Though every week is Big Cat Week in our hearts, it’s about to officially be Big Cat Week over at Nat Geo WILD.
The premise here is simple. In similar fashion to Sharkfest 2020 before it (which ran for five weeks), National Geographic’s animal-focused channel will be rolling out big cat-centric programming for five days next week. Big Cat Week starts on Monday, Sept. 7 at 2 p.m. ET and runs through Friday, Sept. 11.
The first catty offering from Nat Geo WILD is the documentary Jade Eyed Leopard, from notable National Geographic filmmakers and founders of the Big Cat Initiative Beverly and Dereck Joubert. Jade Eyed Leopard premieres Monday, Sept. 7 at 8 p.m. ET. The hour-long special follows a young leopard named Toto through the turbulent first three years of her life. Toto has aquamarine-colored eyes, which is an extremely rare trait in leopards. The documentary also uses the thermal-night-vision cameras to capture the seldom-seen night time activities of a young leopard.
If you’d like to see what those night-time activities look like, then we’ve got some great news. Below is an exclusive clip from Jade Eyed Leopard which features Toto exploring her darkened surroundings.
Truly, who among us cannot empathize with Toto as she half-heartedly paws at various food sources in her habitat. Her swatting away a young lizard is the equivalent of opening up the fridge at 1 a.m. and not finding anything of note. If the voice in that clip sounds familiar there’s a good reason for that. Describing Toto’s adventures is none other than Jeremy Irons a.k.a. Adrian Veidt a.k.a. Ozymandias (Watchmen).
Jade Eyed Leopard will serve to highlight the existential threats many big cats face. Per Nat Geo WILD, leopards in particular currently occupy just 25-37 percent of their historic range. As such, six of the nine species of leopard are in jeopardy.
“Documenting big cats in the wild, particularly leopards has been our passion for more than 30 years,” Dereck and Beverly Joubert said in a statement. “This film presented us with a once-in-a-lifetime experience to shadow a leopard born under our tent for the formative first three years of her life. Toto welcomed us to her territory as one of her own, and with the use of cutting-edge, thermal-night-vision technology, we were able to shed light on the nocturnal world to reveal behaviors previously shrouded in darkness. We are honored that Jade Eyed Leopard launches Nat Geo WILD’s Big Cat Week, giving a platform to leopards and other big cats throughout the planet.”
Nat Geo WILD’s other Big Cat Week offerings will highlight similar conservationist messages. Programming includes a three-night premiere of Savage Kingdom (Season 4), alongside library content like Swamp Lions, Jaguar: Supercat, Lion Gangland, Cat Wars: Lion v. Cheetah, Battle for the Pride, Tiger Wars, and more.