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Amazing Wildlife Documentaries by Kim Wolhuter, Part 1 of 2

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Today, May 22, has been sanctioned by the United Nations as the International Day for Biological Diversity to increase understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues. In celebration, we present amazing wildlife films made by renowned cinematographer Kim Wolhuter. Since 1988, he has made wildlife documentaries for National Geographic, BBC, Discovery Channel, and Animal Planet, winning numerous awards and nominations.

What has made his films so unparalleled is the length of time he takes – at least two years on a production – developing a very intimate relationship with the wild animals that he is filming, such as leopards, hyenas, cheetahs, and African wild dogs. Then, in the 2001 documentary “Stalking Leopards,” he followed a big male leopard named Tjololo in Mala Mala Game Reserve for about 18 months, telling us the fascinating story about how Tjololo grows up from a young boy into his adulthood, keeping his territory totally under control. "The bush is one big neighborhood. Each inhabitant knows everyone else, the same as we know our own neighbors."

In the 2018 film “Dogs in the Land of Lions,” he introduces us to a beautiful African wild dog and a heroic mother named Puzzles. Without any other pack members to help, they must raise their 12 babies alone, with Puzzles staying in the cave, nursing the little ones, and Jigsaw going out to bring food home. However, even before the new babies can leave the den, Jigsaw and another female lose their lives. We can see how closely bonded these lovely dogs are, and the film tells how, “Individuals will sacrifice almost anything for their pack, a behavior wired into their DNA.” The young adults selflessly give their meal to Puzzles while she can’t leave the den. The courageous mother not only finds a safer home for her babies, but she also single-handedly brings them up into a thriving pack. Kim followed Puzzles for four years and watched as her daughter Dakota left to form her own family. In the third year, Dakota comes back with her children to visit Puzzles, carrying on her mother’s legacy.

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