Incredible footage from the sensational new Big Cat Tales series shows how Charm has remarkably given birth to cubs after coming back to her historic domain. Viewers of the acclaimed Dynasties series last autumn were left numb after hearing how the lioness's charmed existence was all but over. She was driven off her Marsh Pride hunting grounds in Kenya’s famous Masai Mara, having suffered the loss of one of her cubs to poisoning.
Exciting footage released by the Animal Planet channel for this Sunday’s prime time wildlife programme shows how Charm has performed an incredible come back to join a pride with her newborn cubs.
Filmmakers Jonathan and Angela Scott captured enchanting scenes of Charm's feisty cubs holding their own with the pride’s other squabbling youngsters.
Jonathan laughs as he tells the camera how he believes Charm’s offspring are so spirited they are likely to end up the two toughest lions on the block.
As the cubs play rough and tumble, Charm’s own bonding with two other lionesses and their three offspring gives their newly formed pride a greater chance of survival.
“The cat was covered in dirt and debris and wood splinters,” says Cantrell on bideawee.org , “I thought the cat was injured, then I went to examine it and I saw a little head with two little beady eyes pop up covered in mud, and I realized the larger cat was clinging onto a kitten.” As it would turn out the larger cat was a feral male.
Charm the Lioness walks off into the sunset after being usurped (Image: BBC)
Charm in all her majesty with male lion in Dynasties series (Image: BBC)
Jonathan explains: “The benefit to Charm is that she is now part of an enlarged group.
“We have got three mothers actually working in coordination together, hunting together and defending these cubs together.
“You are now seeing the benefit for lions of being part of a group. Lions cannot really survive on their own.
“They cannot go back to being a solitary cat like the leopard, doing everything for themselves. They need support if they are going to raise cubs successfully. Charm has back-up now.”
Animal Planet’s Big Cat Tales follows on from where Sir David Attenborough’s BBC One series signed off, with its sad scenes that brought members of the production team that had spent more than 400 days filming the famous Marsh Pride to tears.
When one of Charm’s cubs was killed by poisoned bait laid by livestock farmers cameraman John Aitchinson was left visibly shocked.
Speaking after vets had lost the battle to save the cub’s life, he said: “It’s just entirely wrong, lions are so endangered. They are disappearing so quickly and then this happens to them because of pressure on the land for people.”
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Lion family devotion. Scene from Big Cat Tales (Image: Animal Planet)
There was more angst for Charm when the BBC cameras stopped rolling. The matriarch and the remnants of her pride were effectively sent into exile with the arrival of usurpers led by six powerful male lions.
To avoid conflict, Charm was seen heading north towards adjoining hunting grounds.
This week’s programme shows how she is back – and creating a new dynasty.
Big Cat Tales airs this Sunday at 8pm on Animal Planet (Sunday, March 24).