In the event of a disaster, it's gone for Douglas Thron.
Oakland resident, Thron is a videographer who has hunted climate disasters around the world to save animals from hurricanes, firestorms and floods that continue to grow in frequency and intensity.
Now his compassionate work has been captured for everyone to see in the uplifting six-part documentary series 'Doug to the Rescue', which premiered Thursday, June 10 on CuriosityStream.
The series follows Thron around the world as he uses drone technology to spot and hunt down pets and other creatures amid the rubble of a disaster area. Episode 1, for example, opens with Thron in the Bahamas where Hurricane Dorian hit the Abaco Islands with Category 5 ferocity in 2019.
Destruction is everywhere. Hundreds of homes have been destroyed. It would take hours to walk through the area, but with his drone, Thron can fly over it in minutes and is thus able to spot two pit bulls in desperate need of food and water.
As the soft-spoken Thron points out, his flying machine "isn't like the drones you can buy at the mall." It is equipped with infrared technology, a super zoom camera and a projector, which greatly facilitate its research missions.
Later in the same episode, Thron finds himself just an hour from his Oakland home - in Vacaville, where the LNU Lightning Complex Fires burned down houses, roads and surrounding hills last year. He scours social media for posts about missing pets and, at one point, locates several malnourished horses.
Thron, we learn, knew at the age of 4 that he wanted to become director of wildlife photography after falling under the spell of "Wild Kingdom" on television. Growing up in Texas, he repeatedly owned a large assortment of animals, including turtles, snakes, and even a beaver.
As a young adult, Thron used his skills to make a living making high-end homes for real estate companies. But he found the job unsatisfactory. Today, he is known as one of the most experienced drone pilots in the world, filming for television networks like National Geographic and the Discovery Channel.
Although he lives on a boat in Oakland with a dog he rescued named Duke, Thron spends most of his time on the road. Last year's devastating bushfires in Australia, for example, kept him there for seven months.
“I have to fight for the animals and the wilderness,” he insists.
“Doug to the Rescue” has a little something for everyone - from animal lovers and environmentalists to tech junkies. There are images of destruction that will overwhelm you, but also images that will give you back faith in humanity.
And when you see Thron clinging to a rescued baby koala, don't be surprised if your heart gets all soft and spongy.
Contact Chuck Barney at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter.com/chuckbarney and Facebook.com/bayareanewsgroup.chuckbarney.
This article appeared first (in English) on https://www.mercurynews.com/2021/06/08/oakland-man-shines-in-heartwarming-animal-rescue-series/