'Jade Eyed Leopard' Kicks off Nat Geo WILD's 10th Big Cat Week (VIDEO)
Nat Geo WILD's Big Cat Week is back.
For the 10th time, the event will shine a light on the behaviors and stories of big cats around the world, and TV Insider has learned exclusively that this year's kicks off on Monday, September 7 (at 8/7c) with the new film, Jade Eyed Leopard, from world-renowned big cat filmmakers and National Geographic explorers Dereck and Beverly Joubert.
Narrated by Jeremy Irons (Watchmen), the one-hour special, for the first time ever, follows a young leopard (with rare deep aquamarine eyes), Toto, during the critical first three years of her life. Viewers will watch "her challenges and triumphs firsthand as Toto learns the fundamental skills of survival and makes her passage to adulthood."
Born among floods in Maasai Mara, Kenya, "Toto forms an unbreakable and unusual bond with her mother, Fig, proving that the strength of motherhood is sometimes stronger than natural laws," the synopsis reveals. "Fig's nontraditional parenting approach to split her territory with her young daughter prove this dynamic duo are creating their own rules for survival." See Toto with her mother in the exclusive clip and photos above and below.
"Documenting big cats in the wild, particularly leopards has been our passion for more than 30 years," Dereck and Beverly Joubert said in a statement. "This film presented us with a once-in-a-lifetime experience to shadow a leopard born under our tent for the formative first three years of her life. Toto welcomed us to her territory as one of her own, and with the use of cutting-edge, thermal-night-vision technology, we were able to shed light on the nocturnal world to reveal behaviors previously shrouded in darkness."
In 2009, with the National Geographic Society, the Jouberts cofounded the Big Cat Initiative, which partners with Nat Geo WILD for Big Cat Week, "as an effort to halt the decline of big cats in the wild."
The 10th Big Cat Week runs Monday, September 7, through Friday, September 11. Its National Geographic programming includes Savage Kingdom Season 4's three-night premiere, Swamp Lions, Jaguar: Supercat, Lion Gangland, Cat Wars: Lion v. Cheetah, Battle for the Pride, and Tiger Wars.
"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," Colby Bishop, senior director of Wildlife Programs at National Geographic Society, said. "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.
"Nat Geo WILD is the perfect platform to premiere Jade Eyed Leopard as part of Big Cat Week and to inspire further a protection for these majestic creatures around the world," she added.