Untamed: Life is Wild is a television series co-produced by Virginia Public Media and the Wildlife Center of Virginia. The series focuses on a variety of wildlife issues drawn directly from the stories of the thousands of wild animals in need of care that arrive at the Wildlife Center’s doorstep every year. The stories of these animals illustrate the wider problems wildlife face — litter, pesticides, free-roaming domestic animals, habitat loss, and diseases – and challenge viewers to take action to protect wildlife.

Season One (2019) was 13 episodes long.  Each episode focused on a different species treated at the Center, including Black Bears, Bald Eagles, vultures, songbirds, and more.

Season Two (2020) was 13 episodes long.  Each episode explored a challenging wildlife issue from the perspective of a large wildlife hospital, including issues such as lead poisoning, litter, outdoor cats, and more.

Season Three premieres on April 1, 2021! Stay tuned for a detailed schedule.

Episodes include: 

Episode 301: From Rescue to Release
While the goal of wildlife rehabilitation is to restore wild animals to health and release them back into their natural habitats, it takes incredible efforts from many invested people to reach that goal.   From the individual who cared enough to stop and find help for an injured wild animal, to volunteer transporters, wildlife rehabilitators, veterinarians who provide medical assistance, and more – it truly “takes a village” to help a wild animal in need. Learn more about the entire wildlife rehabilitation process that takes place at the Wildlife Center of Virginia, a hospital for wildlife that treats more than 3,000 wild animals each year.

Episode 302: Habitat Islands and Wildlife Corridors
Habitat islands are areas that contain all the necessities for wildlife to survive and thrive. But too often these islands are not large enough to provide long-term support for the animals who live within. Areas surrounding these islands are not hospitable to wildlife, and wildlife that naturally venture beyond the confines of their habitat islands are often at risk of conflict with humans and human development. The concept of wildlife corridors has become a way to direct animal movement away from, or safely through, dangers caused by humans. As humans continue to dominate the landscape, habitat islands and wildlife corridors will become increasingly necessary for the survival of our many wild species.

Episode 303: Animal Ambassadors
The goal of wildlife rehabilitation is to release healthy, recovered animals back to their natural habitats as fully functioning wild animals. But what happens when animals can’t be released? Sometimes, they may be suitable for a new job: an education ambassador. This episode highlights the selection criteria and welfare considerations that are essential to determine if an animal is a good candidate as an animal ambassador. Wildlife ambassadors play a significant role in education, by connecting people to wildlife and conservation issues and inspiring thousands of people worldwide to take action to protect wildlife.

Episode 304: Conservation and Public Policy
This episode highlights the importance of policy action on natural resource and conservation issues and highlights some key pieces of conservation legislation. The American system of land and wildlife management is one built on, and for, public involvement. Learn about how these decisions are made and, most importantly, how to get involved.

Episode 305: Outdoor Ethics 
Spending time outside and connecting with nature and wildlife can be a great joy for many people. That privilege of being outdoors comes with a great responsibility: learning and abiding by a proper set of “outdoor ethics.” This episode highlights a variety of ways that recreationists can minimize their effects on wildlife and the environment. A positive outdoor ethic means always remembering you are a guest in the homes of wild animals and always respecting their space.

Episode 306: Emerging Wildlife Diseases
Where do diseases come from? How are they spread? This episode examines a variety of emerging wildlife diseases, with an emphasis on the One Health concept. While some disease outbreaks may be “natural”, human behaviors and influences are adding additional pressure on wildlife and the landscape, and in the end, all of us – humans, wildlife, and the environment – are affected. Learn more about the field of emerging wildlife diseases and the continually evolving research on what those diseases tell us. 

Episode 307: Careers with Wildlife
The range of career paths that lead to working with wildlife is about as varied as the actual wildlife all around us. This episode features several different people working with or for wildlife, highlighting a collection of stories from their daily lives. Learn more about how to find a career – or volunteer job! –  in this field, including the range of backgrounds and education paths that can lead people to work with wildlife. Even with a diversity of people, organizations and agencies, roles and responsibilities, a number of these professionals work together for a common goal of helping protect wildlife and the environment.

Episode 308: Reconnecting with Nature
The season finale emphasizes the importance of getting outside and cultivating a relationship with nature. While there is an increasing divide between people and the outdoors, we know that deep connections with nature are important to a human’s well-being. Why do we need this connection? What do nature and wildlife do for us?  Join us to hear from a variety of nature enthusiasts on how and why they relate to nature, and how we can help others continue to grow and develop their relationships with the outdoor world.

Untamed on the Radio

Each Saturday, a 90-second radio spot airs on VPM News (88.9 FM) at 9:39 a.m. during Weekend Edition! Listen in and learn about a wide range of seasonal wildlife conservation issues and what you can do to make a difference. 


Interested in bringing Untamed to your local PBS station?

Untamed Seasons One and Two are available to public television stations across the country through American Public Television. Interested viewers may contact their local public television to request that they air Untamed!