15 years “In action for…”: Hannes Jaenicke’s unforgettable encounters

15 years “In action for…”
Hannes Jaenicke’s unforgettable encounters

“Hannes Jaenicke: Working for sea turtles”: Hannes Jaenicke with a newly hatched olive ridley turtle on the beach at Ostional in Costa Rica.

© ZDF / Markus Strobel

Hannes Jaenicke has been on the road with the award-winning documentary series “In action for…” animals for 15 years. What’s his record?

When it says “Hannes Jaenicke: In action for…” on Tuesday evening (9.5., 10:15 p.m., ZDF), then the actor and environmentalist Hannes Jaenicke (63) has been traveling around the world for 15 years to shine the spotlight on harrowing and beautiful animal fates. This time the focus is on sea turtles. Filming took place in Florida, Costa Rica and Kenya.

The multiple award-winning TV series started in 2008 with “Hannes Jaenicke: In action for orangutans”. Documentaries on polar bears, sharks, gorillas, birds, elephants, lions, dolphins, rhinos, salmon, wolves and pigs followed. After an impressive 15 years, Jaenicke is now taking stock in an interview with spot on news.

You have been “In action for…” animals all over the world for 15 years. What does this impressive number mean to you?

Hannes Jaenicke: On the one hand, it’s great that this series exists. On the other hand, it is sad that we still have to continue them. The climate crisis, species extinction and environmental destruction are accelerating, and far too little and too late is being done about it.

What is your assessment?

Jaenicke: Don’t give up, just keep going!

What is your greatest achievement related to the films?

Jaenicke: A great success is that, for example, the consumption of pork and salmon and unnecessary plastic packaging is actually falling.

Where would you have hoped for more?

Jaenicke: In several of our films we had the issue of CO2 and global warming, but little has changed in the German car fetish – see speed limits or car-free inner cities.

Which animal encounter has stuck in your memory the most over the years?

Jaenicke: The sea turtles, whose skulls were smashed in by fishermen with axes and iron bars, are burned into my memory. Not only did these wonderful animals survive, but years later, after intensive treatment in a sanctuary, they were released back into the wild.

What I also won’t forget are the orcas and dolphins as circus animals in the Nuremberg Zoo, in the Spanish zoo “Loro Parque” and in the US theme park chain “Seaworld”. It is incomprehensible to me that people still look at something like this.

What reaction from viewers has impressed you the most so far?

Jaenicke: The reaction to our salmon film (2020). I was surprised at how little consumers know about this animal – and supposedly healthy food.

How have reactions changed over time?

Jaenicke: I am no longer constantly attacked in the media because of the films and dismissed as an annoying world savior.

Which reaction from a functionary/decision maker (NGO, politics, economy etc.) impressed you the most?

Jaenicke: I was impressed that a large food company reorganized its range of fish after our shark documentary (2009).

Which top five are at the top of your wish list for the next “In action for…” films?

Jaenicke: That would be the topics of soil, whales, penguins and climate change, gene scissors and much more – we won’t run out of material.


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