As an extension of National Geographic’s Big Cat Initiative, the Nat Geo Wild Channel is having Big Cat Week, a full week of shows featuring Africa’s big cats and including a number of new programs along with some old classic films. The Big Cat Initiative is an aggressive conservation program focused on securing the future of the fast dwindling populations of big cats.
The episodes will be a mix of educating on some of the latest conservation efforts such as the Lion Guardian program and it will also include some films that simply document the wild lives of big cats including Eye of the Leopard filmed by Mombo Camp and Relentless Enemies featuring the dynamic between lions and buffalo at Duba Plains in Botswana. The series kicks off Monday, December 6th with Big Cat Odyssey featuring the lives of famed filmmakers Dereck and Beverly Joubert intertwined with big cats. The Jouberts are the driving force behind the Big Cat Initiative. Below is some more info on the series:
Big Cat Odyssey
Premieres Monday, December 6, at 9PM ET/PT
Award-winning filmmakers and National Geographic Explorers-in-Residence Dereck and Beverly Joubert set out 30 years ago on a quest to get close to big cats. Big Cat Odyssey chronicles their meticulous work over three decades of filming, photographing and documenting the behavior of big cat species in Botswana. They follow lions and leopards through Africa’s harshest climatic extremes, gaining unprecedented access and catching some of the most extreme cat sequences ever filmed. An entire lion pride battles a large buffalo to down the beast. A blood feud erupts when scavenging hyenas move in on the kill. Leopards creep from the bushes to hunt and retreat into the trees before falling prey to larger killers. Beyond the blood and gore lies a stark reality: Big cats kill to live and live to kill.
Premieres Tuesday, December 7, at 9PM ET/PT
Filmmaker John Varty, who filmed a wild female leopard for 17 years, opens an extraordinary window into the lives of Africa’s most secretive big cat. Leopard Queen follows the life of “Manana,” a wild leopard whose territory spans the heart of the Londolozi Game Reserve in South Africa. Manana is plagued by other predators that steal her kills, threaten her cubs and hold her hostage in the treetops. Yet despite the hardship of life as a female leopard, she survives for an incredible 17 years, an age few wild leopards live to see, and in the process, provides a greater understanding of this extraordinary species.
Premieres Wednesday, December 8, at 9PM ET/PT
On the Great Plains below Mt. Kilimanjaro in Kenya, lions are attacking Maasai cattle, as they have for hundreds of years. And the proud Maasai warriors have hunted them ruthlessly in return so that now only about 2,000 remain in the country. If their numbers drop any lower, their populations will not be sustainable. Now the Maasai elders and chiefs are recognizing that the threat to the lions is also a threat to their way of life, and have forbidden the warriors to hunt them. Wildlife filmmaker Kire Godal, with the support of executive producers Dereck and Beverly Joubert, captures firsthand the struggle of these modern-day warriors, who are reinventing their traditions to help save the lions they once prided themselves on killing.
Lions on the Edge
Premieres Thursday, December 9, at 9PM ET/PT
Ruaha National Park in Tanzania used to be a true paradise for wildlife gathered around the rich Ruaha riverbanks. Now, the worst drought in decades is pushing all the animals on a march to find water. The animals follow the dry riverbed upstream for water, while circling prides of lions position themselves close by, waiting for the perfect moment to strike. It’s predator vs. prey in dangerously close quarters.
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