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I watched a multipart (5?) series on big cats that I remembered as 'The Big Cat Diaries'. Unfortunately searches on that term show no relevant hits.

It was hosted by a sun-tanned South African gent. One scene in one of the episodes qualifies as the best example of "Don't play with your food" that I have ever seen. Also, it was side-splittingly funny.

As I recall it went something like this:

A Leopard1 stalks a herd of Bison or Wildebeest and manages to split a calf out from the herd. The mother, while mourning for her young, does not approach, but instead bawls to her off-spring from a distance.

The cat is apparently not that hungry, as it does not immediately eat the calf. But if the calf goes to wander off back to the heard, it lazily reaches out a paw to collect it back in "I'm not finished with you yet".

The calf, becoming confused, then tries to search for a 'teat' on the cat from which to feed, which itself produces a startled response. While that in itself was humorous, I sat there cringing for the calf, feeling the documentary makers were being especially cruel to the audience in drawing out its death scene..

Then several Lions emerge out of the tall grass surrounding the cat. This changes everything.

The cat leaps to it's feet, obviously startled, looking around in all directions for possible paths of escape. The calf sense the situation has changed, and takes a step or two way from the cat. When that produces no reaction from the cat, which is still more worried about it's own hide, the calf takes a few more. Then it starts walking, then trotting, till it reaches the very relieved mother.


The only other thing I remember about the series was that another episode focused on a mother and her cubs, showing what a diligent and caring parent she was. Again, not sure of which big cat, but I seem to recall there were scenes of her and her cubs lazing out in the branches of a tree (so it wasn't about lions or other cats that have not been observed in trees).

  1. I originally thought it was Tiger V. Lion but people assure me that the two species do not have overlapping ranges.

Can anyone identify the series? I'd especially like to see that clip again.

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

You were only a slightly modified word away from finding it!

The name of the show was Big Cat Diary, not Big Cat Diaries.

enter image description here

It's available to watch on Youtube, and if you're in Britain it is occasionally repeated on BBC iPlayer.

share|improve this answer
Yep, spot on. Thank you! – Andrew Thompson Nov 16 '13 at 11:58
You were so close mate, I was as confused as you at first as I remembered the show as Diaries too... – John Smith Optional Nov 16 '13 at 11:59

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