Monday, December 12, 2011

NatGeo offers "Big Cat Week" on "Wild" Cable Channel

On Sunday December 11, the National Geographic Channel, on a separate National Geographic Wild Channel, launched “Big Cat Week”. The link is here.

The habitat of African cats is seriously threatened, and the lion population is fraction of what it was. Despite their reputation, almost any large cat can learn to accept man, as he is not natural food and not a competitor in their sense.  APL has aired a case where a Toronto zoologist learned lion body language and got the alpha male to allow him to join a pride and film it.  Cats seem a lot like us. 

The listing said that the series started at 8 PM, but at 7 PM there was an episode called “Leopard Queen”.  A British wildlife fillmaker followed the life of a female leopard Manana for 17 years, after she was rescued when her mother died.  Zoologists intervened once with a tranquilizer to fix a life-threatening problem.
I see that I reviewed a similar NatGeo film “Eye of the Leopard” (about Legedema) here July 7, 2008. 

During her life, Manana allowed two competing males to mate with her so that neither would kill her cubs.  Then a python swallowed her only cub. She chase it, forcing it to vomit the carcass before fleeing. In a ritual of mourning, she ate the carcass. 

Later, after the CNN Heroes program, I watched Lions v. Cheetahs.  The filmmakers examined why a lion made an apparently unprovoked attack on cheetahs when mating.  Finally, the filmmakers speculated that on rare occasions cheetahs have killed lion cubs. 

Lions, leopards and hyenas are mortal enemies because they compete for the same game, and often kill offspring.   But male lions (and leopards) will kill the cubs of other males so that their own genes get passed. 
This certainly sounds like a commentary on the need for civilization.  

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