Animal Planet Captivates Audiences

Rachael Oczkus

Animal Planet, a channel dedicated to the education of viewers, is home to some of the most controversial shows with famous hosts like Steve Irwin, aka the Crocodile Hunter.

Nowadays, the network features animal hoarders, the misunderstood pit bull, and even Bubbles, Michael Jackson’s famous chimp. Animal Planet shows deserve more credit in the field of entertainment, not just the reputation of stuffy and boring education.

River Monsters: Unhooked follows thrill seeker Jeremy Wade as he travels down various rivers around the world, searching for the fabled monsters within their waters. Each episode results in the capture of one of the most dangerous and sometimes deadly fresh water beasts known to man. This show will not only make you rethink a plan to accompany your father on spring break fishing extravaganza, but it will also add massive fish with large teeth and deadly capabilities to your list of fears.

Conflicts between the Japanese whalers and the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society flare up in the Arctic in Whale Wars. The Japanese whalers have the audacity to completely ignore the worldwide whale conservation agreement, while Sea Shepherd volunteers take extreme measures to save the whales. Sea Shepherd tactics include tailing the Japanese ships, paint-balling their fake research sign, and even sending one of the bravest members of the crew aboard to negotiate.

Jeremy Wade displays a Congo Tigerfish in River Monsters: Unhooked. Photo: Animal Planet

Blood Dolphins also fits the category of shows featuring crews saving marine life. This show gets close and personal with the crew, Rick O’Barry, lead activist in the Oscar winning film, “The Cove,” and his son Lincoln, as they travel to stop worldwide dolphin slaughter. Save the dolphins.

Confessions: Animal Hoarding basically looks into the lives of psychos who have hundreds of pets. The commonality of the matter is shocking. The show not only reveals many cases of the oddity, but also taps into the human side of the problem, allowing you to see the hoarder’s argument for having such a great number of animals.

Michael Jackson and Bubbles: The Untold Story features the King of Pop and his comrade Bubbles. For six years Bubbles the chimp was Michael Jackson’s best friend. Who knew? The two were inseparable. Bubbles even traveled with Jackson on tour. The revealing documentary talks to people who witnessed the relationship first hand and explores the complex psychology behind Jackson’s devotion to his chimp and other exotic animals.