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TODAY   |  October 08, 2013

Billy Bush stars in documentary on rhino poaching

The “Access Hollywood” anchor has a new documentary, but it takes place far from the red carpet. In “Chasing Rhinos with Billy Bush,” he joins a group of scientists trying to preserve the rhinoceros population in the jungles of Nepal.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> billy bush is the anchor of " access hollywood ," cohost of access holly wood live. he's also got something called chasing rhinos with billy bush . take a look.

>> we've nearly maxed out our capture window when the temperature rises. our 19 elephants surround the rhino. the animal is in our sight. everything is now on the line.

>> he's got the gun up. he's aiming. got him.

>> got him.

>> billy bush , good morning.

>> yeah, it's a frightening piece of video. we got him. we got him. but that's just a dart. that's 3 milligrams of sedative to take down a 15 foot tank.

>> i want to talk about the process in a second. could we talk about you for a second, though.

>> what are you doing?

>> i've known you for a long time and you're not the first guy i would pick to get on an elephant and go chasing down rhinos. you're like a hypochondriac and clumsy also.

>> you should have seen me over there. fish out of water . i was the perfect person for this and my great friend is a guy who runs natgeo and he brought the subject to me. it's heartbreaking when you really look at the stats. this is funny right here. this is just taking a break from the intense action. elephants are bathing in the water. they're playful, big guys and they're great.

>> great.

>> but i am the fish out of water . it was a perfect way to -- you know, this is a story that needs to be told. i'm a guy that talks to mainstream every day and these kinds of stories don't make it into our run down but they effected my heart then maybe i would have the opportunity to do that.

>> tell us what the mission was here because as we saw in the opening sound bite , you were trying to capture a rhino and collar it and rerelease it back into the wild . what was the purpose of that?

>> you want to keep the population up. nature is out of balance. other species rely on rhinos and the population is doing fine now but it suffered several years ago. these guys are fabulous. the guys around me, park rangers and military that are working to keep them safe. the collar goal, what we're doing there is putting the collar on and then we can track him and now we have unmanned drones that we flew above the park so you can keep track of the population that way.

>> and there's some moment of danger in this. real danger. first of all is that rhino wakes up from the sedative early that's a moment of danger but also there's poachers there and you could find yourself in between a poacher and a rhino.

>> absolutely. but think about it. you're a poacher -- let's say you're a farmer in napal and you make 10 cents a week trying to feed four kids and a guy that runs a poaching ring comes to you and says we get $35,000 for a rhino horn, get me one horn.

>> that's a situation right there and if you got poor kids you have to consider that.

>> this is dramatic. it culminates with the capture of the rhino. you took part in that. what was your job, billy.

>> i actually had --

>> you know i asked.

>> they surprised me at the end. they're on the ground and we have a 15 minute window to get our work done and the head doctor says okay billy bush take the temperature and i said okay and i run around to the front and i said just open his mouth and they gave me a digital thermometer and said not the front. around we go to the back and for a powerful beast like this, he would not budge. it was impossible to take the temperature. finally it was 97.7.

>> i would have guessed.

>> oh, yeah.

>> doing fine from my end.

>> he's at 98.

>> i'm going to guess you don't have to do that on the red carpet too often.

>> no, i should probably, but no.

>> great idea.

>> thank you.

>> chasing rhinos with billy bush airs sunday night, 9:00, 8:00 central time on nat geo wild . if you'd like more information on how to help the rhinos, head to today.com.