Wildlife documentary series. Bill and Ben the lion cubs learn to hunt, but they get into trouble with some rogue males. Eli, the elephant calf, struggles to survive.
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The world is full of animal families.
Tales of life and death happen every day.
For the youngest members, growing up's tough, really tough.
These stories recreate their roller-coaster lives,
here on Wild Tales.
We're following the stories of three fantastic animal characters.
Young lions Bill and Ben are growing up in a rough neighbourhood.
Can their mum keep them safe from potential killers?
For Selkie the young seal, life starts out of the sea.
But if Mum doesn't feed him,
it could all be over before it even begins.
And even if you're the biggest land animal here
life doesn't always go smoothly.
Eli's got to find his feet quickly
if he's going to follow his jumbo-sized family.
But where do we start?
Well, hold on, we're about to find out.
First stop is the East African savannah.
Kenya to be precise.
Welcome to the African plains, home - when you think of it -
to some of the weirdest animals on earth.
-Ones with nose horns.
-The original rubber-neckers.
-And horses with built-in barcodes.
This place is always full of surprises.
And, down in these bushes,
this lioness mum called Bibi has been hiding a secret,
which she's about to reveal.
Meet Bill and Ben. For the last five weeks these guys have been tucked
out of sight in their den. Now they are coming out to play.
Someone could have at least cut the grass.
These two have no idea how tough it is out here.
Bill and Ben, welcome to the world.
Well, what you can see of it anyway.
But hold on...don't the kings of the jungle live in big prides?
The rest of Bill and Ben's family are over two miles away,
strutting their stuff around the savannah like they own the place.
And if anyone is in any doubt about who's the boss
-just listen to this!
-LION ROARS HOARSELY
They are one seriously BIG family,
headed up by Notch, the strong male leader.
Who's the Daddy? Well, he is, and he's backed up by four wives.
You heard right - four wives!
There's no way you want to mess with this lot!
You're born into this gang. It's all about strength in numbers.
To survive here you've got to be tough.
You need all your wits about you because,
even in play, those paws can give you a powerful whack.
That's why Mum Bibi has been keeping Bill and Ben away
from the rest of the family.
When you're small, it's best to keep a low profile for your own safety.
And if you stand a chance of being killed
by your own brothers or sisters...
Well, let's just hope that Wild Tales for these two
doesn't end in CAT-astrophe!
4,500 miles north are the rocky shores of Scotland's Atlantic coast.
Guess what? Surf's up, dudes.
This is a terrifying coast of crashing waves and huge storms.
Not the place for buckets and spades.
But this is the home of the perfectly adapted grey seal.
This seal mum-to-be has a layer of blubber to protect herself
from the freezing cold ocean and her torpedo shape
makes her a really graceful aquatic acrobat.
She is one of the best underwater hunters.
And she doesn't even wear goggles!
In fact, her eyes work better down here.
-And with her heat-sensitive whiskers
getting around this water world is simple.
But there is one thing she can't do here and that is give birth.
To do that, she needs to turn from surf chick to beach-bum
and move through the pounding waves and jagged rocks.
Getting ashore isn't going to be easy.
So, before it's even been born, our star seal faces its first threat.
Mum is heavily pregnant. She must make her way on shore safely
and avoid being smashed against the rocks. Let's hope she makes it.
Back in Africa, but further south than our lion family.
And hands up who NOSE what's next?
Yes, big it up for the elephant.
Seven tonnes of pure muscle.
With tusks that can pierce steel and the ability to run at up to 20mph...
..they are the heavyweights of the African savannah.
Like the lions, this lot are all family,
sticking together and forming a formidable gang.
But even elephants have to start somewhere.
For almost the last two years, a new baby elephant
has been developing in his mum's womb.
But he's growing so fast, he's running out of room.
He needs somewhere to stretch his trunk.
Baby Eli already weighs more than most people's dad.
But he's just a big baby and will have a lot to learn very quickly.
It looks like mum is ready to give birth.
Newborn ellies, aren't too big to avoid the attention of lions.
But, if they can stick close to mum at all times,
even lions would think twice about attacking.
When Eli, our baby elephant, is born -
and that could be anytime now - he will have to learn to stand
on his own four feet from the word go and keep up with the family.
200 miles away, in the heat of the midday sun,
Bill and Ben's extended family are taking a siesta.
This is what it's really like to play Sleeping Lions!
Let's hope they don't roar... Sorry, snore.
Bill, Ben and Mum, though,
are still keeping away from the rest of the family.
For now, it's best that they keep to themselves
and avoid the rough and tumble of family life.
At just five weeks old, they're completely dependent on Bibi.
She has to do absolutely everything for them.
But her most important job is to keep her kids safe.
And that means keeping a look out for anything nasty.
Lions have a lot of enemies
and Bill and Ben don't just have their own family to worry about.
In this playground, gangs of buffalo could turn up
at any moment. They're not afraid to use those horns
against any little lion cubs that might get in the way.
This is not a nice neighbourhood.
To keep them safe, their mum has brought them
to a place the rest of the pride don't know about.
They need to grow up a bit before they stand any chance of survival
as part of their extended Simba family.
Bibi's got a big job on her paws to keep Bill and Ben from harm.
But she can't watch them constantly because of the small matter of food.
And round here, that doesn't mean a family trip to the supermarket.
This is Bill and Ben's first lesson -
while Mum's away they need to keep their heads down.
Back with the Jumbo family. The time has come for the newest arrival.
Everyone in the herd knows Big Mama is about to give birth
and they all stick close.
There's safety in numbers.
Out of sight, Eli makes his arrival.
Now it's time to stretch those legs.
But there seems to be a problem.
Eli should be able to walk within half an hour of being born.
He needs to be able to follow the herd to new grazing lands.
And keep out of the way of dangerous predators.
But, like a lot of toddlers, Eli is struggling to stand.
He just can't seem to straighten his legs.
And if he can't get up, he won't be able to feed on Mum's milk.
He just won't be able to reach.
Now his older brothers and sisters are trying to get him to his feet.
Come on, Eli! You can do it!
This isn't looking good.
He just HAS to be able to follow the herd.
The sun is blazing down overhead and it's sapping his strength.
The rest of his herd have moved on to get water...
..leaving just Eli and his mum alone in the baking sun.
ELI TRUMPETS WEAKLY
< LOUDER TRUMPETING
Hearing his distress calls, one of his bigger cousins comes to help.
Come on, Eli. Get those legs working.
Our surf-chick seal mum is finding it difficult
to get on shore in Scotland.
The waves are pounding.
But she has to get ashore to give birth,
because seal pups can't swim when they're born.
Using all her skill, she eventually makes it onto dry land
but the dangers don't stop there.
The beach is rammed. All the local seal mum's are giving birth here.
Our mum's got to find her place amongst this noisy crowd.
Being born onto this busy beach is hardly the easiest of starts.
Yet this is the only place mums can give birth.
And growing up here has plenty of dangers.
New pups face being trampled or crushed by scrapping males.
Luckily, Mum's found an empty part of the beach
and it's time for Selkie, our seal, to arrive into the world.
-He gets a noisy welcome.
This'll be his home for the next month, before he goes to sea.
But it's not just other seals making a racket.
Seagulls screech, adding their deafening call to the mix.
Can't a young seal get any peace round here?
It's time for Selkie's first feed of milk.
But something's wrong.
Mum's exhausted. Come on, Mum.
He really needs his milk.
Selkie's her first baby. She doesn't really know what to do.
Bill and Ben are hiding in the grass alone.
And they really need to keep a low profile. Without mum close by,
they're easy targets for predators lurking in the bushes.
Mum, Bibi, has had to go hunting.
To make enough milk for Bill and Ben, she needs to eat well.
She's got a warthog in her sights. She'll have to be careful.
Warthogs may look small, but they're the original fast food.
And males are equipped with seriously sharp tusks.
She needs to take her time. But the longer she stays here,
the longer Bill and Ben are alone.
Bibi doesn't have the help of the pride to hunt.
Lions are famous for hunting in groups. The whole pride teams up.
Hunting is usually a job just for the ladies.
The lead female starts to chase the prey
and the others cut off its escape route.
Like this, a pride can take down very large prey indeed.
But remember, Bibi's alone and she's waiting
for the perfect chance to strike. This looks like it.
Did she get it?
She did. Well done, Bibi.
But it's just a small snack this time.
Now supper's ready, Bill and Ben can come out of hiding.
-They're following mum.
Well, you do have to pester mum when she's shopping!
But this meat isn't for them just now.
It's milk all the way for Bill and Ben.
Still, at the speed they are growing up,
it won't be long before mum will need to shop for three.
Eli is struggling to stand.
He's now six hours old and still hasn't been able
to get up and reach his first meal of milk.
There's nothing else for it - he just needs to stand up.
The whole family have come back from feeding
to be close to Eli and his mum.
Eventually they all need to move on, with or without Eli.
Don't give up, Eli. Keep trying.
Look at that! He's using all his energy to stand up.
He's doing it.
Eli's done it.
He's managed to stand up and he's getting his first meal.
What a relief!
If he can get a good meal and get his energy back,
he could be on the road to recovery.
Let's hope so.
Bibi has eaten well, and Bill and Ben have had a good meal of milk,
but they're still keeping out of sight from the rest of the family.
That lot are just down the road.
-They've just woken from their nap.
Which, by the sounds of it, was a roaring success.
Dad's the MANE man. His job is to protect his family
and guard their territory against other lions.
His roaring is an amazing sound
and he uses that huge voice to say, "This is my patch. Keep off!"
His roar can be heard all over this neighbourhood.
It travels like a ripple in a pond across the open savannah.
Bill and Ben can certainly hear it.
And so can any other lion within five miles.
Lions can tell a lot from each other's roar.
Notch may sound impressive to us, but prides are usually run
by a pair of males, providing double protection...
which you need. Because when male lions fight,
they can fight to the death.
But for the Simba pride, Notch is the only adult male here.
Other lions can work out from that roar that Notch is alone.
The Simba pride are a ripe target for any young upstarts.
And these two boys think Notch's time is up.
They're just hanging around Notch's territory
before mounting a takeover bid.
And they're not in a good mood.
This is bad news for Bill and Ben.
New adult male lions will kill any young cubs they come across.
Let's hope Mum, Bibi, knows some good hiding places.
Back on Selkie's beach in Scotland,
and he's still trying to get his first meal of milk from his mum.
But she just won't let him.
Come on, mum. He needs his milk.
The noise on the beach is non-stop.
But all the other pups round here are being fed.
Young seals really need their milk. In just three weeks,
they have to put on 30kg to get ready for a life at sea.
The only way they can do that is by drinking lots and lots of milk.
And they'll do that anywhere. And any way they can.
Sadly for Selkie, Mum still seems exhausted and confused.
He wanders off to see if he can get any milk
from any of the other mum's on the beach.
But he's getting no luck.
This is awful.
With the sun setting, Selkie faces the prospect
of his first night alone on the beach.
Come on, Mum!
You've got to help him.
For Eli, now that he's up on his feet, he needs to follow the herd.
And although he's a bit shaky, he seems to be managing it for now.
He's got a lot of support from the rest of his super-sized family.
But there's still a long way to go.
This elephant herd has a home range covering 1,500 square kilometres.
That's an area the size of Greater London.
And each day, they can walk the distance of a marathon -
Most of the herd won't bat an eyelid about that.
But for little Eli, well, we'll just have to wait and see.
He's had a bit of a wobbly start, but he's got so much more to learn.
He'll probably spend at least the next five years
with his mum and family before he's ready to go it alone.
But even with his big family around him,
a lot can happen to a young elephant in just five years.
The two young males intent on taking over the Simba pride
have stumbled across Bill and Ben's hiding place.
They look mean and if they find the cubs they WILL kill them.
It just goes to prove how tricky growing up out here really is.
This is Bill and Ben fighting for survival right here.
Bibi's managed to keep the males at bay so far.
But for how much longer?
And now a herd of buffalo, with those dangerous horns,
are closing in on the cubs' hiding place from the other side.
They're caught between a rock and a hard place here.
Mum, Bibi, is doing her best,
but who knows if Bill and Ben can escape this?
Next time on Wild Tales -
have Bill and Ben managed to stay safe from the attacking males?
Will Selkie's mum get her act together and start feeding her baby?
And for Eli,
wobbly legs are one thing but what do you do with a nose that big?!
Find out next time on Wild Tales.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
E-mail [email protected]
Wildlife documentary series. Bill and Ben the lion cubs learn to hunt, but they get into trouble with some rogue males. Eli, the elephant calf, is a runt struggling to survive. Selkie, the grey Scottish seal, is abandoned on a beach only a few hours after being born.