Big Cats Rock!


I am a sucker for big cat documentaries.

Whenever an episode on one of the big cats comes on the telly, that’s it. I sprout claws and embed them firmly into the couch. Nothing will move me away from the flashy screen until the show is over.

Therefore, as an ardent devourer of big cat documentaries, I feel that you can trust me when I say that the best of these are created by Dereck and Beverly Joubert.

Of all their films, my absolute favourite has to be Eye of the Leopard. It tracks the dramatic life of a 3-day-old leopard cub named Legadema for three years. Before this film, I never realised how swift and and agile leopards are in trees. The way these large, heavy beasts weave through the branches like little squirrels is a magnificent sight.

The most moving segment in this film has to be where Legadema kills a female baboon and stumbles unexpectedly upon her baby. Against our understanding of the viciousness of nature, Legadema picks the baby baboon up and begins to mother it.

You must now be wondering… So what happened to the baby baboon? Did it survive?

My words will do no justice to this tale. So I will just say, please watch this film to experience the roller-coaster of emotions and breathtaking visuals it will take you through.

Right now, I cannot wait to catch the Jouberts’ newly released film, The Last Lions. It is about a lone lioness named Ma di Tau (“Mother of Lions”) and the unbelievable obstacles she has to overcome to keep her cubs alive. From an enemy pride of lionesses to hungry crocodiles and dangerous buffaloes, the struggle to survive is brutal.

For now, I will leave you with a video of the Jouberts’ presentation at TED entitled Life Lessons from Big Cats. It is a peek into the lives of the Jouberts as wildlife film-makers and their efforts in ensuring the survival of the big cats in Africa.

PS. If you would like to contribute towards the big cat conservation, please click here and choose how you would like to help. Every small bit of effort will go a long way in protecting these amazing animals.

All photos in this entry were taken by the author.


6 Responses to “Big Cats Rock!”

  1. karismam says:

    Oh and I LOVE those pics to that website you gave me – the one where the leopard is licking (With that LONG tongue) their cub (ok, I know that sounds weird but maybe if people actually saw the post….)

    And the one with the family of three – cute! 🙂

  2. karismam says:

    I can’t believe you actually got THAT CLOSE!!!!! My favourite pic is the one with the young tigers – they look like they’re siblings

    But the other pics with the lion – looks like you’re actually next to it!

    Oh, and Bryce I find small cats annoying too – they’re a bit arrogant, but the big cats are beautiful

    And OMG Shireen – Look at the title – look at the TITLE – how exciting “Scientific Scribbles” *sigh*

  3. Jenny Martin says:

    There is much talk of big cats in my household these days. My son is equally addicted to the stories of The Lion King and The Jungle Book (Shere Khan, a tiger is one of the main characters if you’re not familiar with it). We spend a lot of time discussing them. And in particular, who would win a fight between a tiger and a lion!

  4. Rhiannon says:

    This story brings to mind that of Kamunyak, a young lioness who adopted a baby oryx.

    Big cats are amazing. They continue to be one of my big inspirations in regards to Zoology. Since I was quite young I’ve wanted to work in big cat conservation. While for now I plan on working on conservation issues much closer to home first, it still remains an eventual dream of mine.

  5. Bryce says:

    I also love big cats, not so much small cats, I find them annoying 😛

    Just as karisman said, I find the big cats graceful and majestic and they amaze me with their social interactions that are documented in some of the ‘better’ Documentaries that i’ve seen.

    I’ve probably only ever seen one or two doco’s on specifically Big Cats, mainly because I haven’t known what to look for, so thanks for the suggestions. I’ll have to try to track down a copy of ‘Eye of the Leopard’.

    If anyone hasn’t seen ‘Planet Earth’ it is truly amazing, the footage is breathtaking and the narration is fantastic. The part on Snow Leopards is amazing (if anyone has seen it and knows what i’m talking about). It’s the best nature doco I’ve seen and is definitely a must for BluRay.

  6. karismam says:

    I love big cats! (small cats, errrrr…) Especially Tigers and Lions. I like their grace and their strength.
    It’s amazing that a leopard would begin to mother a baboon – it’s quite unexpected, and it’d be quite fascinating to watch.
    I’ve heard that though lionesses are quite strong and ruthless, they are big softies when it comes to their cubs. But leopards, with animals different from their own species…!!!
    These would be interesting to watch, not just for the visuals but also for the interactions between parents and their cubs. I’ll look forward to watching BIG CATS!