Wild Kingdom revival comes to Custer State Park - KOTA Territory News

Wild Kingdom revival comes to Custer State Park

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The original Wild Kingdom began 50 years ago and ran until 1988 with Jim Fowler and Marlin Perkins.

"They were kind of the first people to take America around the world and expose them to beautiful habitats and really awesome animals," said Stephanie Arne.

Mutual of Omaha is reviving the old series on the web with four new five minute episodes.

"They'll be exciting, fun, interesting, educational, and of course, always leave people with a conservation message," said Arne, who will serve as the series host.

The seven person crew is shooting the first webisode here in Custer State Park.

"We came here because we wanted to show people the American Bison and how their numbers were really struggling in the past and because of the efforts here, of all the staff, they've increased the numbers," said Arne.

This is a homecoming for the web series' host.  Arne grew up in Pierre and is excited to showcase her home state.

"I really want to put South Dakota on the map and show people how beautiful this place is and how intricate the ecosystem is," said Arne.

The film crew approached park officials about filming a webisode here only about two weeks ago and park managers were more than happy to help out.

"We're getting them in and amongst the bison herds out there so they can get up close and personal with them.  And a lot of times these are brand new audiences that we're not marketing to.  So it spreads the word," said visitor services coordinator Craig Pugsley.

The crew is filming three more webisodes in Florida and California.  After that Arne is not sure what the future will hold for wild kingdom.

"We'll probably continue with the webisode series.  Who knows?  We really don't know where it'll go from there.  We're just hoping that everybody loves it," said Arne.

The webisode featuring Custer State Park will premiere in November.

You'll be able to watch it at http://wildkingdom.com/ or on the Wild Kingdom Youtube channel at http://www.youtube.com/user/wildkingdomtv/.

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