In late 2005, as part of a multimillion-dollar expansion, the opened an exhibit called "Animal Planet Australia: Wild Extreme". Animal Planet and the National Aquarium in Baltimore announced a multi-year partnership the year prior, 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 allowed the possibility of future productions of television programs about the National Aquarium in Baltimore's research and exhibits.
Animal Planet was launched on October 1, 1996; it was created by in cooperation with the . On January 1, 1997, Animal Planet's distribution grew as a result of Advance Entertainment Corporation selling the satellite transponder slot belonging to the (a national feed of /'s , that was implemented following the 1989 passage of the by the ) to Discovery Communications, replacing the feed with Animal Planet outright.
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In 2006, BBC Worldwide sold its 20% interest in the flagship Animal Planet U.S. network back to Discovery Communications. The BBC maintained its 50% ownership in Animal Planet's European, Asian and Latin American channels, as well as a minority interest in Animal Planet Japan and Animal Planet Canada until November 15, 2010, when BBC Worldwide sold 50% interest in Animal Planet and to Discovery Communications for $156 million. Animal Planet is additionally an associate member of the Caribbean Cable Cooperative.
As of February 2015, approximately 94,288,000 American households (81% of households with television) receive Animal Planet.