UCSB Arts & Lectures presents wildlife educator and advocate Peter Gros from the original Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom at 3 p.m. on Sunday, October 9, at UCSB Campbell Hall.
Meet some of the world’s friendliest exotic animals up close with wildlife expert and environmental conservationist Peter Gros, co-host of Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom on Animal Planet, will share exciting adventures from his travels, inspirational tales of conservation and the thrill of wildlife filming – including hilarious animal bloopers. With action-packed stories from nearly 30 years in the field with sharks, tigers, elephants and more, and accompanied by a menagerie of his magnificent animal friends, Gros will introduce a connection to the natural world that can rarely be experienced.
“We need to continue to deliver a powerful message about how each of us can make a daily difference in preserving our natural world,” says Gros. “It is possible to use our natural resources in a sustainable manner. We simply need to educate our nation’s youth about the importance of wildlife conservation.”
Gros is an active conservationist. On behalf of Mutual of Omaha, Peter Gros is intimately involved in a nationwide conservation education program conducted at the local community level. His research expeditions have taken him to Siberia’s Lake Baikal, the world’s largest, oldest and deepest lake, and to the Amazon Basin, where he led an expedition of 39 six-graders from Zeeland, Mich. to study the Peruvian rain forest. He has also studied the effects of ecotourism on wildlife in Venezuela, Costa Rica, Belize, Mexico and the Galapagos Islands. In addition, Gros has served as the U.S. representative on the Citizen Ambassador Program’s research study of tigers and rhinos in the Chitwan National Forest in Nepal.
In his travels throughout the world, Gros and his animal friends help teach about the importance of caring for the world around us. In his former position as Director of Land Animals and vice president at Marine World/Africa USA, he established breeding programs for 377 endangered animals. He also developed a rehabilitation program for birds of prey, as well as the largest captive breeding colony of ostriches in the United States.
He is a licensed Exhibition & Animal Educator for the USDA and an active member of the American Zoo and Aquariums Association and Zoological Association of America. Gros is also on the Board of Directors of the Suisun Marsh Natural History Association and serves as president of the Green Valley Center for Wildlife Education. He is a frequent lecturer on conservation and preservation at universities, zoos and nature and science centers around the nation.
The animal ambassadors appearing with Gros are state and federally licensed and fully insured. The animals are hand-raised on bottles or have been rescued and associate people with food rewards and affection; in other words, they are spoiled. When they’re not visiting theaters as part of fun-filled educational presentations, they’re visiting schools with students of all ages to help connect children to the natural world. When a child sees these magnificent animals up close, there’s an immediate connection and concern about wildlife and wild places.
The fun starts early so bring your kids an hour before the event for balloons, face painting and crafts.