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She has a mate -
her companion and protector,
and the father of her cubs.
The beginnings of a new pride
for this unspoiled land deep in Botswana.
Tonight the bush is uneasy.
The distant calls they've been hearing
for some time are getting closer.
It puts them on edge.
Invaders! And they suddenly materialize.
Lions from the north,
forced here by the relentless encroachment of man.
They're ready to risk everything to win new territory.
Her male has no choice but to fight.
It's a battle that could change the bloodlines here forever.
The invaders with a clear determination
to win and to stay.
When she finally emerges from hiding,
her shoulder almost healed,
she is ready to pick up her life.
She starts by trying to find her mate.
Every sound makes her freeze.
Every breath of air brings unfamiliar scents.
Until she finds him,
she is a fugitive in her own land.
By now her mate has had weeks to recover.
He should be answering her calls.
His wounds are too severe.
His spirit has gone out of him.
He has become old, damaged, broken.
His reign is over.
There are new rulers now.
To survive here,
she will have to submit to these new masters.
But until the newcomers detect her presence,
she still has a choice.
The swirling air carries a hint of her unfamiliar scent.
The hunt begins.
She decides to leave...
to leave immediately.
For she has a secret -
all that is left from her old life...
A secret that must be protected.
This will be her life now...
To secure the survival of her cubs.
With the males behind her, back-tracking is impossible.
The females of the marauding pride,
blocking her escape to the west.
The leader will remember the violent night they last met
as vividly as she does.
The night she was left battered and bitten,
bleeding to death...
But she, in turn, left the largest of them
with one eye blinded for life.
It's a wound the silver-eyed leader of the pride
will never forget.
They can smell her tracks.
The storm ignites the bush and she is trapped.
Now she must choose:
north towards the villages and people,
or south along the fireline
to an even more daunting obstacle for her...
The swollen river.
In this part of Africa, a mother is named
after her first-born as its protector.
He was always just a little smaller than the other two,
slower, prone to getting lost.
Today Ma di Tau, Mother of lions,
earns her name as protector of her young.
As the smallest,
he must get used to being constantly bullied.
It will either build him up, or wear him out.
Ma di Tau knows the pride will be coming after her,
but what lies ahead is terrifying.
Lions detest deep, open water.
It hides things that seem unnatural to them.
But the options behind are worse.
If she stays to fight, the male lions will kill her cubs.
It's their instinct to wipe the face of the Earth
clean of the old male's genes.
She must make her decision now.
The male cub doesn't hesitate this time.
He knows to stay close.
His sister wades in more cautiously.
But the third cub holds back, scared of the water.
By the time the third cub plucks up enough courage,
she's become an easy target...
both on the land and in the water.
The males turn back into their newly won territory,
satisfied that she and her cubs have been expelled forever.
The silence is a condemnation.
Ma di Tau, the protector,
has failed for the first time as a mother.
As she turns away, she is turning her back on her past,
on the pride that was so desperate to be rid of her.
And she steps forward into an uncertain future
with her two surviving cubs: the little male and his sister.
The battle for the territory has been decided.
Ma di Tau and her cubs have escaped
to an almost deserted island in the swamp,
the only lions on this vast, isolated wilderness called Duba,
in the middle of the Okavango delta.
Here the land is plagued by seasonal floods
and rivers that weave through it.
If it is a refuge for them, it will be a wet one.
A few weeks have passed.
Food has been scarce,
but there are still no signs of other lions,
and they are starting to feel safe at last.
The smaller cub has gained a renewed confidence
by being one of just two cubs now.
In his heart he is a hunter,
always ready to explore the endless possibilities
that lie in wait for a cub with a restless spirit.
For the young male, it was a close call...
He may have thought he so nearly notched up his first kill,
but that little hunter's heart did skip a small beat today.
The cowardly withdrawal by the elephant
confirms that there will be another chance,
perhaps when he's a bit older.
Until today, she had only time to focus on escape and survival,
but now she must find a way to get her cubs
safely through their first critical year,
until they can fend for themselves.
And as a single mother,
this will take every ounce of her energy and intelligence.
The fire and march of human settlements
to the north have driven other animal refugees
towards the island.
Duba is about to change.
These are some of Africa's most aggressive animals.
Their sharp horns and bone-crushing bodies
are perfect weapons,
and their massive numbers give them confidence.
At the head of the herd is one of the most fearsome of them:
a scar-faced bull weighing almost a ton.
For the past few weeks this has been her island.
The arrival of the buffalo brings hope as possible prey...
but also fear.
These will be her new enemies on the island.
Buffalo are not easy prey.
They dislike the scent of lions,
and they don't hesitate to attack.
For the cubs,
life so far has been a litany of narrow escapes,
one long line of enemies out to get them -
a strange way to start life as king of the beasts.
With more and more of the newcomers
flowing onto her island,
Ma di Tau and her cubs are destined to run into them again.
The herd's pathfinder is now aware
that this island has lions,
and from now on he'll always be on the alert.
It will be an almost daily conflict,
unavoidable in this open, yet confined space.
If she is not going to be at their mercy,
she will have to learn more about this new presence.
She will have to test them for weaknesses
and she must look beyond
the strong outer wall of their heavy armaments.
In time she must become expert at finding those weak points...
small, hidden chinks in the armor
that will stumble out into view
and excite her instincts as a huntress.
Night is an advantage for her.
She can hide in the shadows of a crescent moon
and let her eyes brighten to take in her quarry.
Now she has to become invisible.
It is what a solitary hunter does best.
The damp grass helps her perform like a silent ghost,
flitting in and out of reality.
Two mothers now battle for the survival of their young:
buffalo desperate to deflect an attack;
lioness eager to double back and strike quick, fatal blows
to earn a meal for her cubs.
It's the eternal dance of Africa.
The young lions will go hungry a little longer.
When the buffalo calf escapes, it carries a chilling message
of a near-miss written in blood back to the scar-faced bull.
It's a race against time.
The cubs are demanding more from Ma di Tau
as they grow and her milk dries up.
The small male doesn't seem to want to compete.
But while he bonds with his mother,
his sister grows stronger all the time.
Her cubs survival is a hard taskmaster for her,
and despite the searing heat and humidity,
she forces herself up again,
back onto the path of the buffalo.
She seems to understand that the herd will provide,
if she can just crack that code.
She has a fresh tactic in mind.
Having taken up her position,
she tries something very sophisticated...
a full on, out in the open, rather desperate charge.
It panics the herd.
A lion hunt is as much a mind game
as it is a physical explosion of violence.
What she doesn't know is that the commotion of the hunt
has drawn interest from across the river...
Silver Eye.
Only a thin strip of water divides them
at this point in the river.
The intensity keeps Ma di Tau focused -
perhaps too focused.
The night hides many a bold and sinister thing.
Signs of change often come
in the slight shift of grass in the breeze,
or a hint of a scent that brings disturbing news to Ma di Tau.
She and her cubs once again stand directly in the path
of an aggressive, half-blind lioness and her followers.
Ma di Tau's hostile warning
buys her time against these huge lions,
who present a united force
though lack the confidence of her local knowledge.
The cubs understand her body language;
they know what to do.
This territory is her last option.
There is nowhere else for her to go.
If she flees from the island,
she'll immediately have to face
the males patrolling the far bank.
And if she were to avoid them,
at the horizon there are people, villages, guns.
The river is her defense and her confinement...
Her last stand.
This island lives and breathes
by a different set of rules to the rest of Africa.
The pride has some lessons to learn
before they can call it their own.
The first is that it's a mistake
to sleep too deeply on Duba island,
especially when a scar-faced bull
has smelled the spilled blood of his young.
Ma di Tau hears the buffalo attack.
She pictures the chaos from bitter experience.
One sound -
the crash of water as the buffalo retreat -
takes on a new significance to her.
Each crystal clear splash clarifies an idea:
buffalo flee to water to escape.
They use it as a protective barrier
between themselves and the lions.
And yet, they still panic,
bunch together and make mistakes.
If she can make water her strength,
it will be their weakness.
Silver Eye has noticed the silent hunter on the move...
and what she has left behind in the grass.
The casual awakening is deceptive.
She is giving the huntress time to leave,
enough time to get involved in the hunt.
Something bothers Ma di Tau for a moment, some instinct.
But there seems nothing amiss.
Beaten, or just deterred for the time being?
It's a question that would haunt
any mother with vulnerable young,
driven by conflicting imperatives -
to hunt and feed her young,
or to stay and protect them?
With the pride safely in retreat,
the young male cub turns his attention
to a much greater challenge...
like being king of the hill.
Even just for a moment.
For a young lion, being lord of all you survey
is almost your birthright.
If only one's sister would accept it.
Winning the high ground is something to fight hard for,
but then when one's opponent unexpectedly gives up,
then the triumph of victory feels a little hollow.
With each day she hesitates or fails,
her cubs get closer to starving.
The disturbance is another indication
of the sheer power of the scar-faced bull
and the aggression of all buffalo.
And then she seems to see the solution to her problem.
This violent fighting will keep the pride away.
If she can move her cubs
up close to the herd but keep them hidden,
they will be safe from Silver Eye,
and Ma di Tau will be able to leave them to hunt again.
As the herd moves, she tracks them silently.
Keeping close, the cubs follow her every move.
It's a risk.
If the buffalo hear them, they could turn back and attack.
They're surrounded by demons.
It takes nerves of steel.
But any thoughts of a single-handed defense
are short-lived.
By dawn she's in a position to attempt the unknown...
a water hunt.
With the cubs nearby but safe,
it's time to concentrate on her new tactic.
Now she has the advantage.
She has already overcome most of her fear of water,
but the buffalo won't know that.
And they have hit the deep channel
where they bunch together.
The angry bull pathfinders
horn each other out of the way in the confusion.
Confusion is exactly what she is looking for.
They don't expect her to come out of the water;
they don't understand that shape, that wet smell,
that calculated approach
designed to cause stragglers to panic.
This is a chance she can't let go -
a lone cow isolated without help.
The distress calls enrage the herd.
They rally to the cow's defense.
The one thing she will not confront is a large crocodile.
But she still has the advantage of almost total concealment.
Her first attempt has given her hope.
The confused herd is just too enticing,
and the deep water is now her speciality.
Now is her time.
Her success is celebrated...
by anyone else who can take advantage.
Africa is as dispassionate about great victory
as it is about loss.
It drives all to learn and accept fate
and step forward towards the next day.
At least Ma di Tau has eaten,
and in a few hours she will produce milk.
And later she will go boldly into the water
and hunt the herd again.
But that is for tomorrow; now she is exhausted.
But that old lesson of never sleeping soundly
is not to be ignored.
There are risks attached to leaving the cubs
in the path of the buffalo, stirred to panic.
There are a thousand reasons to enjoy the dawn,
especially after a successful hunt.
There is only one reason that she quickens her pace.
Her calls are not being answered.
Every time she leaves them alone they wander off.
The little male has been going farther and farther,
but both always return to the same spot.
But not today.
Although there is a strong scent of buffalo,
there is no sign of the pride,
so she carefully follows the cubs' trail
away from the hiding place and out into the open.
A call!
It's the female cub,
way across the open terrain in the distance,
clearly upset, but alive!
Ma di Tau the protector has not failed completely;
she has found one of the cubs.
Her kill has brought a loyal following of scavengers,
and they can sense some weakness about her.
With no sign of the little male,
she'll defend her last cub
against the mob of hyenas at all costs.
In this final hopeless moment
she seems to understand the risks of following the buffalo,
and what happened here last night.
She hesitates just long enough to give hope...
But she can't mend a broken back.
No amount of care, licking, defending, will fix this.
When she steps away, finally,
Ma di Tau leaves behind her legacy -
the last of her male's bloodline,
and her name.
She is Ma di Tau,
mother and protector of lions, no more.
We don't know about animal grief,
or even the effect of any broken heart.
But something happens to the lone lioness
when the storm of emotion brews up in her eyes
and she leaves her cub behind for the last time.
When she roars, she calls to no one.
Her voice just adds to the turbulent day.
On this day when she has lost everything,
she seems to draw on a deeply held instinct
and transforms herself once again into a lone huntress.
For a single lioness to run directly
into the buffalo is virtually unheard of.
To take on the largest male in that herd -
a fit, fighting bull - is almost suicide.
Too much for her.
Too much hardship for one day.
Is it a lament to the gods?
A cry for help?
Or a last battlecry of frustration?
The pride again...
Their arrival is always sparked by any disturbance.
But this time she will not retreat.
And now the past strengthens her.
The submission extracted from Silver Eye
is enough for the lone lioness.
She has something left to do.
And in this moment of strength something fundamental changes -
something the pride recognizes.
They sense it in the determination in her step
and the look in her eye...
Something unseen...
She is transformed into a leader.
It's more than Silver Eye can do to follow her old enemy,
especially across water,
especially as a lower ranking huntress.
Lions hunt with coordination,
and when the stakes are high
they depend on being well rehearsed.
Now, hunting together for the first time,
every instinct drives them to find that rhythm.
All they can rely on is the leadership of a lioness
who has never led before.
When she makes her move, it is clinical and precise.
But the bull has led this herd for ten years or longer.
He has won the herd's allegiance with blood.
They won't abandon him now.
She is used to standing alone.
Suddenly the scales tip in the bull's favor.
The loyal horde fights back,
winning the advantage and forcing the lions into disarray,
destroying their confidence and scattering them to the wind.
With her pride divided and weak, she can't push forward again.
They're exhausted.
But something beyond the buffalo catches her eye,
a disturbance in the herd.
A lion cub...
Her lion cub.
Her reaction is a violent explosion of motherhood
that drives the buffalo back, away from her defenseless cub.
At last, she has hope.
She might still be able to fulfill that ambition
to raise at least one cub.
A mother who has lost and then found her offspring
must be overwhelmed with emotions.
The lone lioness has her name again...
Ma di Tau, the huntress, has purpose once more.
The transition from fierce tormentor
to compassionate mother attracts the buffalos' interest.
A slow, determined march of aggression.
And then, out of nowhere, a lioness arrives.
The light in this lioness' one eye
should still stir terror in Ma di Tau.
But it doesn't.
The two lionesses share a look that in an instant
sends a message in some silent language.
With a wall of buffalo ahead and a vulnerable cub behind,
somehow Silver Eye conveys
that she is not here to take advantage;
she is here to help.
There are moments before every conflict
when the fighters have a choice:
to back away and let the moment pass,
or to unite and step forward behind their leader into battle.
Silver Eye knows what she must do.
She must follow Ma di Tau's lead.
And in this moment a pride of lions is born.
And now they seem to understand
that their future will be determined right here,
as a pride.
With just one less of them,
the scales would tip in favor of the big bulls
and shatter their hopes...
And the future of this new pride's one remaining cub.
It is now or never.
Ma di Tau splits the herd and routes the front rank.
She seems to understand
that behind her Silver Eye will lead the attack.
It's a moment of trust...
The trust is well placed.
And it is over.
It is his first experience
of seeing lions do what they do best.
It's his introduction into a world of hunting and killing,
a necessary part of his legacy.
With the bull destroyed,
Ma di Tau has created a safer world for her cub.
She has unified a hunting coalition.
But one last thing remains to be done.
To raise her cub successfully,
she needs to accept this pride as her own.
When she and Silver Eye finally make peace,
they mend themselves and bind their pride,
their future, together.
And will this unlikely survivor,
a straggler with the heart of a lion,
be one of the last?
Will he get to grow a mane
and strengthen through adolescence?
Will he have a chance
to wear the battle scars of a mature male,
each one a badge of honor that started here today.
Will he be one of the last wild lions on Earth?
Will he wander alone in the last of these wild places,
as our world fills up with lights, clutter,
noise and people?
In 15 years there will be 8 billion human beings on Earth.
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Lions Documentary National Geographic - The Power of Lionesses [Eng Sub]

3011 Folder Collection
噹噹 published on May 18, 2016
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