The endearing fly-on-the-wall Dublin Zoo series has become one of the most watched TV shows in Belgium, pulling in more than 1m viewers.
The series, which gives an insight into the wild life at the Phoenix Park, has gone global after being picked up by stations in countries as far-flung as Thailand.
The behind-the-scenes series has touches a chord with the audiences as cameras capture the full cycle of life at the zoo, from footage minutes after the birth of baby gorilla Kituba two years ago to the heartbreaking decision to put 25-year-old lioness Sheila to sleep last year.
The Zoo — which has turned the keepers into household names — is now also shown in Denmark, the UK, and the Netherlands and the show makers are in talks to bring it to an even wider international audience.
Zoo keeper Gerry Creighton said fans of the show are now flying in to Dublin to visit the zoo.
“I was stopped here this week by a family from Belgium who had travelled all the way over to visit the zoo because the show goes out in Belgium.
“It’s in places like Holland, Belgium, Thailand. It’s going global and it’s been received with such positive vibes.
“The success of the programme is the honesty of it. The passion of the keepers shines through and their love of their animals.”
An RTÉ spokesperson said the show was one of the most watched programmes in Belgium last year.
She said: “In Belgium, The Zoo programme has 40% share with 1.2m viewers and is in the top 10 most watched programmes in Belgium.
“Outside of Ireland, The Zoo TV series is also broadcast in the Netherlands, Denmark, UK, and Thailand.
“There are ongoing discussions to extend this to other countries.”
Mr Creighton said the show, which has pulled in audiences of over 400,000 viewers in Ireland, has brought a real “feelgood” factor to the zoo which is now renowned for its natural habitats.
* The Zoo will be shown on RTE One on Thursday at 7pm.
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