It’s time to go wild, kids
06 August 2020
Cheetahs and pumas and bears, monkeys, meerkats and more! Everyone’s running wild on DStv this August
06 August 2020
Cheetahs and pumas and bears, monkeys, meerkats and more! Everyone’s running wild on DStv this August
Nothing grabs kids’ attention like animals. They share so many habits and they’re so relatable, yet they look so fascinatingly different from us – and from each other. They even get to do all the naughty things that kids are warned not to, like running off in the jungle to go live in a cave, or biting their brothers and sisters and nicking their fruit. Now August is an absolute zoo on DStv, with many new animal friends – both real and animated – to explore and discover.
In August, one brilliant documentary will exemplify the joy and wonder that we can get from animal stories. Primates on BBC Earth (DStv 184) will have the whole family watching wide-eyed through a combination of dazzling visual footage and new information and perspectives from research. It’s a documentary that takes us inside our primate cousins’ homes, whether that’s hopping along through the treetops for a bit of grocery shopping, or wading through a flooded forest. The Primates crew spent 2 years gathering footage from 28 filming expeditions around the world, and selected primates from among around 300 different species to tell amazing and relatable stories.
At times it took incredible patience. One film team spent 2 months on a beach in Equatorial Guinea waiting to capture footage of a drill, while another crew spent night after night trying to capture grey slender loris moving around in the darkness. In South Africa, film crews took footage of lesser bushbabies in a surprising new urban environment as they invaded the local zoo!
“I think audiences will also enjoy seeing the extraordinary (and innovative) lengths scientists and conservationists go to both understand and protect primates. Most of them live in remote, hot, steamy jungles and pretty much in the top of very tall trees. You get a crick in the neck looking for them, for sure. They can also move very fast through the forest, and so keeping up with them and getting close-ups is the challenge,” says series executive producer Mike Gunton. “The skills of the scientist in predicting the behaviour and the camera teams to get into the right place are vital.”
One of the most valuable things that the documentary will do is to show that in the animal world, despite appearances, it’s not all about being big and tough. “I think we’ve all grown up with the idea that male silverback gorillas are all about being big and immensely strong and it’s that that would give them their fitness in their social groups. But what we’ve learnt through new observations and new science is that male gorillas’ fitness, in terms of how often they can reproduce successfully, is nothing to do directly with their size, but it’s to do with how they respond to the needs of their young – effectively, how cuddly they are. It’s fantastic,” says narrator Chris Packham.
Mike adds, “You get the sense we’ve only just scratched the surface. Primates are so intelligent and show such an enormous range of behaviour, and some of it is so clever its jaw-dropping. I like the sophisticated politics that they show. Some individuals are pretty devious, but then some are what I can only describe as brave and kindly.”
Watch Primates S1 from Sunday, 16 August on BBC Earth (DStv 184) at 16:00
Despite looking cute and cuddly, meerkats have a strict social order. When the alpha female of a meerkat group falls pregnant, she often chases off the beta females – especially the pregnant female betas – who then have to fend for themselves for a while. In this documentary, a young female meerkat who is forced out of her family group and into the Namib must find a way to survive on her own. But with no sentry to watch over her, and no companions to help dig out a home or groom her, how will she survive the birds and snakes that think she looks tasty? This documentary looks at how meerkats operate both as a social group and on their own.
Watch Meet The Meerkats (documentary special) on Wednesday, 19 August on Curiosity Stream (DStv 185) at 20:00.
The puma can be found throughout the Americas – from the Northern Yukon in Canada, to the Southern Andes Mountains in South America. But thanks to its superb camouflage and stealthy habits, it's seldom seen. This documentary follows a mother and her 3 cubs, who live in the cold mountains of Chile, to reveal how the puma is able to exploit so many niches and be such a successful hunter.
Watch Puma: Ghost Cat (documentary special) on Wednesday, 12 August on Curiosity Stream (DStv 185) at 20:00
In the jungles of Brazil, the jaguar reigns supreme. Their ranges stretch over 100 square kilometres, and even the caiman crocodile had better look out when it’s on the prowl. But as the documentary crew has following one large male, they discovered the most catastrophic threat to his life – human encroachment and poaching.
Watch Jaguar: King of The Jungle (documentary special) on Wednesday, 12 August on Curiosity Stream (DStv 185) at 20:30.
This 30-minute documentary looks at how and why flightless birds developed around the world. Africa has its ostrich, South America has the rhea, Australia the emu, Papua New Guinea has the terrifying cassowary, New Zealand has the cute little kiwi, and the Southern oceans have their penguins. Each of these birds has gone flightless to exploit different food resources, conserve energy or prioritise other skills.
Watch Grounded: The Unlikely Story of Flightless Birds (documentary special) on Wednesday, 19 August on Curiosity Stream (DStv 185) at 20:30.
And find out more about the following doccies here:
This animated adventure series created by zoologist brothers Chris Kratt and Martin Kratt (the series’ two heroes are named after them) introduces kids to all sorts of animal worlds. The animal facts are spot on since the series was to educate children about ecology, zoology and the ecological impact that their own choices can have. Wild Kratts features the brothers (who have very different personalities and skills) and their inventor friends who help them to research the animals they encounter using their computer skills and special adaptable superpowered suits and inventions that allow the brothers to move among the animals in their own environments, land sea and air, big or small.
Watch Wild Kratts S1 on Fridays on PBS Kids (DStv 313) at 16:27 or on Catch Up
Pin, a German penguin and self-taught inventor, leads a crew of animal friends including a ram, crow, moose, pig, owl, bear and rabbit, on a voyage of discovery through space during which they solve problems using science, mathematics, engineering and technology. The crew also deliver mini lectures on how stars are formed, grow and die, how you can levitate using magnets, and more. It’s one of the most brilliant shows on TV for science-loving kids.
Watch PinCode S1 new episodes on Saturdays on Da Vinci (DStv 318) at 15:00 or on Catch Up
This Russian-inspired animated series (with wonderful character and set design) features a bold, out of control 6-year-old girl named Masha (Rebecca Bloom) and her guardian figure, a retired circus bear who’s really not cut out to be a parent and as a result, lets Masha get away with all sorts of fun nonsense and downright rudeness. Masha likes to eat sweets, play all the time, make mischief and involve all the forest animals in her shenanigans. Masha is as sweet as she is naughty, though, which is a good thing or the bear would probably lose all his fur from the stress that she causes him. This special set of episodes (6, 33, 40, 18, 22, 62, 27, 7, 4, 10, 8, 32, 52, 61, 44) highlight some of the series’ best songs ever.
Watch Masha and The Bear Song Fest on Monday, 10 August on Boomerang DStv 302) from 08:25
This Canadian animated series, based on the books of Rosemary Wells, follows white rabbit siblings Max (Gavin MacIver-Wright) and Ruby (Lana Carillo). Three-year-old Max is energetic and determined, while 7-year-old Ruby is patient, set on her goals, and tends to be a bit controlling of Max. This season they’re up to all sorts of fun things – Max is exploring his bug collection, making mud pies in the garden, and pretending to be a robot, while Ruby learns yoga, starts a project to tidy the park, and throws a tea party for Max. But there’s big news coming this month, because Mom and Dad are having another baby (it could be babies) and Max and Ruby are determined to pick the perfect name.
Watch new episodes of Max & Ruby S7 until Friday, 14 August on Nick Jr (DStv 307) at 14:25 or on Catch Up
Young Paddington Bear (Ben Whishaw) arrives from “darkest Peru” to come stay in London with the Brown family. As he explores the city and human life, he writes an excited series of letters home to his Aunt Lucy, describing his adventures and discoveries of everything from pancakes to pigeons – which we get to see play out onscreen. Paddington is a polite and helpful bear, but his efforts somewhat go awry, which will be rather relatable to the little people. This charming computer-animated series is based on the Michael Bond book series, and on the 2 recent live-action Paddington films.
Watch The Adventures of Paddington S1 from Monday, 17 August on Nick Jr (DStv 307) at 07:40
Adventure Bay is the luckiest town on Earth – their emergency services and first-responder crews are all dogs and puppies. They join forces with a 10-year-old boy named Ryder (Joey Nijem) to help their neighbours with intelligence, teamwork, friendship and their fancy series of Paw Patrol vehicles. This month, the pups must figure out how to get a family of bears, who’ve invaded the town and started napping in everyone’s beds, back to the safety of their cave for hibernation. Master thief The Ladybird is out to steal an ancient relic from the museum that makes dog statues come to life, and the pups have to stop Mayor Humdinger from making a big old mess after he gets superpowers of his own. It’s a fulltime job and Chickaletta keeps making it more complicated when she wanders into places that she doesn’t belong – like a hot air balloon.
Watch brand-new episodes of Paw Patrol S6 between Monday, 17 and Friday, 21 August on Nick Jr (DStv 307) at 06:55
When we return to this spin-off series from Disney’s Lion King movies, the Lion Guard friends have finally arrived at the Tree of Life, where Kion is at last able to heal – if he’d only have the patience to stay still and let the Tree do its work. That patience will be tested when enemies attack the Tree and Kion is desperate to help the defenders. And the Lion Guard will need to be on alert when Mama Binturong comes by on a spy mission to the tree from the villains.
Watch The Lion Guard S3 brand new episodes from Monday, 31 August on Disney Junior (DStv 309) at 16:30
Nicktoons is showcasing special pet cat-centric episodes of CatDog, Rainbow Butterfly Unicorn Kitty, Alvinnn!!! And The Chipmunks, and Catscratch
Watch International Cat Day Saturday, 8 August on Nicktoons (DStv 308) from 06:00
Nicktoons is showcasing special pet dog-centric episodes of Munki & Trunk, Peppa Pig, Rainbow Butterfly Unicorn Kitty, Toon Marty, The Fairly Oddparents, SpongeBob SquarePants, Alvinnn!!! And The Chipmunks and 44 Cats.
Watch International Dog Appreciation Day on Wednesday, 26 August on Nicktoons (DStv 308) from 10:55
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