Animal Planet, launched in 1996, is a cable and satellite television network co-owned 80% by Discovery Communications, Inc. (parent company of Discovery Channel, TLC, Discovery Health Channel, and The Travel Channel) and 20% by BBC Worldwide. The channel is dedicated to programming that highlights the relationship between humans and animals.


On January 1, 1997, Animal Planet's distribution grew as a result of Discovery Communications buying the channel space of WOR EMI Service, a national feed of New York's WWOR-TV that was implemented in the light of the SyndEx laws enforced by the FCC.

It is available throughout the United States, and in over 70 countries around the world. In New Zealand, Animal Planet is broadcast on SKY Network Television.

Country-specific versions of the channel have been created in Canada, India, and other countries.

The National Aquarium in Baltimore has an exhibit named Animal Planet Australia: Wild Extreme which opened in late 2005 in a multi-million dollar expansion. Animal Planet and the National Aquarium in Baltimore in 2004 announced a multi-year partnership which produced an original orientation film that gives Aquarium visitors background on the Australian area which inspired the new exhibit and a dedicated area inside the expansion where visitors can learn about Animal Planet's conservation efforts and other programming. The partnership also has possible future production of TV programs about the National Aquarium in Baltimore's research and exhibits. On September 4, 2006, Steve Irwin, one of the network's most renowned personalities, died from a rare Stingray attack.