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Natural World

  • Season 32
  • 10 episodes
  • Nature
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Episode 1: Leopards: 21st Century Cats

Summary

Conservationist Rom Whitaker discovered a leopard had moved on to his farm near Chennai and decided to investigate India's complex relationship with the big cats and find out why hundreds of the animals are being stoned, trapped or shot. He examines why such a large predator is still relatively common in a country of 1.2 billion people and explores the reasons behind some leopards becoming man-eaters.

Review

In Utterakhand, India, leopards have killed more than 200 people over the past decade. Yet in Rajasthan nobody has died from a leopard attack. Why is there such a difference? After his pet dogs were killed by leopards at his home in southern India, conservationist Rom Whitaker wanted to know why a notoriously secretive creature that had previously avoided human contact would suddenly turn into a man-eater.

The footage — of dead animals, caged creatures and mauled victims — is horrible and distressing. This is not a wildlife film for viewers of a sensitive disposition. Of course you can understand why villagers would want to, at the very least, move the cats back into the jungle. Except relocating them makes matters worse. One expert tells Rom that the year after locals moved 106 leopards away from their farmland, there were 25 attacks where previously there had been none. It seems, concludes Rom, that “messing with leopards turns them bad”.

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Details

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Credits

Cast

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ContributorRom Whitaker

Crew

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Executive producerChris Cole
Series producerRoger Webb

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