Urban Jungle

Boone Smith explores the wild animals that live among us in the three hour event Urban Jungle premiering on Nat Geo Wild and the National Geographic Channel on August 3rd.

The official blurb goes like this:

They’re the subject of countless newscasts. The horror stories from our headlines. Wild animals stalking our streets like never before. But their stories haven’t fully been told - until now. In Urban Jungle, big cat tracker Boone Smith takes viewers on a harrowing journey to the places we once counted as our own, but have gone to the wild. He ventures deep into the heart of some of the most crowded cities on the planet, to uncover a hidden world where predators and prey collide - outside our windows, above our skyscrapers, under our feet. All over the planet, a new wilderness is rising. And it’s just outside your door.

The first hour is Downtown. Boone ventures into the heart of some of the biggest cities in the world and exposes the animals living there. In Austin he unveils an enourmous swarm of bats that reside under a local bridge. In Chicago, coyotes prowl the streets at night. Leopards caught on security cameras exploring the lobby and hallways of apartments in Mumbai. Man has staked its claim on the world and tried to keep most beasts out, but as man's footprint grows, the animals adapt and find ways to live among us.

Suburbia is the target of the second hour. Kangaroos have taken up residence on a golf course in Australia - did you know that more people are killed each year by kangaroos than by sharks? In Lake Tahoe we meet a black bear who has decided that the crawl space under a house is a much better hibernation place than some cave in the wilderness. And Boone explores the animal ecosystem that exists inside our own homes. Warning: If you don't like bugs, you should skip this section, go get a snack and come back in about 5 minutes after the average home gets introduced. And of course, they include one of the top predators in America in this segments, Mr. Fluffy, your cat. The statistics on house cats is staggering.

In the final hour, Outposts, Boone heads just outside the glow of suburban life to the outskirts of civilization. Not completely given to the wild, but the battleground where man and beast clash for control. In Dutch Harbor, Alaska, eagles attack. In Zimbabwe, elephants invade a small town.A bridge on the Zambezi River overrun by baboons. Great white sharks are returning to our beaches. And radioactive wolves reclaim the devastation that man made of Chernobyl. As man attempts to tighten his grip on the world, the world seems to be fighting back.

Like all National Geographic shows, Urban Jungle is informative and well researched, but also quick paced - it's a light romp through the subject intended to spur the pursuit of knowledge. They don't want to bog you down with a slog of details if you aren't really interested, but they will skim the surface giving you just enough of a peek that might make you go seaching for more. A well crafted three hours of television that is good for the whole family - except people who are squeamish about bugs, seriously, just leave the room during that 5 minutes or you'll probably feel the need to burn your own house to the ground.

Review by Jason Pace
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