A Wild Graduation

10 x 30 minutes

33 Media

After four years of study, four vet students from New Zealand's world-renowned Massey university are nearing the end of their course. Before they finish, they have to complete an eight week internship of field work. In this series, they experience the most intense eight weeks of their lives as we take them to Thailand's wild and amazing Monkey City to complete their training. They trade cows for cobras, puppies for monkeys and kittens for elephants in this classic fish-out-of-water observational documentary. 

Cultures collide in this inspiring, challenging, heart-warming new series that follows four veterinary students from the highly regulated animal welfare system of New Zealand to Thailand, where they will be mentored by local celebrity wildlife veterinarian Reeta and her assistant Manao - a singing ladyboy who is as extroverted as he is passionate about saving animals!

With their professional dreams within grasp, a challenging field internship will be the most intense eight weeks of these students’ lives. It’s not unlike getting a law degree and then having to pass the bar; only with tigers, rogue elephants, King Cobras, rabies, wildlife poaching, language difficulties, and blow-darting angry injured monkeys.

Providing relief from the wild madness will be some regular people bringing in their regular pets - cats and dogs, gibbons, a slow moving Loris and pythons in for care. That’s right, this is no ordinary vet series!

This is a series about the universal love and devotion vets have for animals set against the contrasts of different cultures and attitudes toward them. By following First World students who have grown up in a culture with tight regulation surrounding animal care and an established animal welfare culture into a Third World culture without any such regulations and animal welfare, it will raise a lot of questions about who our students really are and what they’re really made of.

It’s a classic fish-out-of-water series. After years of specialised training, nothing will prepare these interns for what they are about to experience.

How will they cope when they have to operate on wild animals that have been shot by farmers trying to protect their crops? How will they respond to a tiger that was kept in a cage at a gas station - because it was cute and brought in customers - but was then discarded because it grew too big for the cage that had broken its back?

While such incidents are still upsetting for Reeta and Manao, they have much experience with such scenarios and know that they just need to get on with the task of rescue and rehabilitation.

For the visiting vet students - who come from developed countries where dogs have their own bakeries, billions are spent on pet supplies, people throw elaborate birthday parties for their pets and the mistreatment of animals is headline news - how will they cope with this new reality?

In turn, how will Reeta and Manao respond to the attitudes, expectations and questions of the students?

Despite the legal and cultural differences they will face, this series is about the power of dedicated animal lovers joining forces to rescue animals and ensure they spend the rest of their lives in much better conditions.

It’s also about developing best possible practice when it comes to respecting, treating and protecting animals worldwide, not just for the students and the people they come into contact with, but for viewers as well.

By following the devoted characters in A Wild Graduation, our hope is that viewers will see, in them, the potential of a better understanding about our complex relationship with other species.