S36 Ep5

The Cheetah Children

Premiere: 11/8/2017 | 00:00:35 |

For nearly two years in the forested hills of Zimbabwe, wildlife cameraman Kim Wolhuter shadowed a wild cheetah family on foot, to reveal in intimate detail the cubs’ remarkable journey to adulthood and their mother’s dedication in raising them.

About the Episode

Life on the African plains is a constant struggle, and for a single mother rearing her offspring, the odds seem to be stacked against them. This is an inspiring tale about motherhood and family, as we follow a cheetah family on the grasslands through the eyes of conservationist and cameraman Kim Wolhuter. The mother is completely on her own, protecting her five newborn cubs and teaching them how to hunt some of the continent’s fastest game. Watch as the inquisitive cubs explore the world around them and discover their place in the forests of Zimbabwe. Over time, two sister cubs survive and develop into brave and successful predators ensuring their species will give birth to another generation. One hour.

Noteworthy Facts:

  • The Malilangwe Game Reserve in Zimbabwe, where the film takes place, is a dangerous place for cheetah cubs, as the 200-square-mile area is filled with other predators.
  • Cheetah mothers do not have partners or sisters to assist in feeding and protecting their cubs. They have just over a year to teach their young to survive in the wilderness without them.
  • Wolhuter aids an injured animal he is observing if the injury is manmade and/or if the animal is an endangered species. (Wolhuter aids one of the cheetah cubs after it suffers a baboon bite across the shoulder in the film.)
  • Many cheetah cubs do not make it to adulthood, a statistic that presents a daunting challenge for Africa’s cheetah population.
  • A mother cheetah leaving her scent where it will lure male cheetahs is a sign she is ready for another cycle of motherhood and it’s the end of her cubs’ childhoods, as the cubs no longer follow her after she leaves her mark.

Buzzworthy Moment:

  • After two cubs are killed by predators, a third cub succumbs to a sudden, mysterious illness. Despite the mother’s calls for her cub to follow, the cub cannot move and dies by night fall. The mother cheetah has now lost three of her five cubs in seven months.
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NARRATOR
CHRIS MORGAN

WRITER & DIRECTOR
ROBYN KEENE-YOUNG

PRODUCERS
ADRIAN BAILEY
KIM WOLHUTER

CINEMATOGRAPHER
KIM WOLHUTER

EDITOR
MATT MEECH

ORIGINAL MUSIC
ALAN LAZAR

ADDITIONAL PHOTOGRAPHY
ADRIAN BAILEY
SOPHIE DARLINGTON
HEINRICH VAN DEN BERG

LOCATION SOUND
DEREK SOLOMON

INTERVIEW SOUND
ROBYN KEENE-YOUNG

DUBBING MIXER
VAUGHAN PHILLIPS

COLORIST
GRAHAM COOKE

SPECIAL THANKS
MALILANGWE GAME RESERVE
TARYN BURNS

FOR THE BBC

PRODUCTION COORDINATORS
CASSY WALKLING
JOANNA MANLEY

PRODUCTION MANAGERS
HELENA BERGLUND
PAULINE GATES
WENDHY SIERRA

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
TIM MARTIN

SERIES EDITOR
ROGER WEBB

FOR NATURE

SERIES EDITOR
JANET HESS

SENIOR PRODUCER
LAURA METZGER LYNCH

COORDINATING PRODUCER
JAYNE JUN

ASSOCIATE PRODUCER
JAMES BURKE

LEGAL COUNSEL
BLANCHE ROBERTSON

DIGITAL PRODUCER
ERIC R. OLSON

SOCIAL MEDIA EDITOR
WHITNEY MCGOWAN

SENIOR PUBLICIST
JOHANNA BAKER

BUDGET CONTROLLER
JAYNE LISI

ONLINE EDITOR
STACEY DOUGLASS MOVERLEY

RE-RECORDING MIXER
ED CAMPBELL

ORIGINAL FUNDING PROVIDED IN PART BY
THE ARNHOLD FAMILY IN MEMORY OF CLARISSE ARNHOLD
THE HALMI FAMILY IN MEMORY OF ROBERT HALMI, SR.
SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III
KATE W. CASSIDY FOUNDATION
LILLIAN GOLDMAN CHARITABLE TRUST
FILOMEN M. D’AGOSTINO FOUNDATION
ROSALIND P. WALTER
SANDRA ATLAS BASS
CORPORATION FOR PUBLIC BROADCASTING

SERIES PRODUCER
BILL MURPHY

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
FRED KAUFMAN

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