There are two sides to every story – one wild tale told from different perspectives in each episode.
The dry riverbed of Mashatu, Botswana, is home to an incredible cast of creatures: A herd of elephants, a mother leopard and her cub, a jackal couple raising their young and a feisty troop of baboons. They might all look like great neighbors, but when push comes to shove, every single creature will fight for their piece of African bush.
Now, we follow their stories as they fight to stay alive and raise their young in a world full of danger. But unlike the stories told about the African wilderness in the past, this time we see things from every perspective. Four animals, filmed over two years and over 250 hours of footage. In this blue-chip series, we follow the lives of four species, experiencing the very same event from multiple animals’ perspectives! In each episode, their stories run parallel, ultimately explaining how and why their wild tales come to intersect.
For our wild cast, every choice they make along the way to raise their young has a domino effect on every other animal. Without knowing it, they are tied together in their attempt to raise the next generation.
Through extraordinary perspective segments, we witness the same events through the eyes of different animals. By uncovering what brought each animal to Mashatu, we witness the events that unfold and explore the ongoing effect of these moments. All of this to better understand the important role each animal plays in nature.
Macquele is a 5-year-old leopard and struggling mom. Over the last year she has lost all her cubs, but now she is on the verge of successfully raising her first daughter, Gwari. As a single mom, life is tough. She has to deal with the haunting of hyenas, lions and black-backed jackals. All the while, the local baboon troop gives her position away every time she tries to hunt. We follow her story, understanding what leads her into conflict with other animals in the area… it’s all in the name of protecting her daughter.
THE ELEPHANT HERD
Led by the experienced mother, Ukwethemba, the herd is in constant search for food and water, traveling over large distances to find it. For our young elephant, Abancane, life on the move is not easy. There is so much to learn here, like where to find food, but also how to avoid predators (grandma Ukwethemba has a real knack for chasing off both hyenas and elephants). In fact, many feel she goes way beyond her duty of protecting her herd – she might be doing a communal service, just like a police force.
THE BLACK-BACKED JACKAL
The jackals are the only inhabitants in our neighborhood that are monogamous – much like us humans! Together male and female raise a litter of pups using a network of dens. But in order to find enough food, Mr and Mrs Inja must brave the much larger predators in the neighborhood – lions, leopards, cheetah and hyena. Grabbing pieces of the already-killed animals might seem like an easy task, but when it’s protected by fierce opponents, it’s easier said than done.
THE BABOON TROOP
The most social of the animals – the baboons are clever, cunning and quick to react. The way they respond to events in nature has an enormous ripple effect on the animals of Mashatu. They lure in predators, warn prey and cause trouble wherever they are. We follow Umusa and her son Isipho as they carve out their living!
ADDITIONAL SIDE CHARACTERS
Lions: A rogue team of male lions are looking to proclaim a new territory!
Cheetahs: A successful cheetah mom has moved into the area with her 4 cheetah cubs. Expert hunters, they take down everything from impalas to birds. It’s bad news for leopards like Macquele who get outcompeted. However, this is GREAT news for our jackal family as the cheetahs ultimately leave a lot of waste.
Hyenas: The hyena clan is strong and powerful, and the only ones that can give the lions a run for their money.
Warthogs: The warthogs often get into fights with the baboon troop who get up to mischief and steal their food.
Banded Mongooses: The banded mongoose gang relies on numbers but they must also navigate elephant feet and hungry lions to survive.
Episode 1: The drought
A drought is making life tough for the animals in Mashatu.
Elephant herd: With the loss of their matriarch, the elephants are on edge. Every animal is a potential threat. When they see a leopard approaching them, the herd is on high alert. They chase her away, protecting the young ones in their herd at all costs.
Leopard: With the drought, Macquele is struggling to keep her daughter fed. The elephants keep chasing her off and giving her position away. Luckily, the nearby baboon troop is an option for easy prey…
Baboon troop: The baboons are facing trouble of their own. The drought is causing conflict within the troop and a few close calls with a leopard is making matters worse…
Episode 2: Trouble in the neighborhood
Leopard: Macquele has taken refuge up the baboon’s favorite tree after she got chased off her kill by rogue lions.
Baboons: With their favourite tree gone, there is imbalance in the troop. The baboons need to find a new and safe spot to sleep tonight, but wherever they go, there is trouble!
Jackals: The jackal couple have moved their pups to a new location after the cheetahs made a kill right next to their den. But, before they know it, the baboons arrive on the scene. The jackals are not giving up their den again and start to harass the baboons! Eventually the couple manages to chase the troop away from their new den.
Episode 3: Rising river
Wet season is here, and although water is not a problem anymore, the rising river is!
Elephant: A young elephant has fallen into the river and struggles to get up, only the new matriarch can save her now. But, she better act soon… there are crocodiles in these waters now!
Leopard: Our female leopard has followed the crocodiles in the river and seen that they have killed an impala. If she could steal this impala from the crocs while they are distracted by the elephants, she might be able to feed her cubs for longer than just a day. But is the reward worth the risk?
‘THE WILD SIDES’ has already largely been shot with over 250 hours of footage available. Our camera crew has spent over one and a half years filming in Mashatu, following the characters and capturing amazing scenes and behavior. They are still in the field where they continue to build on these animals’ incredible storylines. Our Emmy award-winning creative teams go the extra mile to ensure that every story tells the world something new about nature with compelling, emotive and visionary narratives.
A co-production of Terra Mater Studios and Red Rock Films International