Big Cat Week on Nat Geo WILD

Monday, December 6 kicks off Big Cat Week on the Nat Geo WILD channel — seven nights of programs dedicated to the world’s fiercest felines.  The event is an extension of the Big Cats Initiative, a long-term commitment by the National Geographic Society and Nat Geo WILD to stop poaching, save habitat, and raise the call that big steps are needed to save big cats around the world.

lion eyes

Photo by Beverly Joubert

Don’t miss the premieres of these films:

Big Cat Odyssey: 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.

Two lion cubs

Photo by Beverly Joubert

The video below depicts the attack of a buffalo by a whole pride of lions.

Leopard Queen: 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.

Leopard in tree

Photo by Susanne Baden

In the video below, watch Manana as a cub, exploring the world around her and learning essential survival skills.

Lion Warriors: Wednesday, December 8, at 9pm ET/PT
In the Great Plains below Mt. Kilimanjaro in Kenya, Maasai warriors have a centuries-old tradition of killing the lions that kill their cattle. But now only about 2000 lions are left in the country (and the number is dropping), so Maasai elders and chiefs have forbidden the warriors to kill 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.

Lionness

Photo by Richard Jones

The video below shows the initiation of two Maasai teens where they will officially become warriors and men.

Lions on the Edge: 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. Watch the hunting strategies of the lion pride as they attack a herd of zebras in the video below.

Also featured during Big Cat Week are two specials that take place in Botswana’s Okavango Delta: Eye of the Leopard, which captures the life of a female leopard, from cub to feared predator, and Relentless Enemies, which focuses on the fight for survival of highly specialized lions that prey almost exclusively on buffalo.

Great Migrations on National Geographic Channel

The seven-part programming event, Great Migrations, is coming to National Geographic Channel starting this Sunday, November 7 at 8pm.

After two and a half years in the field, the National Geographic Great Migrations team has chronicled epic animal migration in 20 countries across all seven continents.  The seven-hour mini series is narrated by Emmy and Golden Globe award winner Alec Baldwin.

Watch the videos below for a preview this fascinating documentary:

Red Crab Migration
The red crabs of Christmas Island must travel five miles on land en masse to reach the water to breed.  For a crab, this distance represents an ultramarathon.  They face many harrowing obstacles along the way, including dehydration, cars, and yellow crazy ants.

Nomadic Elephants
In Mali, a land-locked, arid country in Western Africa, African elephants must migrate in 300-mile circle from watering hole to watering hole in order to survive.

Monarch Butterfly: Growing Up Butterfly
The migratory monarch butterfly will travel south to Mexico for the winter to avoid the frosts which would kill it. Watch the amazing transformation of the monarch butterfly from egg to caterpillar to butterfly before it begins its long trek southward.

Don’t miss Great Migrations on the National Geographic Channel on Sunday, November 7, at 8pm.

Expedition Wild Returns

Next Monday, September 27 at 9pm ET/PT, Expedition Wild with Casey Anderson will return to Nat Geo Wild.  The first episode takes place in Yellowstone National Park during the spring.

From National Geographic:

In Yellowstone National Park, baby season is in full swing, and Casey is prepared for the unpredictable. As grizzlies devour elk calves, vigilant mothers must defend their vulnerable newborns from aggressive predators.  Witness the animals learning new skills as newborn bighorn sheep traverse treacherous cliffs and young bison learn to swim. Casey sets out to find ravenous bears as they emerge from their dens, and witnesses a feathered family drama while introducing an orphaned great horned owlet to new siblings. The long winter may be over, but the spring drama is no less wild!

Watch a video of baby bighorn sheep and baby pronghorns:

Watch a video of Casey placing an orphaned great horned owlet with a new family:

Upcoming Animal Programs on NatGeo

There are several very interesting programs airing in the next few days on NatGeo that focus on animals. Be sure to tune in!

My Child is a Monkey
Airing Friday, August 13 at 5pm ET/PT

They wear diapers and ride in strollers but, they’re not babies — they are “monkids.” NGC goes inside the controversy of adopting monkeys as surrogate babies. Many question whether this is animal cruelty or even a danger to the owners. Others are fiercely devoted to these primates they see as part of the family. See just how far these wild monkeys have come from their treetop habitat as we explore this growing phenomenon.

Watch a video clip that outlines some of the issues that come with integrating a wild animal into a human family.

And Man Created Dog
Airing Friday, August 13 at 9pm ET/PT

If humans were as varied as dogs we would range in height up to 22 feet tall and in weight more than 1,000 pounds. In the ultimate canine ancestral story, NGC traces the genetic journey from wolf to dog, taking viewers back 100,000 years to meet the “mother of all dogs.” It’s no accident that dogs evolved this way, as humans have been selectively breeding them for around 14,000 years to serve our needs as laborer, companion, hunter, herder and warrior, as well as to suit our aesthetic fancy.

In this video clip, we meet an incredible therapy dog named Tuesday who helps an Iraq veteran to overcome his debilitating PTSD.

Wild Nights: New Orleans
Airing Monday, August 9, 2010, at 9pm ET/PT

We journey to the “Big Easy,” famous for streets packed with party fanatics, but they aren’t alone. Mireya’s on a treasure hunt to find as much wildlife as possible and even hopes to confirm a rumor about an unexpected urban invader—a feral hog. We’ll follow as she searches through parks, swamps and city streets to find New Orleans’s wildest animals—including large invasive rodents called nutria that have been devouring the New Orleans ecosystem. She goes on a late-night escapade with a city-hired hog-hunting squad to catch hogs in a central New Orleans park, and eats bayou food including frogs and bugs … local style!

Watch this clip of Mireya tracking down the elusive New Orleans urban hog in a residential neighborhood.