Universum The Future of Wildlife

Production Overview

“There was hardly any other time in my life when I travelled so much and saw and learned so much new ", thus Helmut Pechlaner, director of Schönbrunn Zoo, of the time of shooting the UNIVERSUM programme on the future of wildlife. “In terms of miles in the air I rounded the globe several times together with director Heinz Leger, because we wanted to cover every continent and to present species threatened by extinction, as well as show activities to protect them."

In this special to mark the end of the programme, Helmut Pechlaner looks at the future prospects of the cheetahs and reviews the highlights of past episodes. Altogether ten episodes were shot, reporting on the fate of orang-utans in Indonesia, on the threat to the rhinoceros in Africa and the efforts to resettle the Takhi (Equus przewalskii) in Mongolia. In all his activities, Helmut Pechlaner, a former vet, has not only been an interested observer and careful reporter but he has repeatedly rolled up his sleeves and lent a willing hand, doing it in his inimitable Tyrolean style, whether it was a matter of wading through a swamp replete with full-sized caimans or carrying apes along steep and slithery jungle paths in the middle of the rain forest.

“The best moments for me always came when I helped resettle endangered species", he reminisces. “Nothing is quite as touching as seeing animals reconquer their original habitat."


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Writer and Director: Heinz Leger
Photography: Josef Neuper
Editor: Martin Biribauer
Producer: Heinrich Mayer-Moroni
Executive Producer: Rudolf Klingohr
Executive Producer: Walter Köhler