New Delhi :
From lions, tigers and cheetahs to jaguars, cougars and more - incredible big cats that are revered around the world and now some of the most threatened species on Earth are being featured on the National Geographic Channel in special series of programmes.
Termed the ‘Big Cat Week’, the Nat Geo WILD has dedicated a week-long of programming beginning February 29 featuring shows around these wild animals.
One show titled ‘The Big Cat Games’ pits the world’s most ferocious land predators against each other in a series of challenges that pushes them to the limits of their athletic abilities.
Lions, cheetahs and tigers are the heavyweight hunters of the natural world and run, leap and stalk on a daily basis— and go claw-to-claw in four events: the leap test, the bite test, the hunt and the swimming gala.
“With full access and support already in place with Busch Gardens in Tampa, Florida, we’ve carefully devised a series of tests that’ll not only make great TV but will also genuinely advance our understanding of these big cats’ behavior,” says the channel.
Overseeing the games is specialist Boone Smith - a man who has worked with ferocious felines across the world.
Another programmed ‘Animal Fight Night: Big Cat Special’ brings the viewer closer than ever before to adrenaline-packed fights from Africa, the Americas and beyond.
Lions fight tooth and claw to protect their pride from outsiders, and tigers fight their own brothers for rights to the hunting ground.
In Africa, the Big Cats of the savannah all go head-to-head with their ultimate enemy-the hyena.
Cats have an arsenal of weapons that strike terror into nearly every animal on earth, and when they go to war against them-or each other-the fur always flies.
In ‘Vanishing Kings: Desert Lions of Namib’, the show portrays the lives of an old lioness and her two daughters are holding the key to the future of all desert lions.
Shot in the ancient Namib Desert around Africa’s Skeleton Coast Park, in a harsh and extreme landscape the programme observes over an extended period the secret lives of the lions and their five male cubs, who head out to make a life of their own.
Scientist Philip Stander who has studied the small population of desert lions for nearly two decades and monitors this significant pride closely as they roam the rugged mountains, the majestic sand dunes, the endless gravel plains and sometimes even the beaches of the Skeleton Coast.
‘The Lakeshore Killers’ takes a look deep into the Zambezi Valley in Africa’s heart, in whose centre lies an Eden like lake where three male lions Takunda, Gombwe and Zindoga who are coming into their prime.
In ‘Pride: Rulers at Risk,’ explores the natural history of African lions living near the Olkeju Rongai stream and the
Mara River in southern Kenya. The mini-series focuses on the lives of two particularly prides, using thermal imaging cameras to capture their nighttime as well as daytime activities.
In ‘Pride: Days of Danger’ Lions, the rulers of the Savannah, are seen as being unbeatable as a pride, located at the Ronkai River in the south of Kenya . But even they have to fight every day for their lives.
In a special section of ‘Big Cat Week’ celebrating the wildlife day on March 3 airs ‘An Amazing Animal Family -Birth of a Family’. The show travels to the jungles of Thailand to to meet the oldest cat alive on the planet, the mysterious clouded leopard.
It ventures on to the snowy north to meet the largest cat on the planet, the mighty Siberian Tiger and then proceeds to the mighty African savannah to meet the king of the cats, the Lion.
The host Patrick then flies by helicopter into the remote jungles of Borneo to meet the next cat dynasty - The bay cats- one of the most secretive of the cats.
The group of African cats are some of the most bizarre looking of any feline and the show discovers they have evolved a super-powered leap which enables them to adopt a unique hunting style - they pluck birds from the air mid-flight!
Finally the show meets a peculiar looking Serval- a cat armed with super-sized ears so sensitive they can pinpoint even the tiniest rodent in the African grassland.
‘An Amazing Animal Family - New World’ another March 3 special goes into the the tangled jungles of Central America to meet the the Ocelot dynasty—tiny jungle cats who have mastered the canopy through breath-taking agility. beginning with the tiny Margay, the show discovers the Lynx- the next dynasty of cats that broke away and ventured north to conquer the snows.
Travelling to Montana - the show’s host Patrick gets up close to Canada Lynx kittens and sees how their thick polar coat and giant snow-shoe paws have allowed them to thrive in a sub-zero landscape.
Venturing to the Texan desert Patrick goes in search of the Puma dynasty, an elusive group of cats that have adapted to thrive throughout the many different American terrains.
The Cheetahs, the Leopard cats, the Pallas cat, a Himalayan hermit and the Wild Cats - a dynasty that includes the familiar House cat are all featured.