Episode 1 Wild Tales


Episode 1

Children's wildlife documentary series. Zina, Koko and Gamba, three cheetah cubs growing up in the Masai Mara, are spotted by lions.


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Transcript


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The world is full of amazing animal families.

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Tales of life and death happen every day.

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For the youngest members, growing up is tough, really tough.

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Their roller-coaster lives are recreated here on Wild Tales.

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We follow three fantastic animal characters.

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Newborn baby Zeb is going to have to learn how to hoof it.

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With hundreds of miles to migrate,

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he'll have to grow up fast.

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Koda the wolf pup will have a dog's life

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fighting for every scrap of food.

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She's going to have to be tough if she's to become an ace in this pack.

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And cheetah cubs Zina, Koko and Gamba start to learn about hunting,

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whilst trying to avoid some fierce neighbours.

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So where shall we start?

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How about in the middle of Africa?

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Slap on your sun cream, cos first up it's Kenya.

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They say it's a jungle out there, but here in Kenya, that PLAIN-ly

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doesn't apply.

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Welcome to the grassy plains of Africa,

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land of big cats, including the cheetahs.

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Meet the triplets - sisters Zina and Koko,

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and their brother Gamba.

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Our trio of fluffballs are only eight weeks old.

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They're new to the area - this is where Mum has brought them

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to teach them everything they need to know to survive.

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It's time for cheetah school!

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At the moment they're more interested in playing.

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Still, I guess you've got to start somewhere.

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Zina seems to be the most adventurous of the cubs.

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Tree climbing is the perfect opportunity to show off.

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That looks like fun!

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Her little sister Koko is never far behind, whilst brother Gamba

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is quite content to take it easy and have a doze. Boys will be boys!

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The troublesome trio

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will soon have to start taking things more seriously.

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Before they know it they will be CAT-apulted into adulthood.

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These three little big cats have a wild time ahead of them.

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Cheetahs are the coolest cats of all.

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And boy, can these kitties move.

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We'll come to the facts and figures later. For now, just try and keep up.

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Amazing!

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And that is what our cubs will have to learn how to do at cheetah school.

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Being new here, one of the trio's first lessons

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is getting to know the neighbours.

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But it's harder than you might think.

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The lions think they own the place.

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The giraffes feel they are above everyone.

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And the hyenas - well, they just laugh in your face - how rude!

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So getting to know the neighbours is not so simple,

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but over the next few weeks, cheetah school will get even tougher!

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500 miles away in Tanzania, another African country, are our next family.

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Meet our grassland grazers, the zebras.

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Those grassy plains stretch on forever.

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And there are lawnmowers.

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No, not those lawnmowers -

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these!

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And these ones have go-faster stripes...

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..the zebras.

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Zebras live in family groups called bands,

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to support each other.

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And this band has one mean lead singer.

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It's Zeb's dad!

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A few hundred metres away from Dad is Zeb himself.

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He was only born last night and is just a few hours old.

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Aww!

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Amazingly, although he's just a baby, he's already on his feet,

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which is just as well, cos those legs have a tough job ahead of them.

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Zeb and Mum have separated from the band for a good reason.

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She can't stand his dad's singing (!)

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Perhaps she's more of a White Stripes kinda girl.

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But seriously, the reason Mum left the band to be on her own

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was for Zeb to get to know her really well

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before he meets the rest of his family.

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We're very lucky to get to see baby Zeb. But for now, even though

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he's just a baby, he has a job to do.

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Zeb needs to learn what Mum smells like, and more importantly,

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to learn the pattern of her stripes.

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Every zebra's stripes are different,

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just like barcodes at the supermarket.

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If Zeb learns his mum's patterns of stripes by heart,

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he'll always be able to recognize her.

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This may take some time,

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so let's leave him to it!

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Next, we're off to northern Canada,

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a third of the way round the planet.

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This part of Canada is really tough to live in.

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Winter temperatures can drop to minus 30 degrees centigrade.

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Brrr!

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Lucky for this family they have a thick fur coat to keep them warm.

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And not surprisingly, they choose to have their babies

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in a cosy underground den.

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These wolf cubs are just weeks old,

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and were blind until a few days ago.

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They are just getting used to their surroundings, and each other.

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This little girl cub is called Koda,

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a Native American word for friend.

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For now, she's a friendly little soul.

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SNARLING

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But just wait till she grows up!

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For now, Koda and her brothers and sisters

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are still feeding on milk from their mum.

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But soon enough they'll be wolfing down meat like...a wolf.

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Just like Zeb and the cheetah triplets,

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Koda is dependent on Mum.

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But Koda is already a real character.

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She's a feisty little pup.

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For now, all is cosy and safe in the den with Mum.

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But Koda had better make the most of it, cos it's a wilderness out there.

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Back to the African plains, and playtime is over.

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Today's lesson is how to look cool at school.

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You may have noticed that Koko, Zina and Gamba

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are sporting some spiffing hairdos.

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All baby cheetah cubs have these wispy Mohicans along their backs -

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that long hair helps provide perfect camouflage in the long grass.

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If they keep still, they are virtually invisible.

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Ideal for games of hide and seek,

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and a great way of hiding from any predators.

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This means that Mum is able to leave the cubs and go off hunting,

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which is exactly what she's decided to do.

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Although the cubs aren't yet eating meat, Mum must catch food for herself

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so that she can keep fit and strong

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and produce enough milk for the threesome.

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Pay attention, cubs - Mum's about to show you what it's all about.

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She is the Ferrari of the cat world and can reach speeds of up to 70mph.

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That's almost three times faster than a person can run.

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Just look at her go!

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Her claws act like running spikes gripping the ground,

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and that terrific tail helps her keep balance on those tight corners.

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And it's all over.

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Give that cat a round of applause!

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CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

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The cubs will have to learn how to sprint like this,

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but for now they have many other lessons to master first.

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They have a tough few months ahead of them,

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where Mum will try and teach them everything she knows.

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Back in Tanzania,

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Zeb's mum has decided it's time for him to meet the rest of his family.

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Within a herd of zebras, there are separate family groups called bands.

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Zeb's band is one big family of nearly 20 zebras.

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There are several other females in the band,

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many will soon have foals -

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but there are also other zebras of all different ages.

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Baby Zeb has to get to know them all.

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If he thought learning Mum's stripes was bad,

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he now has to learn to recognise all of his aunts, uncles and cousins.

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That's Auntie Flo, Uncle Derek...

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No, that's Uncle Derek.

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But most important of all he needs to learn who his dad is,

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because he's got a rather important job -

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the leader of the whole band.

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There'll be no horsing around while he's in charge.

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Zeb will have to learn this quickly.

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Where his dad guides them, the whole band have to go,

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or they'll know about it - he isn't in charge for nothing.

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Without him, Zeb would be even more vulnerable

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to attacks from all sorts of predators.

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He'd make an ideal takeaway for some of the neighbours.

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But Dad can't always be there to protect him.

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Zeb IS still just a baby,

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and he's going to be really vulnerable over the next few weeks.

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Back in Canada, Koda and the other pups are still safe in the den.

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But Mum is getting hungry.

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No offence to our zebra family, but she could eat a horse.

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She is what's known as the alpha female,

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and is the only one in the pack allowed to have pups.

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All the others are out on a hunt with Koda's dad, the alpha male.

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He really is top dog, and all the other members of the pack know it.

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They have been hunting for a few days without any success,

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but he is on the trail of prey.

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HE HOWLS

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Wolves can cover the equivalent of two or three marathons -

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up to 70 miles in a day.

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They are also pretty fast, reaching a super-speedy 40 miles per hour.

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That'd be breaking the speed limit in most towns.

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Unless Dad and the pack find some food soon,

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Koda's mum will run out of milk and the pups will die.

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SQUEAKING

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Koda and the others are helpless at this age,

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so Mum has to stay with them.

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Predators such as bears have already emerged from hibernation.

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Mum knows from experience it's far too risky to leave her pups.

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Last year she lost some to a hungry bear when she left them alone.

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The bear found her den, and when she returned the pups were all gone.

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She will just have to wait for the pack to return.

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Koda's life is depending on it.

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Back to the plains of Africa, and school's out for our cheetah family.

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All schools have break time, and cheetah school is no different.

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Having a mum who's also your teacher may be tough,

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but it has its advantages - especially at break time!

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Our threesome are just getting a taste for meat,

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but will continue suckling until they are three months old.

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The cubs are still completely dependent on Mum.

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Not only do the cubs need feeding, they need cleaning.

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Gamba is always first in line when pampering is on offer.

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Looks like Mum's got bathtime licked.

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But in Africa the weather can change within hours.

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Perhaps Mum didn't need to give the cubs a bath after all!

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Now they're having a shower!

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But like all cats they're not too keen on water,

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especially when it's cold. Brrr!

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The poor cubs! They have only just started at school

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and they're already cold, wet and miserable.

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What a soggy mess!

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Let's hope the rain doesn't last too long

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so they can return to lessons.

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# Why does it always rain on...? #

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A few hundred miles away, it's a different story.

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It's getting drier by the day

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and the grass is starting to die away.

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Zeb is growing up fast.

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At least he doesn't have to hunt for his food.

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He's surrounded by it!

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But for how much longer?

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He's really steady on his feet now, but little does he know

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just how much he's going to have to depend on those legs.

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Zeb has become used to his band,

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and now knows and recognises everyone in his new family.

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He's still completely dependent on Mum,

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and will continue to suckle from her until he is 9 months old.

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But despite this close bond, he's starting to explore a bit

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and stray away more.

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He's getting to know the neighbourhood,

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and some of the odd characters his family live alongside.

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Watch out for that python, Zeb!

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These early games and experiences are all vital for Zeb's development.

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But he needs to remember he's still just a foal.

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Zeb has to get used to moving on with the band wherever they go.

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And just because it's night, it doesn't mean they stop travelling.

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Night-time is a scary time for Zeb.

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His band are being followed by hyenas.

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GALLOPING HOOVES

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Dad is quickly on the case, chasing those horrible hyenas away.

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But while he's busy, his family is vulnerable.

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Being so young, Zeb is especially at risk.

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Dad doesn't give up until the hyenas back off.

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Zeb should be safe for now, but those hyenas could be back.

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Back with our cheetahs, the lessons are getting harder.

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Mum has to teach the trio how to deal with prey.

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It's the hardest lesson yet,

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and they'd better listen up -

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their lives will depend on it.

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Mum has caught a gazelle fawn and is bringing it back, still alive,

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to show the cubs what they will have to hunt for food.

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It may look mean, but Mum has to teach them somehow

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or they'll never learn.

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But just look at this!

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The cubs are terrified!

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Koko decides to back off and even the pluckier Zina

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looks as if she'd rather go vegetarian.

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But a cheetah eating grass, just like Zeb,

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wouldn't be right, would it?

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As it's the first time they've seen live prey this close,

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our cubs can be forgiven for failing the test.

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But - being scared of your own food?!

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Will these scaredy-cats ever make the grade?

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Looks like Mum will have to try again.

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This time she has spotted a fawn, and is leading the cubs to it.

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Maybe that won't scare them so much.

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Zina is first in as always, but...!

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She hasn't even SEEN the fawn, and look at her bounce up!

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Maybe we should re-name her Tigger.

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So not exactly "A" grades all round for the cubs.

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Our troublesome trio are barely scraping a pass at hunting school.

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Perhaps more homework is in order!

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Wrap up warm, cos we're heading back to icy Canada.

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Koda and her mum are still waiting

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for the others to return from their hunt.

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She's nearly run out of milk as she hasn't eaten in days.

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Koda and the others are really hungry now.

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So where are Dad and the rest of the pack?

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Well, they are out trying to get some food.

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Dad knows the pups are depending on them.

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They're hunting for caribou - which are actually reindeer.

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Santa would turn in his sleigh!

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They've been following the herd for days now,

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and Dad has picked out a weak animal as the target.

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Because Dad is the alpha male, all the other wolves follow his orders.

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If he says "run", they run.

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If he says "howl", they howl.

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If he says "Gimme five", well, then he must be barking!

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Back to the hunt,

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and, once a weak animal is singled out,

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the pack separate it from the herd,

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which involves all the wolves cooperating

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and basically rounding the prey up.

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It's a bit like the way sheepdogs work.

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Just don't tell the wolves that!

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But let's get serious now.

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The pack need to make this kill.

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Dad and the pack have closed in on the caribou they singled out.

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Just one kick from those hooves

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could break bones and result in death.

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But perseverance pays off...

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..and the pack have been successful.

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This is plenty of food to last them for days,

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but they need to get some of the food back to Koda's mum fast,

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so that she can keep producing enough milk for the pups.

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Koda's dad had better hurry back to the den before it's too late.

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Back to the plains of Africa, and it's looking more like a desert.

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The hyenas seem to have disappeared, but so has the grass!

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It's time for the zebras to move on.

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This is Zeb's biggest test, the start of the great annual migration.

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Even though he's still a baby, he is going to have to walk

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for the next few weeks every day until he's covered over 500 miles.

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Just imagine a toddler walking 20 marathons on the trot!

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Although the rains in Tanzania do fall mainly on the plain,

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unfortunately they don't stay in one place.

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This is why the zebras have to move on - they follow the rains,

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because as soon as the rain moves on, the grass dies.

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It's time for the band to roll out.

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Dad guides them, taking up the rear,

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whilst Zeb stays close to his mum.

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As they head off, Zeb's mum ensures he is safe within the herd

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so that if they are attacked, he'll be more protected.

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I say, "IF they are attacked".

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Crossing hundreds of miles of the dangerous plains

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they will face all sorts of predators and challenges,

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so attacks are inevitable.

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Only half of all zebra foals survive these attacks.

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A baby zebra's survival is on the flip of a coin.

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As a vulnerable young foal,

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Zeb has a long and very dangerous journey ahead of him.

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Over the next few weeks, every step he takes

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will be watched by hungry eyes.

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The rains have moved on and Koko, Zina and Gamba

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have dried out and are doing well.

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This is despite being the most vulnerable of the big cats.

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You just have to look at their build.

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It may give them speed and agility

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to tackle the fastest prey in the Mara,

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but it also makes them the lightweights of the big cat posse.

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The real heavyweights are the lions,

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who would easily kill a cheetah if they caught it.

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Not good news, then, that Mum has spotted one approaching.

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There is nowhere to hide out here, so there is little Mum can do.

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She knows that if the lion gets to her cubs, it WILL kill them.

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Koko has seen the lion too.

0:24:570:24:59

She's decided to run away.

0:24:590:25:01

But Zina and Gamba look terrified and are frozen to the spot.

0:25:010:25:05

This could be a fatal mistake.

0:25:050:25:08

Why aren't Zina and Gamba running?

0:25:080:25:11

The lion has spotted the cubs.

0:25:170:25:19

If he catches them, he'll kill them.

0:25:190:25:22

Our cubs need to get away from that lion - fast!

0:25:230:25:26

But hang on. Just look at their mum.

0:25:390:25:41

How brave! She's squaring up to that lion, and showing him who's boss.

0:25:420:25:47

If the lion catches her, he will kill her too.

0:25:470:25:51

That is one top mum!

0:25:510:25:53

The lion's charging after her, but Mum manages to avoid him.

0:26:000:26:04

The cubs are running for their lives.

0:26:090:26:12

What IS Mum going to do?

0:26:170:26:19

She managed to distract the lion away from her cubs,

0:26:310:26:34

but why's he still hanging around?

0:26:340:26:38

For now the cubs are reunited with Mum.

0:26:410:26:43

They're so relieved, but very nervous, and rightly so.

0:26:430:26:47

Our cheetah family have strayed right into lion territory.

0:26:500:26:54

As long as they stay here, the whole family are in mortal danger.

0:26:540:26:58

The lion could attack at any moment,

0:26:590:27:02

and we know what he'll do if he catches them.

0:27:020:27:05

The odds are really stacked against them now.

0:27:050:27:07

Next time on Wild Tales:

0:27:100:27:13

Will our trio of cheetah youngsters Zina, Koko and Gamba,

0:27:150:27:19

avoid their hungry lion neighbours?

0:27:190:27:21

Koda the wolf pup may be safe for now,

0:27:230:27:26

but will the pack be able to keep up the food supply?

0:27:260:27:29

And on his first migration followed by predators,

0:27:310:27:34

will baby Zeb manage to survive?

0:27:340:27:37

Find out next time on Wild Tales.

0:27:370:27:41

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

0:27:470:27:49

E-mail [email protected]

0:27:490:27:52

Children's wildlife documentary series. Zina, Koko and Gamba, three cheetah cubs growing up in the Masai Mara, are spotted by lions. On the other side of the African plains is Zeb, a new born baby zebra, who is subject to many dangers on his first migration. In northern Canada, Koda the wolf cub lives in a den with her mum, butdoes the pack have enough food?


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