'Big Cat Country' Documents Lion Prides Battling for Dominance

Rick and Christina Gables
Smithsonian Channel

In Zambia’s Luangwa Valley, two neighboring prides have held their land for generations. The Hollywood pride, consisting of six female lions and the once-powerful MK pride, made up of 17 lions. Both prides now face a gang of young males aggressively looking to takeover new territory.

Smithsonian Channel’s Big Cat Country exposes every triumph and tragedy as the two prides struggle to withstand the young males’ invasion and maintain control of their land. Can they survive the greatest challenge of their lives?


Smithsonian Channel

Find out when the captivating six-part series premieres Wednesday, February 12 on Smithsonian Channel.

Working in one of the most remote and brutal wildernesses in Africa, wildlife filmmakers Nathan Pilcher and Sam Davies are in the middle of the action, offering insight and emotion as they bring viewers unprecedented footage of the ultimate lion soap opera.

Each episode brings viewers spectacular imagery and follows the lions day and night as the drama unfolds. With the use of military-grade thermal imagery, their cameras capture remarkable night-time behavior, including predation and the dramatic plight of a lost cub.


Smithsonian Channel

In the premiere episode, "The Invasion Begins," the long rainy season ends and the lions gather along the Luangwa River. A powerful family, known as the MK pride, dominate the land south of the river headed up by two aging brothers – the Punks.

To the north lives the Hollywood pride, existing peacefully with the MK pride until the arrival of the young gang of males, known as the Nomads, who are looking for a pride takeover.

With no males for breeding, the Hollywood pride is on the verge of collapse and by the end of the first week of the Nomad’s invasion, Ava, the Hollywood leader and best hunter, is brutally attacked and injured.

Big Cat Country, Premiere, Wednesday, February 12, 8/7c, Smithsonian Channel