A thrilling journey into the heart of the South African landscape. That is the delight that awaits M-Net viewers in The Wild Ones, a collection of wildlife stories that reveal more than even the creators of the series had expected.
Nature never ceases to surprise us, and this country is richly endowed with its treasures. However, species are lost at an alarming rate, and radical conservation efforts are needed to keep it in check. The series zooms in on heart-warming accounts of animal lovers working selflessly towards this end.
This Sunday, viewers are taken to De Hoop Nature Reserve, where ordinary people come together to help pull back species from the brink of extinction in a safe haven spanning 36 000 hectares – the largest natural area managed by CapeNature.
The reserve is home to the Cape mountain zebra, the smallest species of zebra in the world; the bontebok, once hunted to the point where just 17 remained in the wild; one of the last remaining breeding colonies of Cape vultures; the African black oystercatcher, and the mighty Southern right whale. Hunted to the brink of extinction, these special species are making a remarkable recovery – but the battle is far from over.
The first episode follows the arrival of whales in the late winter, the oystercatchers’ spring breeding cycle, and male bonteboks’ displays of power in the summer. One of the most fascinating segments deals with efforts to capture Cape mountain zebra and relocate them to suitable habitats, with a view to spreading them across a larger area.
Razeena Omar – chief executive officer for CapeNature says; “It is brilliant to see all the hard work put in over the years by our conservation staff to conserve these protected areas. The footage was documented with extreme detail and respect for nature.”
“We commend the production teams for putting this together so well. The neighbouring marine reserve, which extends 5km out to sea, is one of the largest marine protected areas in Africa, being a World Heritage site. It conserves a vast and fascinating variety of marine life captured in this episode,” she adds.
De Hoop is a favourite among hikers, cyclists and bird watchers, and home to The Whale Trail, one of the most iconic hiking trails in South Africa. This route offers coastal and mountain walking with spectacular views and of course, plenty of opportunities for whale watching. This route is a five-day trail featuring well-equipped accommodation on each of the five nights, including the newly-built Noetsie cottages, which are a stopover between days two and three.
The Wild Ones – De Hoop Place of Hope is scheduled to air on Sunday, 8 July at 16h00 on M-Net channel 101.
The Wild Ones is produced by Homebrew Films in partnership with WWF South Africa and BirdLife South Africa.
Viewers can also visit the M-Net website to enter the competition whereby one lucky viewer stands the chance to win a prize from BirdLife South Africa valued at R500 and a hamper from the Struik Nature Club to the value of R5 000.
For more information about CapeNature or De Hoop Nature Reserve, visit the CapeNature website, or follow news and conversations around the show on Twitter and Facebook by following @MNet and @CapeNature1 and using the hashtags #MNetWildOnes.