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"Return of the Lion" on Nat Geo Wild

 Photo Credit: Nat Geo Wild

Photo Credit: Nat Geo Wild

In the heart of Africa, a new era is dawning. Rwanda is one of Africa's smallest nations and it's is heading towards an important milestone... it's about to receive its first resident lion pride in twenty-five years. Two and a half decades ago a brutal civil war ripped through the country, killing close to two million people and wiping out its most iconic wildlife. Even the great predators vanished from the landscape. The wilderness turned into farmland and the plains fell silent. Rwanda has worked hard to recover from the atrocities of war; it's regained its peace...and rejuvenated its wildlife. Today the wild plains are flourishing and great herds of antelope thrive once more. It's a garden of Eden for any herbivore, but there's still one thing missing...lions! Rwanda is eagerly anticipating their first lion reintroduction. Leaving their native home in South Africa, seven lions are making the arduous journey, covering thousands of miles to the heart of Africa. Their destination is Akagera, Rwanda's idyllic National Park. They are the last piece of the puzzle that will complete the rejuvenation of this land. For Rwanda, they symbolize the redemption of an entire nation - a country rebuilt and renewed. It's a long haul by road, but for the lions, this journey is only just beginning. To survive in this foreign land, the lions will have to master a barrage of challenges. The first will be to band together and form a pride. These lions are not bound by blood, they're a random collection of five females and two males, chosen for strong genes rather than family ties. In order to master their new kingdom, they will need to learn to hunt as a team and support each other. The key to the success of this reintroduction lies in a strong sisterhood of lionesses who will hunt and provide for the pride and the two young males, who will protect them and sire new generations of cubs to re-establish a healthy lion population in the Rwandan wilderness.

Nat Geo Wild is on Starhub Channel 413 and Singtel Channel 207.

Part of Big Cat Week

Magnificent hunters. Ferocious predators. Powerful felines. From lions, tigers and cheetahs to jaguars, cougars and more — incredible big cats are revered around the world. Yet today, these majestic creatures are some of the most threatened species on Earth. During BIG CAT WEEK we will come face-to-face with these iconic animals, as Nat Geo WILD shines a light on their struggle and reminds viewers of their importance in the world.