Big Cat Month 2021

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Big Cat Month 2021

National Geographic Wild’s Big Cat Month 2021 Features Seven (7) Premiere Specials Highlighting Big Cats.

Big Cat Month Kicks Off 7 February 2021 with the premiere of Jade Eyed Leopard, narrated by award-winning actor Jeremy Irons and directed by acclaimed local big-cat filmmakers Dereck and Beverly Joubert.

National Geographic Wild’s 10th Big Cat Month highlights the National Geographic Society’s commitment to conservation through its Big Cats initiative, which supports on-the-ground research and efforts to help protect big cats and their habitats.

JOHANNESBURG, 20 JANUARY 2021. February marks the tenth anniversary of National Geographic Wild’s Big Cat Month. This year’s outing is the biggest yet, with seven premiere specials highlighting the majestic and wondrous large felines of our world.

However, big cats are facing substantial challenges. For many populations, extinctions are imminent due to habitat loss, degradation and conflicts with humans. The National Geographic Society has a long history of raising awareness of the plight of big cats. They also support impactful conservation efforts across the planet. In response, they are partnering their Big Cats Initiative with National Geographic Wild for Big Cat Month.

On Sunday 7 February at 6 PM, National Geographic Wild (StarSat channel 221) kicks off Big Cat Month with Jade Eyed Leopard, from world-renowned local big-cat filmmakers, National Geographic Explorers and co-founders of the Big Cat Initiative, Beverly and Dereck Joubert. Narrated by the Academy® Award-winning and Emmy® Award-nominated actor Jeremy Irons (WatchmenThe Lion King), the one-hour special transports viewers to an idyllic paradise, where for the first time, National Geographic cameras capture the story of a young leopard, Toto, during the critical first three years of her life. Viewers follow this cub with deep aquamarine eyes – an exceptionally rare trait – and experience her challenges and triumphs firsthand as Toto learns the fundamental skills of survival and makes her passage to adulthood. With leopards now occupying just 25-37 per cent of their historic range, and six of the nine subspecies of leopard at significant risk of extinction, Jade Eyed Leopard is a timely addition to the programming.

Cecil: The Legacy of a King, premieres Sunday 14 February at 6 PM. This incredible special follows the life and legacy of one of the most famous lions – Cecil. The ultimate big cat king, Cecil was a warrior, a father and a loyal brother. But, his untimely death at the hands of an illegal hunt in Zimbabwe spelt the end of his extraordinary reign. It evokes feelings of fury and sadness to all who hear his tale across the globe.

Still, in Africa, Serengeti Speed Queen tells the story of cheetah Nzuri, the speed queen of the Serengeti – for whom being fast isn’t enough – on Sunday 21 February at 6 PM. She is repeatedly bullied by hyenas on the grassland and hunted by lions in the marsh. When two of her cubs die, the family got exiled to the forest. There, she learns to adapt her hunting methods and adds strategy to speed to outwit her enemies and steer her remaining cubs successfully to adulthood.

Big Cat Month culminates in the premiere of Tiger Queen of Taruby award-winning filmmaker Aishwarya Sridhar on Sunday 28 February at 6 PM. This unique special, filmed over six years, tells Maya’s story in a tiger reserve in Tadoba, Central India. In never-before-seen footage, Bengal tigers chase wild dogs and fight sloth bears. They also feud among themselves over bloodlines and territory. Maya writes her own rules for raising a litter, yet motherhood doesn’t come easy. However, Maya will do whatever it takes to secure her bloodline within the Kingdom of Taru.

“We partnered with the Jouberts 11 years ago to create National Geographic Society’s Big Cats Initiative to shed light on these vital and vulnerable wild felines,” says Colby Bishop, senior director of Wildlife Programs at National Geographic Society. “More than a decade later, the initiative continues to make major strides in its mission to protect big cats in the wild. Including the removal of 13,000 life-threatening snares from their habitats; building more than 2,100 livestock enclosures to reduce human-wildlife conflict with big cats; and providing funds for grantees to work in more than 300 communities. National Geographic Wild is the perfect platform to premiere Jade Eyed Leopard as part of Big Cat Month 2021 and to inspire further a protection for these majestic creatures around the world.”

“Big Cat Month is an exciting television event for us every year and a firm viewer-favourite. This year is particularly special as we will be broadcasting no less than seven premieres highlighting the incredible lives led by these ferocious felines, to many of whom, Africa is home. Even more remarkable is that many of the filmmakers are actively involved in wildlife conservation themselves. Including Aishwarya Sridhar, who makes her debut on the channel with the premiere of Tiger Queen of Taru,” said Evert van der Veer, Vice President, Media Networks, The Walt Disney Company Africa.

Additionally, the month-long event will include several interstitials featuring the National Geographic Explorers working to protect big cats globally. Viewers are encouraged to learn more about the Big Cats Initiative and how they can help safeguard big cats in the wild by visiting natgeo.org/bigcats.

Catch Big Cat Month this February on National Geographic Wild.