Experience Unrivalled Access To Highly Endangered Species & Learn About Conservation Efforts To Repopulate Them in the Wild in Pandas: The Journey Home

April 29, 2014

Experience Unrivalled Access To Highly Endangered Species & Learn About Conservation Efforts To Repopulate Them in the Wild in
Pandas: The Journey Home

New England Premiere May 2 at the Museum of Science Mugar Omni Theater

Boston—The giant panda is one of the rarest species on our planet. A shy, elusive and gentle creature, they once ranged in great numbers between Beijing and the Himalayas. But now, after centuries of human expansion and destruction of their habitat, the giant pandas are on the brink of extinction, with fewer than 1,600 remaining. Visitors to the Museum of Science, Boston will experience a unique glimpse into one of the most incredible conservation efforts in human history in the New England premiere of Pandas: The Journey Home, a groundbreaking new IMAX film presented by National Geographic Entertainment, coming to the Mugar Omni Theater on Friday, May 2, 2014.

The film captures the highly endangered giant pandas living in Wolong National Nature Reserve in the People’s Republic of China. Audiences will see the fascinating habits and unique personalities of one of the world’s most beloved animals as never before, experience an incredible story of survival, and meet the team working to save this precious species. Narrated by Joely Richardson, the 40-minute large format film follows the pandas at a significant milestone in their history. After decades of captive breeding, the Wolong National Nature Reserve has hit its target number of 300 giant pandas and now must tackle the challenge of reintroducing breeding populations of the species to the wild. Viewers are introduced to one of the residents, Tao-Tao, who is destined to be released into the remote LiTzu Ping reserve, where only 13 pandas remain. The hope is that Tao-Tao, strong and healthy, will find a female panda and introduce a new bloodline to this precious wild group. Tao-Tao could be the last chance of survival for this tiny population of giant pandas.

“We are thrilled to offer our visitors the opportunity to experience the remarkable world of these treasured animals,” said Paul Fontaine, Museum of Science vice president of education. “Pandas: The Journey Home is an extraordinary picture of how pandas live and the astonishing measures conservationists are taking to ensure their future. Viewers will leave with a deeper admiration of the species and a greater awareness of the urgency to save them from extinction.”

Filmmakers were given unrivalled access to the Wolong National Nature Reserve with the support of the Chinese Wildlife Conservation Association and the China Conservation and Research Centre for the Giant Panda. Oxford Scientific Films was granted permission to film the rare release of a panda bred in captivity and to follow a group of pandas being prepared for the wild in a mountain habitat, a first for a Western film crew. Alongside the natural breeding program, the film also captures the captive breeding program, including footage of newborns, young pandas playing, and methods of encouraging pandas to mate.

Pandas: The Journey Home will give audiences insight into the extraordinary strides that have been made towards saving the panda in the wild, but will also convey that much work has yet to be done,” said Lisa Truitt, president of National Geographic Cinema Ventures (NGCV). “This is an important story, and National Geographic is grateful for the special access in order to feature the iconic, beloved, charismatic panda on the giant screen.”

Directed by Nicolas Brown (Human Planet) and produced by Caroline Hawkins (Meerkats 3D), Pandas: The Journey Home, is an Oxford Scientific Films Production for National Geographic Entertainment and Sky 3D, in association with the Chinese Wildlife Conservation Association, Wolong Panda Conservation Centre, CCTV9 and Nat Geo WILD.

The Mugar Omni Theater is New England's only IMAX® Dome theater, and continues to provide visitors with some of the world's most awe-inspiring experiences via its five-story-high screen and heart-thumping surround sound system. The Omni Theater has welcomed more than 17.5 million visitors, transporting them to some of the world's most wondrous places.

Pandas: The Journey Home is sponsored by MathWorks. Admission to the Mugar Omni Theater is $10 for adults, $9 for seniors (60 +) and $8 for children (3-11).For information on tickets and showtimes, please call 617-723-2500, 617-589-0417 (TTY) or visit the Museum's web site at mos.org.

About National Geographic Cinema Ventures/National Geographic Entertainment
National Geographic Cinema Ventures/National Geographic Entertainment is responsible for production and distribution of giant screen, 3-D and specialty films. Over the last decade, NGCV/NGE has produced or released a number of successful films, including Oscar-nominated documentaries “Restrepo” and “The Story of the Weeping Camel”; giant-screen award-winning films “Sea Monsters: A Prehistoric Adventure,” “U2 3D,” “Mysteries of Egypt” and “Forces of Nature”; and feature-length films “The Last Lions” and “Life in a Day.” Lisa Truitt is president of NGCV/NGE, and Mark Katz is president of NGCV/NGE distribution. For more information, visit www.nationalgeographic.com/movies.

About the Museum of Science, Boston
One of the world's largest science centers and Boston's most attended cultural institution, the Museum introduces about 1.5 million visitors a year to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) via dynamic programs and hundreds of interactive exhibits. Founded in 1830, the Museum was first to embrace all the sciences under one roof. The Hall of Human Life, a groundbreaking 10,000-square-foot exhibition drawing from the latest discoveries in the life sciences engages visitors in their own biology and health. Other highlights include the Thomson Theater of Electricity, Charles Hayden Planetarium, Mugar Omni Theater, Gordon Current Science & Technology Center, Butterfly Garden, and new 4-D Theater opening in August 2014. Reaching over 20,000 teens a year worldwide via the Intel Computer Clubhouse Network, the Museum also leads a 10-year, $41 million National Science Foundation-funded Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network of science museums. The Museum’s “Science Is an Activity” exhibit plan has been awarded many NSF grants and influenced science centers worldwide. Its National Center for Technological Literacy®'s engineering curricula have reached over 70,400 teachers and 5.1 million students nationwide. The Museum has also: been recognized by Boston and Cambridge for energy and sustainability efforts; named an Employer of Choice by Work Without Limits, a Massachusetts disability employment initiative; is Yankee Magazine's "Best of New England Readers' Choice" for Cultural Attraction in Science and "Best of New England -- Editors' Choice" for Best Sky Show; and is El Planeta's Best Tourist Attraction for the Massachusetts Latino population. The Museum's Undiscovered Worlds was recognized as the “Best Immersive—Fulldome Program” by the Jackson Hole Science Media Awards. Visit http://www.mos.org. Follow the Museum of Science on Twitter at @MuseumOfScience or Facebook at www.facebook.com/museumofscience.

Press Contacts

AJ Gosselin: 617.589.0251 or agosselin@mos.org
Erin Shannon: 617-589-0250 or eshannon@mos.org

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