Television

Animal Planet announces search for Hero of the Year

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MUMBAI: Animal Planet in the US has announced the launch of its nationwide search for Hero of the Year, which is presented in partnership with the makers of Fresh Step litter. The campaign recognizes and celebrates animal lovers across the country who invest their time, talent and spirit to help animals in their community.

The campaign will run for eight months and nominations will be accepted from now through 27 August 2006. Anyone who works to improve animal welfare, from veterinarians to a neighbor who helps strays, is eligible for nomination. Once the nomination process closes, a panel of judges will select 10 finalists.

People's choice voting on the finalists begins 25 September and runs through 8 October. The winner will be announced in the week of 30 October, in conjunction with Heroes Week and the airing of premiere episodes of Animal Planet Heroes programming. The winner will receive a trip to Hawaii for two, and Animal Planet will donate $10,000 to his or her favorite animal related charity.

"Many people have a connection to animals, but some people rise to the challenge and take that connection to another level by dedicating their time and energy to the protection and preservation of animals. Honouring individuals who are making a difference for animal welfare in their communities is just one way to show Animal Planet's commitment, and we are pleased the makers of Fresh Step litter have partnered with us on this initiative," said Animal Planet executive vice president and general manager Maureen Smith.

As part of Animal Planet's Hero of the Year campaign, AnimalPlanet.com features Guido Daniele's amazing transformations of human hands into animals. Guido uses traditional portrait techniques - photography and oil paints - to help him create life-like looking animals on people's hands such as dogs, elephants and birds. Nominees for Hero of the Year are lending a hand to improve animal welfare, and Guido's art symbolizes their efforts. In addition, AnimalPlanet.com contains information on how anyone can be a hero to animals in their own community.

To nominate a hero, viewers must submit a 250-word or less essay to AnimalPlanet.com that describes the cause the nominee supports; the activities and actions that demonstrate the nominee's commitment to the cause; the accomplishment and impact of the actions, and how the nominee's actions may have inspired others to get involved with the cause.

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