'Dynasties': Crew break the rules by trying to save poisoned lion cub

·Reporter


It’s the wildlife documentary series that’s gripped the nation, but Sunday night’s episode of Sir David Attenborough’s Dynasties has ignited fresh controversy.

After a family of lions in Kenya’s Masai Mara ate bait-laced with poison, laid down by local tribesmen who claim the wild cats eat their livestock, one young lion cub became particularly ill.

Vets were called in to help, which breaks the traditional rule of wildlife documentary filmmaking of purely observing and never intervening.

Tragically and despite a team of vets’ best efforts, the cub was unable to be saved.

“The crew’s attachment to the lions is what makes what happens next so hard to deal with,” narrated Sir Attenborough.

While cameraman John Aitchison said: “It’s just entirely wrong, isn’t it? Lions are so endangered.”

A Mara Mobile Veterinary Unit states that the crew did not call the vets, but rather alerted the reserve’s management team.

The report states: “[the lions] were seen during the morning behaving strangely by a BBC crew filming them. They informed Masai Mara National Reserve Management and Governor’s Camp management, who in turn sought the veterinary unit’s help.”

Sir Attenborough defended the show’s decision to intervene to Mail on Sunday and argued that as poison was involved – it wasn’t interfering with the natural order of nature.

“What you are talking about is whether they intervened in something which involved human beings. It’s not the same as whether you should interfere with the natural processes,” he said.

A BBC Spokesperson said: “The crew were, as far as we know, the first people to find the pride in an unsettled state, with some members feeling unwell.

“After observing them, they were concerned and called the management of the safari lodge where they were based, who then informed the wildlife authorities. It was the authorities who made a decision to call in the specialist wildlife vets to help the lions.”

This is the second time the series has been criticised for interfering. On last week’s episode the crew helped save a group of trapped Emperor penguins in an ice gully.


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