Wild Babies (2022) s01e08 Episode Script

Stepping Up

1 In remote Zambia, a desperate search is underway by the mothers of the river pride.
Last night, the invading nomadic males attacked the females, and little Minnie, with the older cubs, fled.
Now, they're missing.
Minnie's mom has a deep gash on her shoulder, but her immediate concern is for Minnie's safety.
The cubs are lying low.
Alone, they're highly vulnerable.
And a powerful hyena is heading straight for them.
Minnie's most at risk.
She's less confident than the others and wouldn't stand a chance against this dangerous enemy.
But help is here.
Minnie's safe for the moment.
But there's a point when all youngsters have to step up, gather their courage, and master the skills they need to make it to adulthood.
That time for Minnie has come.
It's summer in British Columbia, on the Pacific Northwest coast.
Hidden amongst the steep fjords, this rich wilderness is a haven for one of the largest bears on Earth.
The mighty grizzly.
It's a busy time for one-year-old Spruce and his mom.
They emerged from their den two months ago.
And the teenager must learn to find food before they hibernate again.
However, Spruce isn't used to hard work.
He still gets to top up with rich milk.
But today, that's going to change.
His mom must prepare him for a future life on his own.
For now, the most abundant food on offer is sedge grass.
But Spruce isn't too keen on his greens.
And all that chomping is exhausting for a little bear.
Maybe just a little snooze.
It's not a promising start on his journey to independence.
Refreshed after his nap, his mom leads him to shore in search of something a little tastier.
At first glance, it doesn't look too promising.
But what his mom's after is buried treasure.
Other hungry bears have already made a start.
They're digging for clams.
Small mollusks that make a rich treat.
Hopefully, Spruce will show a little more enthusiasm for this challenge.
But trouble is heading their way.
A big male.
It's breeding season, and he would kill a cub to mate with the female.
The fiercely protective mom springs into action.
It's a brave move.
The male could easily overpower her.
One threat has disappeared.
But now little Spruce is all alone.
He leaves the beach in the opposite direction of his mom.
It's a move he could regret.
In Central Africa, the reunited river pride is taking a break in the heat of the day.
But ten-month-old Minnie is struggling.
At kills, she isn't confident enough to get to the meat amongst the family rush to eat.
She must be fierce and fight for her fair share.
Right now, she's starving, with barely the energy to move.
She needs to eat today.
Her mom is the pride's best hunter, and she's determined to make a kill.
Her daughter's survival depends on it.
And a waterbuck would be perfect.
She's done it.
She covers her tracks where she dragged the kill to a more secluded spot.
She doesn't want another animal to find it before she can fetch Minnie.
Vultures are already circling.
The pride needs to be quick.
The older cubs arrive first.
If Minnie is to eat, she must stand up for herself.
Last to arrive, there's no space left for her.
Everyone's more interested in getting what's theirs.
But this time, Minnie's determined.
She pushes through the gaps to get right on top.
Her sister tells her off.
But Minnie refuses to budge.
She's finally learned to stand her ground.
But Minnie's challenge is not over, if she's to become a powerful member of the pride.
Some young animals are reluctant to step up, while others can't wait.
In the Atlantic Ocean, Kai, a young bottlenose dolphin, is enjoying some pod time.
They're a sociable bunch, and he's eager to be part of the gang.
But at two years old, he has more to learn before he's ready to leave his mom.
They've come to the creeks and inlets of South Carolina.
They're full of fish migrating to the sea to spawn.
Kai has caught fish in the open ocean, but in these murky, shallow estuaries, the pod must use a dangerous technique.
They're going to hunt on land.
His mom will show him how.
With another dolphin, she creates a wave big enough to push fish up the bank, where they're an easier target.
Then they deliberately strand themselves to snatch their prey, before sliding back down.
Getting stuck on land is a serious risk.
Kai's mom is an expert.
But now it's his turn.
She places Kai in the middle to give him as much help as possible.
She's got one.
But Kai hasn't beached far enough up and misses out.
This time, he needs to go higher.
But he's gone too far.
The slippery mud has saved him.
Getting it wrong again could prove deadly.
But he's going to have to keep trying.
In Western Canada, teenager Spruce has left the beach where he last saw his mom.
And now he's lost.
He should be trying to find her.
But walking around is so tiring.
And Spruce just can't resist another little nap.
For his mom, there's no time to rest.
She's well aware of the dangers her cub faces.
And at last, she spots him.
His mom isn't giving up on teaching Spruce to dig for clams.
Luckily, now there are no other distractions.
Let the lesson begin.
But why bother when it's so much easier to swipe Mom's leftovers? He needs to start doing things for himself.
But Spruce is all about shortcuts.
Someone's already beaten him to these washed-up clams.
There's just one left.
But scrounging a few here and there isn't going to be enough for a growing bear.
Hungry Spruce can't put it off any longer.
He's going to have to dig.
Finally, he does it all by himself.
He's shown his mom he's got what it takes.
He's a big bear now.
Well, almost.
In Zambia's Luangwa Valley, Minnie's in much better shape.
Now she's eaten well, she's full of beans.
And the feeling is infectious.
The family is back at the river.
It's their favorite place to hang out.
Plenty to drink with a great view over their territory.
But not everyone's pleased to see them.
The Luangwa River is home to the densest population of hippos in the world.
And these males are getting nervy.
They don't like anyone to come close.
The pride is cautious.
But their smallest cub needs to learn when to fight and when to flee.
Minnie decides to place herself between the hippos and the pride.
She's not going to be pushed around so easily anymore.
But this hippo's a whole different ball game.
Showing off his sharp tusks, it's an aggressive threat.
Minnie's first to read the signs.
And the others follow her lead.
She's learning to navigate the difficulties life will throw at her.
Develop the confidence she'll need to succeed.
And with a close-knit family to support her, Minnie's future is looking bright.
In the estuaries of South Carolina, dolphin Kai is learning a dangerous way to fish.
And he must perfect the technique or risk his own safety.
His pod moves a mile round the corner to a new location.
The beach is already busy with novice fishermen.
And Kai is keen to join their ranks.
His mom checks the landing site is clear.
And they're good to go.
Kai is still finding it hard to get the timing right.
But his mom knows you need to hang around to hit the jackpot.
Kai's raring to try again.
This time, he's the one waiting.
His first catch.
By learning from his mom, he's mastered it.
And now there's no stopping him.
Success all round.
Kai has learnt the skills to hunt on land and proved himself to his mom.
Every baby born wild faces a steep learning curve from day one.
The odds are not on their side.
Danger lurks at every turn.
But most don't have to struggle alone.
Dedicated parents give their all to help them survive.
To prepare them as best they can for the trials they must tackle.
And if these babies master the skills they've been taught learn to stand up for themselves, and fight their corner, they'll have the best chance of making it to adulthood.
And one day, starting a family of their own.

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