02 Feb Big Cat Month
National Geographic Wild’s Big Cat Month 2022 Celebrates Local Filmmakers
National Geographic Wild’s 11th Big Cat Month showcases a lifetime of wildlife filmmaking by acclaimed local big-cat filmmakers Dereck and Beverly Joubert, including the premiere of their first film on Cheetahs, narrated by award-winning actor Jeremy Irons.
National Geographic Society’s commitment to conservation continues through its Big Cats initiative, which supports on-the-ground research and efforts to help protect big cats and their habitats.
JOHANNESBURG, 26 JANUARY 2022: National Geographic Wild’s 11th annual Big Cat Month takes place this February with a month of programming dedicated to the fiercest felines, creatures of magnificent strength, ferocity and beauty.
(Find a list of all Big Cat Month programmes at the bottom of this article.)
With visually impressive and powerful stories from around the world, from lions, tigers, cheetahs and leopards, to the most unknown and forgotten: such as the serval, the African wildcat or the caracal, viewers can look forward to the fiercest programming on their screens every Saturday and Sunday throughout February from 6 PM (18:00 CAT).
This year, the spotlight will be placed on world-renowned local filmmakers Dereck and Beverley Joubert, with a celebration of their prolific and impactful work, including brand new films. The multiple Emmy-award winning Joubert couple has made more than 35 films for National Geographic. They have also published 12 books, half a dozen scientific papers, and have written many articles for the National Geographic Magazine.
On Sunday, 5 February 2022, at 6 PM (18:00 CAT), National Geographic Wild (channel 221, Super & Max Packages) kicks off Big Cat Month with Relentless Enemies. Relentless Enemies chronicles an epic story of how buffalo and lions survive and adapt to each other. A buffalo herd of over 1,200 is forced to move through three lion territories, confined by the floodwaters on a small island in the Okavango. As the buffalo strategize their advancements, the lions react to every move they make, all captured through the Joubert couple’s lens from their home base in Botswana.
Dereck and Beverly Joubert have made dozens of big cat films for National Geographic over nearly forty years. They never made one on cheetahs, however, until now.
Cheetahs are the most fragile cats, both physically and in numbers, with less than 7,000 remaining on Earth. The Way of the Cheetah, (Sunday 6 February at 6 PM (18:00 CAT)) follows Immani, a sleek female with four new cubs who must navigate the vast plains of the Mara ecosystem. But living here is also a coalition of five males, and to save her cubs, Immani must avoid them. The film includes night shots with thermal cameras, and the Joubert’s capture the lush colours of Africa. However, when it comes to the hunting scenes, these shape-shifting cats appear from nowhere in a blur, captured in ultra-high-speed motion, and the battles turn epic.
Big Cat Odyssey (Revealed) premieres on Sunday 6 February at 6:45 PM (18:45 CAT). Dereck and Beverly Joubert dive deeper into the issues which surround big cats, specifically African lions and leopards. What struggles do these iconic big cats face? How have these lions and leopards survived and adapted over the decades? The Joubert’s lead viewers on a journey through the lives of big cats and their most iconic moments.
The Big Cat content continues throughout the month with various premieres, culminating in War of the Lions on Sunday 27 February at 6:45 PM (18:45 CAT). From Savannahs bursting with game to deserts with not a drop to drink, all lion kingdoms are different. So who is the REAL king of the beasts?
“Big Cat Month continues to be an exciting annual television event, and certainly a firm fan-favourite. This year we are delighted to honour prolific local filmmakers Beverly and Dereck Joubert, whose lifetime of impactful and thought-provoking documentaries have brought viewers a greater appreciation for Africa’s big cats. Families can look forward to a month of fascinating, premiere, in-depth programming that reveals astounding new insights into these remarkable creatures, as well as highlighting the threats they face and the urgent action needed to conserve and protect our big cats for future generations.”
~ Christine Service
Senior Vice President and General Manager of The Walt Disney Company Africa
Big cats are facing challenges. Many populations face potential extinction due to habitat loss, degradation and conflicts with humans. In response, The National Geographic Society, with its long history of raising awareness of the plight of big cats and supporting impactful conservation efforts across the planet, has partnered with the Big Cats Initiative. This initiative, founded by the Jouberts, works with some of the world’s leading big cat experts. It funds on-the-ground research and innovative conservation projects to safeguard big cats and their critical habitats while leading efforts to shine a light on the challenges these species face. 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.
Relentless Enemies – Saturday 5 February at 6 PM (18:00 CAT)
A buffalo herd of over 1,200 must move through three lion territories, confined by the floodwaters on a small island in the Okavango. As the buffalo strategize their advancements, the lions react to every move they make. From the Joubert couple’s home base in Botswana, the epic story of buffalo and lions surviving and adapting to each other gets told. Narrated by Jeremy Irons.
The Way of the Cheetah – Sunday 6 February at 6 PM (18:00 CAT)
There is no other big cat on the planet like a cheetah. These are the most fragile cats physically and in numbers, now under 7,000 left in the world. Our story tells of Immani, a sleek female with four new cubs as they navigate the vast plains of the Mara ecosystem. But living here is also a coalition of 5 males, and to save her cubs, Immani must avoid them.
The film contains night shots with thermal cameras, and we capture the lush colours of Africa. When it comes to the hunting scenes, as these shape-shifting cats appear from nowhere in a blur, captured in ultra-high-speed motion, the battles turn epic.
This is a film by Dereck and Beverly Joubert who have made dozens of big cat films for National Geographic over nearly 40 years, but never on cheetahs.
Big Cat Odyssey (Revealed) – Sunday 6 February at 6:45 PM (18:45 CAT)
Dereck and Beverly Joubert dive deeper into the issues that surround big cats, specifically African lions and leopards. What challenges do these iconic big cats face? How have these lions and leopards survived and adapted over the decades? The Joubert’s lead viewers on an epic journey through the lives of big cats and their most iconic moments.
Ultimate Enemies – Saturday 12 February at 6 PM (18:00 CAT)
National Geographic filmmakers, Dereck and Beverly Joubert explore how some animals are thrust together by the forces of nature—sometimes through a millennium of evolution or even last year’s drought. In the aftermath of strange elephant deaths, they piece together a visually stunning story that confirms their theory that lions were hunting elephants. Narrated by Jeremy Irons.
Russia’s Wild Tiger – Sunday 13 February at 6 PM (18:00 CAT)
Russia’s Wild Tiger records the battle for the survival of the big cats and reveals intimate details of their lives. The animals they prey on are also in the film: tigers couldn’t survive without sika deer, Altai wapiti, wild boars and Asian black bears. A young tiger born in a conservation area will guide the viewer through the film. Russia’s Wild Tiger accompanies him throughout the year after he leaves his mother. His search for a territory reveals the problems facing tigers in the Russian Far East, and the conflicts that arise when he strays into human settlements. The young tiger takes the viewer to places where the fate of Siberian tigers will be decided: vast forests, remote villages and the cities at the edge of the wilderness.
Living with Big Cats – Sunday 13 February at 6:45 PM (18:45 CAT)
Dereck and Beverly Joubert lead viewers on their incredible journey with big cats – from the first time big cats captured their hearts through their boundless dedication to protecting these iconic predators. This story explores how the Jouberts got started and delves into their personal lives as National Geographic filmmakers and explorers.
Thailand’s Wild Cats – Saturday 19 February at 6 PM (18:00 CAT)
Hidden in the jungles of Thailand lies an ancient kingdom, the last refuge for Thailand’s wild cats. Apex hunters, nearly invisible, bide their time as they search for prey, pursue mates and protect their young. Within this tangled forest, a world of drama and unbridled power awaits the clouded leopard, the Asian fishing cat and the king of the jungle, the Tiger.
Eye of the Leopard (Revealed) – Sunday 20 February at 6 PM (18:00 CAT)
National Geographic filmmakers Dereck and Beverly Joubert set out to create a film on leopards. They never imagined they would get seduced by a small eight-day-old cub named Legadema. Eye of the Leopard follows Legadema’s journey from a playful cub to a skilled huntress. Narrated by Jeremy Irons.
Shadow Cats – Saturday 26 February at 6 PM (18:00 CAT)
The serval, caracal and black-footed cats prove they are just as extraordinary as their African wildcat counterparts, the cheetah, lion and leopard.
Eternal Enemies (Revealed) – Sunday 27 February at 6 PM (18:00 CAT)
The Joubert couple’s Emmy winning film is back with stunning remastered footage. Propelled by Jeremy Irons gripping narration, Eternal Enemies reveals the story of conflicts between lions and hyenas, relatively unknown or even suspected in the scientific world before this. The intense relationship and enduring rivalry between the two species play out in a battle of survival. Narrated by Jeremy Irons.
War of the Lions – Sunday 27 February at 6:45 PM (18:45 CAT)
From savannahs bursting with game to deserts with not a drop to drink, not all lion kingdoms are equal. Who is the REAL King of the Beasts?