updated 10/9/2006 8:52:17 AM ET 2006-10-09T12:52:17

Heinz Sielmann, a German zoologist and internationally acclaimed documentary filmmaker whose works included "Vanishing Wilderness" and "Masters of the Congo Jungle," has died. He was 89.

Sielmann was best known in Germany for a 30-year-long television series called "Expeditions into the Animal Kingdom" that made him a household name.

He also collaborated with National Geographic to produce several documentaries in the 1960s and 1970s that were shown around the globe.

Sielmann completed his first film, a documentary on birds, in 1938.

In 1994, he established a foundation in Germany to promote wildlife preservation and teach children the importance of respecting nature.

Sielmann died Friday in his sleep, surrounded by his family in Munich. He will be buried in the western German town of Duderstadt, his foundation said Sunday.

He is survived by his wife, Inge.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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