Return of the Wild

The Bearman of Buncrana

Streaming now on Netflix

“Return of the Wild” is a gripping documentary series produced by Moondance Productions for Netflix. The series follows the incredible journey of Killian, a young lawyer, and his wife Katie, as they embark on an epic adventure to create a world-class wildlife sanctuary in the Irish landscape.

Killian and Katie McLaughlin

Their ambitious project aims to provide a sanctuary for abused brown bears and other rescue animals, returning them to their natural forest habitats. It’s a journey that takes them through many ups and downs, including financial and emotional struggles, managing the two-year build, overcoming bureaucracy and red tape, and battling with big banks.

Katie and Killian McLaughlin
Netflix Poster

But despite the seemingly insurmountable challenges, Killian and Katie remain committed to their mission. They are driven by their passion for conservation and a desire to bring back Irish fauna from the brink of extinction. They want to transform their woodland into a sanctuary for native predators, where these majestic creatures can roam free and thrive.

“Return of the Wild” captures the highs and lows of their journey, showcasing their dogged determination to make their vision a reality. The documentary series is full of heart, passion, high-stakes emotions, big dreams, big predators, and even bigger risks.

One of the most compelling aspects of the series is the relationship between Killian and Katie. The couple are from very different backgrounds – Killian is a country boy at heart, while Katie is a city girl and solicitor from Dublin. But they share a deep love for nature and a desire to make a difference in the world.

Throughout the series, we see the couple face tough challenges that put their relationship to the test. They battle financial strain, emotional exhaustion, and a seemingly endless stream of roadblocks that threaten to derail their mission. But through It all, they remain committed to each other and to their cause.

The series takes us on a journey through the stunning Irish landscape, where we meet a cast of unforgettable characters. We witness the arrival of the animals at the sanctuary and the incredible transformation of the woodland into a world-class wildlife park.

Filming on location
Killian with the wolf pack
Shane Brennan, Director and Producer

But just when it seems like everything is going according to plan, disaster strikes. A series of storms hit the park, crippling visitor numbers and threatening the safety of the animals. And then, just as the park is starting to recover, a global health pandemic emerges, forcing the park to close its doors indefinitely.

Despite these setbacks, Killian and Katie remain determined to see their mission through. They continue to care for the animals and maintain the park, even as they struggle with mounting costs and high emotions without an income.

And then, finally, a glimmer of hope appears. A litter of wild boars brings joy to the world, as videos of the adorable boarlets playing go viral online. It’s a heartwarming moment showing us the power of conservation and the impact one person can make in the world.

“Return of the Wild” is a must-watch documentary series that will leave you inspired and in awe. It’s a testament to the power of passion, determination, and the human spirit.

Killian McLaughlin – Founder and CEO of Wild Ireland

Killian McLaughlin is a conservationist and the founder of Wild Ireland, a wildlife sanctuary in County Donegal, Ireland. He is known as the “Bearman of Buncrana” for his efforts to rescue and rehabilitate brown bears. Killian has a background in law, but his passion for wildlife conservation led him to pursue his dream of creating a sanctuary for abused animals. He is dedicated to bringing native Irish species back from the brink of extinction and educating the public about the importance of protecting wildlife and the restoration of the Irish ecosystem.

How did this documentary come about?

I remember meeting Shane Brennan during my work experience at Dublin Zoo. He was filming a series about the zoo, the animals and the keepers that look after them. I couldn’t help but share my idea for a Wildlife park in Donegal that focused on native animals with him. I remember feeling nervous and unsure of his response, but he seemed to genuinely believe in the concept. He told me to contact him if it ever got off the ground.

Fast forward 12 years later, and I finally got the courage to call Shane. I wasn’t even sure if he would remember me, but to my surprise, he did. He sent his cameraman, Pashcal, to Donegal the very next day to start filming the series.

Shane and Pashcal became a part of our family in Wild Ireland. They were always there, capturing every moment, every emotion, in a way that felt genuine and true. It was a rollercoaster of two years, and they captured it all with honesty and integrity.

It’s amazing to think that our shared passion for wildlife and conservation led us to travel the world together, visiting rescue animals and filming their stories. I’m incredibly grateful to have had this opportunity, and I hope that Return of the Wild will be a success on Netflix, and help to raise awareness for animal rescue efforts.

Looking back, it’s clear that Shane’s belief in my idea was a turning point in my career. It’s a reminder that when you have a dream, it’s important to share it with others, and to never give up on it.