on those animals that need our attention most.
          “Mission Critical” kicks off on Sunday, Aug. 28, at 8/7c with the premiere of “Panda Babies: Mission Critical.” With only an estimated 1,600 giant pandas left in the wild, these adorable animals could disappear. But groups of people are dedicated to bringing this species of bear back from the brink of extinction. Journey behind the scenes to a few of China’s most successful panda maternity wards that are fighting to save the world’s cutest animal icon, and witness the remarkable stories of baby pandas as they grow from tiny black-and-white bundles of fur to grown adults getting ready for life in the wild. 

Upcoming Mission Critical Premieres: 
Panda Babies: Mission Critical
Premieres Sunday, Aug. 28, at 8/7c
In China, one of the planets best-loved and magical creatures is fighting to survive. With fewer than two thousand giant pandas left in the wild, the race is on to build their numbers up. Deep in the Sichuan Mountains, three of the leading panda centers in the world are doing just that, and we’re uncovering the secrets to their success. Journey behind the scenes to three panda maternity wards to see what it takes to save the world’s cutest animal icon. We’ll be visiting a nursery at Bifengxia, to follow the first stages of baby panda life before heading off to Dujiangyan, where toddlers make friends and build relationships. From there it’s on to Wolong, where some pandas are getting ready for life in the wild. Prepare to see pandas as you’ve never seen them before.

Operation Sumatran Rhino: Mission Critical
Premieres Sunday, Sept. 18, at 9/8c

In Borneo, Sumatran rhinos’ numbers are down to just single digits. Conservationists are on a desperate mission to save the country’s last individuals. The only way to ensure the safety and survival of these last rhinos is to capture all remaining in the wild — a dangerous and costly operation. Follow Malaysia’s foremost rhino scientists in their incredible quest to save this critically endangered species.
Mountain Gorilla: Mission Critical
Two-Part Special Premieres Sunday, Oct. 9, at 9/8c and 10/9c
Only discovered a century ago, mountain gorillas inhabit a fragile world. A small number of families cling to existence on the forested peaks of isolated volcanoes in three war-torn countries, surrounded on all sides by a growing human population. Discover the unexplored lives, history and uncertain future of this charismatic species. Follow the dedicated teams of vets, rangers, researchers and conservationists who work together to raise awareness of the benefits of this unique species — but their dedicated work will only succeed with the support of all those who share the land with them.
Additional Mission Critical Specials Include:
Saving the Last Devil: Mission Critical premieres Sunday, Nov. 13, at 8/7c
Queen of the Hunt: Mission Critical premieres Sunday, Dec. 4, at 8/7c

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