“The wild dogs cry out in the night, as they grow restless, longing for some solitary company” – not the words of Sir David Attenborough, but rather US band Toto singing “Africa”
Thursday 1 August, 8pm, National Geographic WILD/HD (CH 264/265). Also available for 30 days in Catch Up > Channels > National Geographic
Africa (the continent, not the song) is home to some of the most majestic animals on the planet, among them a host of mighty predators fighting to be at the top of the food chain. This new three-part documentary series spotlights leopards, cheetahs, lions, spotted hyenas and African wild dogs living in the continent’s often unforgiving landscapes.
And while Predator Land isn’t short on fascinating facts, it also highlights the urgent need for conservation efforts to tackle both declining birth rates among these awesome animals and the threat from poachers.
The opening episode focuses on the African leopard, which is capable of surviving and thriving in locations across the world, including Sub-Saharan Africa, Northeast Africa, Central Asia, India and China.
Tragically, both leopards and cheetahs are no longer found in many parts of Africa. The same goes for lions, which have disappeared from more than 92% of their historic range (the natural areas they were known to occupy in the past). South Africa is one of the few countries where lion populations are increasing, with Kruger National Park home to almost 2,000.
The second episode introduces us to two prides, one led by an old male and the other run by three lioness sisters. When the three sisters meet three brothers, a glimmer of hope is sparked by the arrival of some seriously cute lion cubs, indicating that their legacy may yet live on.
The final episode compares wild dogs and hyenas, which are just as fearsome as lions and leopards, as a pack of the former settles in the hyenas’ territory to raise their pups.
All of the predators we’ve mentioned are immensely skilled and definitely deserve their top dog (or cat) status. But how do they stack up when compared to one another? Click/hover on the image below to discover some super stats on these brilliant beasts.
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Image credit: Predator Land © National Geographic