Children's wildlife documentary series. In the Kalahari desert, Rooney the meerkat is attacked by a mole snake. Yogi the grizzly bear cub goes fishing in Alaska with his mum.
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The world is full of amazing animal families.
Tales of life and death happen every day.
For the youngest members, growing up is tough, really tough.
These stories recreate their roller-coaster lives, on Wild Tales.
For this Wild Tales,
we follow the fortunes of three fantastic animal characters.
Rooney, the newest member of the meerkat team,
is about to take his first bold steps out of the burrow.
Leopard cubs Kumi and Siri
have their first exciting adventures away from the den.
And our little bear cub Yogi is in for a ride of a lifetime
as he explores the wilds of Alaska.
But where do we start?
Well, you're about to find out.
First, the Kalahari desert in Southern Africa.
Home to our meerkat family.
This is one of the most hostile places in the world,
and if you want to do really well out here,
you've got to work as a team.
This is Dad.
He's the top male.
A bit like the David Beckham of the team.
He's not the only one to take all the glory.
Mum is his mate, and she's another star player.
But everyone on the squad has a role to play.
There's guard duty.
And they all help with cleaning.
Dad and Mum are a bit of a new item.
They've been together a year.
And they've only got a 5-a-side team.
Some meerkat teams can be up to 40-strong.
Imagine that in the World Cup!
For our meerkats, the bigger the family, the stronger the team.
So if this lot want to stay in the Premier League,
they need more players.
Well, Dad and Mum haven't been wasting any time.
Their team is about to grow in numbers,
as Mum is heavily pregnant.
So it won't be long before little Rooney makes his first appearance.
Travelling 10,000 miles from Africa
to the somewhat chillier climes of Katmai National Park in Alaska.
It's late winter and there's very little sign of life.
But a metre under the snow, Yogi and his two baby sisters
are about to get their first glimpse of the outside world.
They were born only three months ago
and since then they've been snuggled up with mumma bear in her cosy den.
They've been conserving their energy through the cold winter.
But now it's time to wake up.
At last spring has finally sprung.
The cubs haven't even seen daylight yet.
They just can't wait to get out.
The little bears make their first tentative steps
into the great outdoors.
Wow! Look at all that snow!
This is Yogi.
After being in the den for so long, he wants to play in the snow.
And he's not the only one.
Yogi and his sisters will stick with Mum for their first three years,
but it won't all be fun and games.
It's a big bad world, and for these cubs,
their early years will be the toughest of their lives.
From now on, Yogi's fighting a battle for survival.
The top priority for all bears is finding food.
Especially for mumma bear.
Producing milk to satisfy these hungry mouths
drains her energy levels.
Come on, Yogi, catch up!
The cubs are starting to show their characters,
Yogi's definitely the most adventurous.
But this time he's bitten off more than he can chew.
There's a lot to learn about this new world
and next stop is the beach,
where Mum can find lots of food.
But Yogi mustn't get too big for his furry boots
as there are lots of dangers down there.
Over in East Africa's Masai Mara,
there are some more cubs exploring their new world.
These two tiny tearaways are Kumi and Siri.
They're leopard cubs, and at just three months old,
these kitty-cats just love to play.
Steady there, Kumi!
Their favourite game at the moment is good old rough and tumble.
It may look like fun, but playing like this is really important.
It's a great way to learn the skills they need for when
they grow up to be bigger cats. Like Mum.
Hang on... Where is she?
Ah, there she is.
This is Mila.
Kumi and Siri can easily recognise Mum, by her smell,
her call and what she looks like.
But, if you're not a leopard, its easy to mix up Mila
with another big cat, the cheetah.
It's only when you see them together you can spot the difference.
The leopard has rosettes, whereas the cheetah has dots.
If you're still unsure, check out the faces.
The cheetah has two black tear-streaks running from its eyes
to the corner of its mouth.
Luckily, Kumi and Siri know how to tell the difference.
Which is just as well, as they're including her in their latest game,
catch the tail.
For these guys, their time with Mum doesn't last long.
Leopard cubs only have two years
before they're expected to graduate into skilful hunters.
And be able to look after themselves.
Leaving the snowy mountains behind,
Yogi and his sisters have made it to the beach.
This is a very popular place with the bears,
as there are lots of tasty morsels on offer.
Mum's introducing her cubs to some breakfast barnacles.
But with all that hiking
Yogi's decided to go piggy-back, or make that bear-back.
This is his first proper beach holiday.
And its turning into a family outing,
as down the other end of the beach...
..is his dad. He is the top bear in this neighbourhood.
But with other big bears roaming around,
this is a really dangerous place for the cubs to be.
In the bear world, if a big male isn't your dad,
he just might eat you.
As long as dad's in charge, Yogi and his sisters should be OK.
But trouble is brewing.
Another bear is coming to cause trouble for Dad.
This is Ted, Dad's biggest rival.
He ain't the sort of Ted-dy bear you'd want to take home with you.
Just look at those claws.
And those huge teeth!
Ted's heading down to the beach,
and he's pretty keen to knock Dad off his throne.
This could mean a big fight.
If Ted succeeds, Yogi and his family could be in real danger.
Back in the Kalahari, Dad and Mum have gone into the burrow.
The meerkat team has taken on more players.
Mum's just given birth to four little babies,
including our star player, Rooney.
But at only a few days old, he's totally helpless.
He can't even open his eyes yet.
For now, Rooney and the other pups need to stay
in the safety of the gang's underground burrow with Mum.
With his pups to protect,
Dad leaves the burrow to mark out his territory.
By smearing his scent everywhere,
he's telling other meerkats this is his patch. Keep out!
But he's got his work cut out for him.
His territory is over 1,000 acres.
That's the size of 500 football pitches.
Rooney can't wait to check out the team's home ground.
In a few weeks, he'll be old enough to make his debut.
But he'll have to leave the safety of the burrow, which could be dangerous.
Back at leopard school,
Kumi and Siri are learning as much as they can.
For these guys, lessons are really important.
The lesson for today is one of their favourites, hide and seek.
It's a great way to get familiar with their new home,
on the banks of the Talek River.
Full of bushes, rocks and trees,
it's the ideal setting for games of hide and seek.
But right now, hiding is more important than seeking.
It's time for Mum to head up to her favourite tree
to spot what's up for dinner.
And that means the cubs must hide away close to their den.
And believe me, there's lots for them to hide from.
Enemy number one has got to be the lion.
As far as they're concerned,
it's definitely a cat-eat-cat world out there.
Laughing hyenas are second on the list.
They may sound funny, but Kumi and Siri
wouldn't be laughing if they bumped into these guys.
They've even got danger lurking in their bed.
River-bed that is!
Crocodiles will make an easy snack of them if they get too close.
You want to avoid those guys, Kumi!
If they stay close to the den, they're safe.
But they can't stay here forever. Something's up.
Kumi hears a rumbling in the distance.
Very soon, their whole world is about to change.
10,000 miles away, Yogi and family hunt for barnacles on the beach,
but they're careful not to get too close to Dad.
Down at the other end of the beach, trouble is brewing.
Dad's biggest rival, Ted, is strutting his stuff.
It won't be long before he tries to knock Dad off his throne.
And if he succeeds, then Yogi and the girls could be his next victims.
With Mum, the cubs are blissfully unaware of what's going on.
They're more interested in their own fighting match.
But if these bears are going to grow up big and strong,
they need to continue eating.
Mum's got the perfect meal.
Packed with goodness,
mumma bear's milk provides three times as much energy as cow's milk.
But feeding time isn't safe, as mumma bear can't defend
Yogi and his sisters while she's on her back.
At the other end of the beach, Dad's in big trouble.
There's a stand-off as the two giant bears eye each other up.
Dad is standing his ground.
Ted moves in for the attack.
There's a lot at stake here
as the winner has control of this whole territory.
Uh-oh, Ted means business.
He's crashing through the water towards Dad.
It's just like a wrestling match.
Ted's knocked dad to the ground he's definitely got the upper hand.
But can dad get back up?
Only just. Ted's proved he's the strongest bear.
Feeding time for Yogi and his sisters is definitely over.
Mumma bear senses danger.
Dad just stands there. He's completely exhausted.
With daddy bear no longer running the show,
Yogi and his sisters are in danger.
Ted could easily attack and kill them.
Mumma bear has no choice.
She's got to take her cubs off the beach, and quickly.
Rooney and the other pups are hiding in the burrow.
But it won't be long before they can venture outside.
Mum's been keeping them safe.
But now its time for her to leave.
Feeding four hungry pups has made her really hungry.
She needs to stock up with tasty bugs and grubs.
While mum's out foraging,
one of the team steps in for baby-sitting duties.
Meerkat baby-sitters are the tops.
They're super-alert, always on the look-out for danger.
This baby-sitter looks a little anxious.
And with good reason.
Rooney and the pups have decided
to take their first steps out of the burrow.
The first steps come from Rooney.
Bold and curious, this youngster
is just longing to explore this new world.
The baby-sitter comes along to give little encouragement.
Wow! So this is what the home ground looks like.
Up to now, all they've known is the dark depths of the burrow.
What a change this must be!
Whoa! They look a bit wobbly on their feet.
But it's hardly surprising, they're only toddlers.
This must be such an exciting experience for Rooney.
But at this age, meerkat pups are extremely vulnerable.
No bigger than mice, there are a host of predators
that would gobble them up for breakfast.
And, unbeknown to Rooney,
one of them happens to be heading this way.
This is really bad news.
Rooney's just getting to explore his new big wide world
and already he's in danger.
He's in the path of a rather large mole snake with a very big appetite.
Kumi hears noises in the distance.
Noises he's never heard before. What can they be?
In her tree, Mum sees what causing the commotion.
This is what Mila's been waiting for, for months and months.
It's September, when over a million wildebeest
migrate through the Masai Mara.
An amazing spectacle, especially if you're a mother with hungry cubs.
Kumi and Siri have fed on Mum's milk for the three months,
but now they're ready for something more meaty.
Time for Mila to come out her tree for some shopping.
She can't take the cubs. They're way too small.
Kumi and Siri have to stay at the den on their own.
Imagine staying home alone when you're only three months old!
But with no Dad or baby-sitter, Mum's got no choice.
She and the cubs are really hungry.
Luckily for her, the wildebeest
have to cross the river right in front of her den.
Normally leopards hunt at night, but with so much food on offer,
Mila can try her luck in broad daylight.
Leopards are great hide-and-seekers, and the riverbank offers
perfect cover for Mila to creep up on the herd.
She's got to get close but mustn't give the game away.
The wildebeest go for it, they cross the river.
Mila moves into a fantastic position.
Got it! Job done! Wow!
Well, that's dinner sorted.
Back at the den, Kumi and Siri are getting peckish.
But Mum's too far away to carry her shopping home.
Weighing in at 40 kg, the wildebeest is almost as heavy as Mila herself.
She can just about manage to drag it into a hiding-place.
The cubs need all the food they can get,
and if they want their first taste of wildebeest,
they'll have to leave the safety of their den.
And that could be very dangerous.
The mole snake is getting ever closer.
This is really bad news for Rooney and the other pups.
It may not be venomous,
but its nasty bite could easily kill a baby meerkat.
The baby-sitter spots the danger and sounds the alarm.
Meerkats to the rescue!
The team return to intercept the snake.
But are they too late?
Working as a team,
these guys know how to give a mole snake a hard time.
Attacking from all angles,
the team have turned the match to their advantage.
It doesn't stand a chance. Its only option is to dive for cover.
It's been an exciting day.
They've made their first steps out of the burrow
and seen their first big match.
Mum's back so it must be time for some refreshments.
Rooney and the youngsters had a very lucky escape.
But will they be so lucky next time?
With the kill stashed away,
Mila's returned to the den to collect the cubs.
If Kumi and Siri are to get their first meaty dinner,
they've got to leave the safety of their den for the first time.
It could be dangerous. It's broad daylight.
If they bump into a hungry lion or hyena,
it'll be curtains for the cubs.
They're doing well so far with Mum leading the way.
They're almost back to the spot where Mila hid dinner.
But there's one final hurdle, or should I say cliff!
Mila bounds up. But will the cubs find it so easy to follow?
First up is Siri. Well done!
And here goes Kumi.
Oh, missed it!
Without Mila to protect him, stuck at the bottom,
he's is in real danger.
He's gotta get up quick.
Come on, Kumi. You can do it!
Oh no, he's starting to get tired.
Is he going to make it?
With Ted on the prowl,
Yogi and his sisters need to get away from the beach.
Mumma's taking them up river.
And there's another really good reason to head this way.
It's early June, and this is when thousands of salmon migrate
from the ocean to the Alaskan coastline.
They're on a mission, to swim upriver and mate.
Not all of them make it.
The bears have worked out that this is the best spot to catch salmon.
So it gets pretty crowded.
Mumma can't risk going to the falls.
With all those big bears up there,
she can't be so picky and chooses her fishing spot further downstream.
But this isn't without its own risks.
Salmon fishing is difficult at the best of times,
but with Yogi and the girls it's hard for her to concentrate.
This river is really dangerous,
and Yogi and the girls haven't even learnt to swim yet.
One slip and the cubs could be swept away in an instant.
Sadly, Mum's not having much luck with her fishing.
In desperation, she tries to find a better fishing spot.
The cubs have got to be careful. It's really rough out there.
With her attention focused on fishing,
mumma bear's taken her eye off Yogi and the girls.
Oh no, they're being swept away!
Mum's only just noticed but its too late.
They're being carried beyond her reach.
Phew! The girls have got back onto the shore. But where's Yogi?
Uh-oh, he's in deep trouble.
Next time on Wild Tales...
Will Yogi survive the rapids and live to see another day?
Will Rooney be able to stay awake for his first feeding lesson?
And will Kumi finally make it up the river bank?
Find out next time on Wild Tales.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
Email [email protected]
Children's wildlife documentary series. In the Kalahari Desert, Rooney the meerkat is attacked by a mole snake. Ten thousand miles away in Alaska's Katmai National Park, Yogi the grizzly bear cub goes fishing with his Mum. In Africa's Massai Mara, leopard cubs Kumi and Siri gets in trouble on a steep river bank.