Sony BBC Earth Dynasties Episode 4 review

Updated: Jun 18, 2019, 20:03 IST | Johnson Thomas |

It's a survival drama, an intimate close-up study of familial relationships that highlights the existential crisis of a family that is forced to fight each other in order to survive

Sony BBC Earth Dynasties Episode 4

U/A: Documentary
Narrated By: David Attenborough

Painted Wolves, known as Cape Hunting Dogs, one of Africa's most threatened predators - who used to roam across most of sub-Saharan Africa, now live only in Southern and South Eastern African countries like Botswana and Zimbabwe. Tait, one of the most successful painted wolf ever known is being featured in this David Attenborough primed BBC Earth Dynasties series.

An astonishing, harshly beautiful real-time capture of a territorial war between two packs of painted wolves – a dwindling one led by a mother, older and much weary, Tait and the growing-in-numbers, other, led by one of her daughters', a much younger and marauding, Blacktip, this Dynasties series episode has all the markings of high art.

It's a bitter mother-daughter rivalry focused on Tait, uncontested ruler of her pack for five years, now being threatened by Blacktip, supported by a 30-strong pack. Blacktip is shown to give birth to a litter of five pups and leads them through threats from Lions, buffalo and baboons.

Check out the trailer here:

It's a survival drama, an intimate close-up study of familial relationships that highlights the existential crisis of a family that is forced to fight each other in order to survive. These unloved beasts are facing struggles that we are familiar with. Their territories are dwindling, their pack size is being threatened by vanishing natural resources and other species are beginning to stake claim to territories not their own. Attenborough and team build up the drama with maps and vivid graphics, lending a haunting tune-up to what must be. Earth shaking drama, knife edge tension and breath-taking visuals complement the daring-do of the team that spent nearly two years on the banks of the Zambezi, in the Zimbabwean Wilds, to bring to life this astounding account of a survival story.

Attenborough, well known for his explicit, detailed narratives about animals and their native environments keeps up the brilliant standards that he himself has set - by expounding on the social hierarchy of these matriarchal animals, their civilisations, ecosystems and how they deal with threats to their very future. The Painted wolves might not have the endearing majesty of the African Elephant or the Lions but as a pack fighting for survival, surrounded by threats from Lions, Hyenas and other wild marauders ( including their own), they exhibit a fascination that is both haunting and unforgettable.

Lions, tigers, penguins and chimpanzees are the other subjects of Sir David Attenborough's Dynasties but this one titled 'Painted Wolf' is a standout because it's not amongst the animals that are familiar or loved-up in the popular imagination. They look like wild dog with their narrow eyes and cut teeth but their sprightly appearance belies the natural aggressive abilities of these beasts. Attenborough and team depict life from the Wolf's perspective and the rare brilliance and majesty with which it has been captured, makes it particularly enlightening!

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