RETURN OF THE WILD - THE BEAR MAN OF BUNCRANA

Just a few centuries ago, Ireland was clothed in a thick blanket of Temperate Rainforest. This Forest was Inhabited by wolves, brown bears, Eurasian lynx, wild boar and many other animals that have since become extinct. Now In a small pocket of Donegal woodland, solicitor Killian McLaughlin will attempt to turn back the hands of time and return all of these majestic animals to their ancestral home.

We follow Killian through the highs and lows of his journey to return the wild animals to their rightful place in the Irish landscape. This character driven documentary will reveal Killian’s compelling mission to bring back Irish fauna from extinction and to transform his woodland into a world class wildlife sanctuary.

By Killian’s side throughout, is his new wife Katie, a city girl and solicitor from Dublin, who has traded the rat race for the wilds of Donegal. This project has the potential to break them financially and emotionally but when they fall in love with some animals in dire need, their commitment to bringing them home becomes unshakable.  Despite battling with big banks, red tape, paperwork and bureaucracy the couple remain committed to doing it anyway they can.

As construction of the lakes, islands and huge habitats begin, the enormity of the project hits home. The couple, unshaken by adversity, knuckle in using their legal minds to cut through legislation and red tape to get the animals home.Animals start to arrive before the park is complete, having nowhere to house them, the couple bring wolves, lynx and deer home to their newly renovated house. The pressure continues to mount, the park must be complete and open before the summer season ends.

Wild Ireland finally opens at the end of autumn 2019, fifteen months behind schedule and three times over the original budget. Nevertheless, visitors flock to welcome back the native predators and learn of Ireland’s lost animals. Killian’s vision is finally realised, but there’s no time for sighs of relief.

The Irish winter bites hard and the park is hit with 6 major storms, crippling visitor numbers. With the storms taking their toll, a global health pandemic emerges, forcing the park to close its doors indefinitely.The animals must be fed and cared for despite the global lockdown and the couple struggling with mounting costs and high emotions without an income.

The arrival of spring brings some hope. A litter of 6 Wild Boar brings delight to the world as videos of the Boarlets playing goes viral online. Wild boar last having roamed Ireland 800 years ago.What’s more, with the park re-opening its gates, Katie gives birth to a beautiful baby boy, Rígan – but are they out of the woods yet?

Return of the Wild is a documentary series full of heart, passion, high-stakes emotions, big dreams, big predators and even bigger risks – it’s certainly not to be missed.

DURATION

4 x 30-minutes

YEAR OF PRODUCTION

2020

PRODUCED BY

Moondance

COUNTRY OF PRODUCTION

Ireland

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