The first docu-film ‘African Cats’ to air on Friday, January 27 at 8 PM

New Delhi, January 19, 2017: In line with its commitment to offer gripping content to its viewers, Animal Planet is set to launch JUNGLE TALKIES, a new franchise featuring the best of blue-chip documentaries and documentary films from around the world.  JUNGLE TALKIES will bring a selection of films that will explore a wide range of topics which provide a unique lens on the animal kingdom, last Fridays of the month at 8 PM.  The film line-up includes African Cats, Chimpanzee, Survivor and more...




Premiering this month on Friday, January 27 at 8 PM, JUNGLE TALKIES will present AFRICAN CATS, an epic true story set against the backdrop of one of the wildest places on Earth.  AFRICAN CATS is a fascinating film that captures the real-life love, humour and determination of the majestic kings of the savanna. Narrated by popular American Actor & Producer Samuel L. Jackson, the story focuses on Sita, a mother cheetah with five cubs, and Mara, a lion cub whose parents, Layla and Fang, are the aging rulers of their pride. As a single mother, it falls to Sita alone to ensure the survival of her progeny, while Mara faces a more immediate threat: if another lion topples Fang, Mara and her siblings will be killed or driven off.

Introducing the new franchise ‘Jungle Talkies’, Sameer Rao, VP – Real World Entertainment, Discovery Networks Asia-Pacific said, “Animal Planet offers addictive wildlife content and enjoys high stickiness amongst its viewers. Jungle Talkies is an endeavor to showcase world-class documentaries that epitomize the very essence of Animal Planet's DNA – great storytelling, incredible drama, great characters and powerful images.  The drama and emotion evoked is aptly characteristic of what millennials look for on the small screen.”

Filmed over two-and-a-half years in the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya, the nature documentary features the story of Mara, an endearing lion cub who strives to grow up with her mother's strength, sprit, and wisdom; Sita, a brave cheetah and single mother of five newborn cubs who’s trying to make a home in the wildest place on Earth; Kali, a lion once banished from his pride who returns with his sons to reclaim his home; and Fang, a proud leader of the pride who must defend his family from a rival lion and his sons. 

African Cats is about the bonds of family.  Despite the challenges of life on the savanna, the mothers and daughters, fathers and brothers all find a way to come together.  After marking its debut in theatres, the awe-inspiring adventure blending family intimacy with the power and cunning of the wild, AFRICAN CATS will make its television premiere on January 27 at 8 PM, only on Animal Planet.

The characters of the film ‘African Cats’
·         MARA is a curious 6-month-old lion cub who is devoted to her mom, Layla.  Mara prefers to spend her days snuggling and playing with her mother, aunts and cousins - a group of lions that make up the River Pride.  Layla is an experienced lioness, and Mara hopes to follow in her footsteps.  But she must learn quickly, for Layla is nursing an injury that is beginning to slow her down.  Mara’s future is in question, and her loyalty to Mom will be challenged.
·         LAYLA used to be the most experienced hunter among the River Pride lionesses but an injury has stolen her physical prowess.  She’s hurting, and some days, she lags behind the pride, but her feisty nature remains.  Layla concentrates on protecting her daughter, Mara, doing everything in her power to carve out a permanent niche in the pride for the young cub and, at the same time, save her from the threat of Kali and his sons.
·         FANG may be the lord of the River Pride, but it's the lionesses who surround him that give the pride its real strength.  Kali and his sons are waiting for the perfect opportunity to steal his throne.  Embattled and bruised, Fang counts on his feisty team to take care of the hunting and often relies on them when the pride is threatened.  But despite the lionesses’ willingness to step up to the plate, Fang’s weakness puts the pride at risk
·         KALI is a powerful and combative lion who leads the group of lions north of the river.  But Kali and his sons have grown tired of living in the margins of lion society; they call on the River Pride again and again to test Fang’s strength with hopes of one day gaining control of the pride.  Mara, Layla and Sita will all be tested by Kali and will need to stand up to him to protect their families.
·         SITA is a tough, beautiful adult cheetah - a single mom who’s fiercely protective of her newborn cubs.  She faces quite a juggling act with the need to regularly leave her brood to hunt for food while remaining vigilant against possible attacks on them from lions, hyenas and adult male cheetahs.  She treks for miles in search of her prey, returning at dusk to share her precious milk with the cubs.  Sita will eventually lead them from the den on a perilous journey across Kali’s land in search of food.

·         SITA’S CUBS are sweet and playful little cats who are blissfully unaware of the danger that surrounds them.

Production Facts

1.   Capturing the Emotional Journeys of Mothers, Cubs and Rivals
Deep within the arid continent of Africa is a hidden paradise, a home for the greatest number of wild animals on our planet.  Here, the African cats still rule, and their dedication to their families is unyielding.  But taking care of the young and protecting their loved ones is not easy.  The world around them is an unsympathetic, one with challenging conditions and eager competitors.  Raw power rules the day.

2.   Locating the African Cats
The Great Rift Valley is a vast geological feature that stretches more than 3,700 miles from northern Syria to the mouth of the Zambezi River in Mozambique.  The Masai Mara, which is in the southwest region of Kenya, is located on the edge of the southern Rift Valley.  The cat families of “African Cats” make their homes in the Masai Mara National Reserve, located on the border of Tanzania, approximately 125 miles from the capital city of Nairobi.

Covering an area of roughly 580 square miles, the Mara, which means “spotted” or “mottled” in the Masai language, adjoins the much larger Serengeti and, in its sheer concentration and diversity of wildlife, is one of the most remarkable natural habitats on Earth.  The reserve is home to a dizzying array of species, and as many as a million migrating animals pass through the park each year.