Behind the scenes with Peter Gros

Photos submitted to Times Observer Peter Gros.

Mutual of Omaha’s wildlife ambassador Peter Gros has led a storied life in his quest to inspire the love of all creatures great and small.

Among his adventures: Gros has chased a 12-foot python through the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, liberated a tarantula from inside Jay Leno’s shirt, bottle-fed a 500-pound Bengal Tiger, dodged rocks thrown by African elephants, and come face-to-face with a cattle-eating 15-foot crocodile.

Gros’ next adventure will bring him to Warren and the Struthers Library Theatre on March 3 for a show featuring up-close-and-personal experiences with his wild animal family.

During the show, Gros will share funny, thrilling and inspiring stories about his encounters with wildlife and give audiences hands-on and fly-over experiences with his magnificent animals. Gros incorporates film from past adventures and live-action video of the wild animal stars of the show to share the power of these beautiful creatures while providing interesting and useful facts about their lives and habits.

Gros will appear at SLT on Sunday, March 3, at 2 p.m. Tickets are $16, $20 or $24, and are on sale now online, at the theatre office weekdays between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. or by calling (814) 723-7231.

Photos submitted to Times Observer Peter’s Mutual of Omaha days.

To welcome the wildlife ambassador to Warren — as well as to give local animal lovers a chance to meet Gros, the Struthers Library Theatre and Audubon Community Nature Center have teamed up to offer a benefit event called “Behind the Scenes with Peter Gros,” with help from Whirley DrinkWorks! and Northwest Bank.

Thirty lucky individuals who purchase a $30 “Behind the Scenes with Peter Gros” benefit tickets from the Audubon will receive admission to the show as well as a pre-show photo session and meet-and-greet with Gros and one of his critters.

The meet and greet will take place at 1 p.m. in the Mead Family Library Room at the Struthers Library Theatre. The show follows at 2 p.m. in the theatre. Tickets to “Behind the Scenes with Peter Gros” may be purchased only through the Audubon website or by calling (716) 569-2345 from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

“We are grateful to come together with Struthers Library Theatre to benefit the community, the Audubon and wild animals everywhere,” said John Beard, Chairman of the Audubon Community Nature Center Board. “It will be a thrill for folks of all ages to meet Peter Gros, a giant in wildlife conservation, park management and advocate for the appreciation of animals.”

“The theatre has a long-standing tradition of collaborating with community businesses and non-profits,” said Struthers Library Theatre Executive Director Wendy McCain. “We are thrilled to team up with the Audubon and Peter Gros. The Wild Kingdom show offers an incredible opportunity for children and adults to learn more about the wildlife essential to healthy ecosystems and to encourage us to be responsible stewards of our lands and resources, especially here in the heart of the Allegheny National Forest and Allegheny Wilds.”

“We need to continue to deliver a powerful message about how each of us can make a daily difference in preserving our natural world,” said Gros. “We need to educate our nation’s youth about the importance of wildlife conservation. When a child sees these magnificent animals up close there’s an immediate connection and concern about wildlife and wild places.”

Gros has nearly 30 years of field experience with captive wildlife. In his former position as Director of Land Animals and vice president at Marine World/Africa USA, he established breeding programs for 377 endangered animals. He also developed a rehabilitation program for birds of prey, as well as the largest captive breeding colony of ostriches in the United States. He is a licensed Exhibition & Animal Educator for the U.S.D.A. and an active member of the American Zoo and Aquariums Association and Zoological Association of America. Gros is also on the Board of Directors of the Suisun Marsh Natural History Association.

A Word About the Animals: The animal ambassadors appearing with Gros are licensed both state and federal and fully insured. The animals are hand raised on bottles or have been rescued so they are completely imprinted on people. The hand-raised animals’ ambassadors associate people with food rewards and affection… in other words, they are spoiled and loved.

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