The information contained herein is embargoed from press use, commercial and non-commercial reproduction and sharing into the public domain until Tuesday 25 April 2017.
In this new two-part series, Paul O’Grady heads to India for the first time in his life, to rescue and rehabilitate some of the country’s vulnerable wild animals and experience the jobs of the keepers and conservationists who are looking after them.
Filming at various locations across India, Paul meets extraordinary animals - old and young – who are in desperate need of care, both within sanctuaries and in their natural environments.
Following in the footsteps of ‘Animal Orphans’ and the award-winning ‘For the Love of Dogs’, Paul is ready to roll up his sleeves like never before and immerse himself in the action-packed care of these astonishing creatures, prepared to go to any lengths to offer a helping hand.
Thanks to his unique ability to emotionally connect with the good, the bad and the ugly of the animal kingdom, For the Love of Animals - India promises plenty of laughs along the way, plus some inevitable tears.
In the second episode, Paul introduces us to Assam – a state known for its tea plantations - but also really important for wildlife, and home to Kaziranga National Park. Paul’s working at CWRC, an animal rescue centre, and today he’s helping look after no less than eight elephant calves. One-year-old Ultee has an injured foot, so Paul helps distract her while it’s treated, and six-month-old Burhi needs to be rubbed in coconut oil, to help prepare her skin for winter.
Paul then accompanies the elephant herd on their jungle walk, and sees how they’re starting to adapt to their surroundings – one day, they’ll be released as a herd into the jungle.
To find out more about life in Kaziranga, where people and wild animals live side by side, Paul pays a visit to a local village. There, the residents perform a traditional dance for him, and then he decides to try his hand at goat herding – and finds its exhausting trying to get the little fellas across the highway.
Paul returns to the rescue centre to make dinner for the elephants. It’s his last day there, and he doesn’t want to leave them, but he has to say goodbye as they go off to bed.
His work done, Paul leaves Assam and travels to Northern India to a rescue centre which looks after Sloth Bears. They were saved after years of being dancing bears, and Paul’s first job is to help with the porridge run. He discovers bears really do love porridge – and sloppily suck it into their mouths.
At the end of the day Paul makes a mad dash through the traffic to try and see the Taj Mahal before sunset…but he’s too late, so he goes to have a look at it from the viewpoint on the river. There’s another sight more interesting to Paul, though – he ends the day by feeding a starving street dog.
Returning to the bear rescue centre, Paul meets Kirti. She was a dancing bear, and her nose is a mess from having a rope pulled through it for many years. On top of that she’s been in isolation, but today she’s going to have a medical, and if it goes well, she can join the other bears in the enclosure. They have to use a blow dart to sedate her, and Paul tries his hand at it – shooting a big pink teddy.
Paul ends the day by going to an Aarti, a religious festival of light, on the bank of the Yamuna river that borders the sanctuary.
Wildlife SOS has an emergency hotline, and the next day they have a call about a snake on farmland nearby. They go to investigate and discover it’s a whopping great python. They bring it back to the sanctuary, and Paul volunteers to help hold the python while the vets check it out. It’s got a nasty cut on its neck, so the team x-ray it and then treat the wound. Paul then helps put it in a cage to rest, and sprinkles it with turmeric, which keeps ants out of the cage and away from the cut.
Finally, Kirti gets the all clear to join some other bears in a bigger enclosure. There’s a tense moment of conflict as a fight erupts, but once they’re all fed, things calm down and Kirti relaxes.
Paul has some final thoughts on India and the animals he’s met. He’s loved India, but the mistreatment of some animals has really upset him, though he’s in awe of the work being done to help them, and it makes him happy that at least some can be released into the wild.