Born to be Wild team hopes to capture footage of rare marine animals and snakes


Doc Ferds Recio (left) and Kiko Rustia of Born to be Wild search for a rare marine animal called the Irrawaddy and 21 species of snakes in Catanduanes.


Last summer, Born to be Wild introduced the first mini series of its kind to late-night television: The Born Expeditions. The mini series followed the development of two major missions: the study of humpback whales and the attempt to capture the first footage of the newly discovered reptile varanus bitatawa.


This October, Doc Ferds Recio and Kiko Rustia are back on a new assignment. Spending weeks in the wilderness to film rare wildlife was already a challenge in the summer. In these rainy "ber" months, sticking it out in the field for days and nights on end will test the perseverance of Doc, Kiko and the entire team.

It is the most endangered marine mammal in the country. A population count in 2005 documented only 39 individuals left in the wild. They are called Irrawaddy, and their status as a near extinct species is a sad reality. The Irrawaddy may disappear even before people find out about them or realize how truly unique they are. Over the years, researchers say many have tried to capture footage of the Irrawaddy and failed. Determined to give a face to this animal, Kiko Rustia and his team set out to do the impossible: document the Philippines ’ last known population of Irrawaddy.

On their first day out at sea, the team gets a taste of how difficult the task will be. The Irrawaddy is swift and intelligent, and there are too few of them left in the wild to count on an easy sighting in the open sea. Kiko teams up with Irrawaddy researchers who have been monitoring the species for many years. Together, they attempt to find out if any of these last individuals are showing signs of new life--little ones that could possibly add to their plunging population. But what exactly is the Irrawaddy? And why are so few of them left in the wild?

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Meanwhile, Doc Ferds Recio traces the Catanduanes wilderness to see if the stories are true. A local researcher has published online the discovery of 21 species of snakes in a small barangay in Virac: a rare occurrence according to renowned Philippine herpetologists (snake experts). Already, some of these species have been described as "never before seen" in the Philippines.

Doc and his team set out to prove if indeed another scientific find has been established in this yet unexplored part of Luzon . But as they uncover the facts behind the 21 species of snakes, they also come face to face with the daily struggles of a community living near the habitat of one of the most venomous snakes in the country: the Philippine Cobra. Armed with anti-venom, Doc and the team attempt to learn more about this reptile which has struck fear in many of the locals. They soon discover that the place may also be home to the biggest toxic snake in the world: the King Cobra.

Witness nature in the raw through GMA-7’s environment and wildlife show. Irrawaddy Mystery and Snake King on Born to be Wild Expeditions II premiere this Wednesday, after Saksi, on GMA-7.


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