Orphans of the Wild
13 kms East of Windhoek, the Capital of Namibia in southern Africa, we find a place where humans care for wild animals that cannot fend for themselves. The wildlife and rehabilitation sanctuary, Naankuse, where a family devotes their life to take care of orphan animals that end up in their care after some unfortunate event killed or injured their parents. The responsibility now rests on these dedicated humans to nurture them and try and rehabilitate them back to the wild.
S01:E01 - Painted Pups
In an early morning breakfast scene we are introduced to Marlices family - Rudie, her husband, and Zacheo, their sun. After breakfast Zacheo helps Marlice to carry the litter of 14 African Wild Dog pups from the house where they had spent the night to an enclosure on the lawn. Here they are weighed and micro-chipped. Zacheo leaves for school where he meets up with his Bushman friends. A new orphaned baby baboon with a foot injury arrives at Naankuse and Marlice treats her in the clinic after which she and Johannes, one of her helpers feed and take the three caracals for a walk in the veldt. Back at home the two five-month old leopard cubs are causing havoc in the house - they are beginning to be a threat to Zacheo, who is on his way home from school. When he arrives home the door is closed and Marlice arrives just in time. She and Johannes put the two cubs in transport cages. Quick look-back at the caracals, meerkats and wild dog pups - all happy! Quick throw-forward to Episode 2
S01:E02 - Baby Baboons
Early morning, one of the baby baboons, Gus, wakes up with Marlice, Rudie and Zacheo - in their bed! Here he gets his first bottle of the day after which Marlice takes him to the main enclosures. Marlice and Jo take him and the other babies for their daily walk. During the walk they get exercise, climb trees, play with each other and forage for food - just like they would in the wild. Arriving back at the enclosures Marlice and Jo prepares the babys bottles and feed them. Ore, the bat-eared fox with a nerve condition, has strayed into the meerkats territory and Marlice rushes to the rescue. Peace restored, Shona, the new baby baboon, has to be introduced to the rest of the troop in their enclosure - not without drama! While this is happening the mongoose finds his way into the chicken pen and starts stealing eggs - once again Marlice has to rush in to save the situation. Finally, its time for the babys solid meal of the day and then their bath time - something they react to in different ways. Gus gets his las
S01:E03 - Signs in the Sand
Marlice gets a call from a reserve in the south of Namibia where they had released a collared leopard a couple of months before. They have since lost the signal and dont know what had happened to the animal. Marlice decides to take Kiewiet, an expert Bushman tracker, to the reserve and look for it on foot. Before leaving she first checks in on Lucky, a three-legged cheetah that acts as a foster mother to orphaned cheetah cubs. We are introduced to Lucky and three cubs. After fetching Kiewiet, Marlice, Rudie, Kiewiet and Flo flies down to Namibrand, the reserve. Upon arrival Marlice and Kiewiet immediately sets out on foot, tracking the leopard. On the way Kiewiet teaches Marlice the secrets of the veldt and relate Bushman folklore to her. Rudie and Flo try once again to find the animal with telemetry. At the end of the day Marlice and Kiewiet find a leopard in a dry river gorge - but is it the one they were looking for?
S01:E04 - Cat Trouble
Of all the animals at Naankuse baboons make up the majority and are divided into three groups, adults, juveniles and babies. Marlice visits and interacts with the adults, introduces us to some of them and explains their intricate social structure. They then go for a walk in the veldt - a valuable excursion as they climb trees, play, forage for food and groom each other - and Marlice! After the walk she introduces us to the juvenile group and explains their hierarchy. The smaller animals like the goats, hares and tortoises also need tlc and food and Marlice spends lunchtime in their enclosure. Flo gets a call from a neighboring farm about a leopard thought to have been catching livestock that had been caught in a capture cage. Marlice and Kiewiet rushes to the farm where a problem with the cage makes it an even more dangerous mission. As the sun sets they finally put the leopard in an enclosure at Naankuse.
S01:E05 - The Big Relocate
Due to threatening poaching problems Marlice and Rudie decide to move three lions into a leopard enclosure and the leopards from that enclosure into the lion enclosure. They first dart the two leopards, take blood samples and put them in holding cages - without a glitch. Because the three lions are aggressive and at the same time very suspicious it is important that all three have to be darted at exactly the same moment - at the sound of a dart gun they will simply disappear into the thickets. Marlice, Rudie and Ian, a vet, line up to dart the lions. When Ians dart gun accidentally touches the electric fence, Rudie reacts to the sound and fires his gun. He hits the one female, but the other two run into the bushes. A short while later the male approaches and Marlice darts him, of the other female there is no sign. They now have to go in to the enclosure to load the two sedated lions while the female is still wide awake. They find and load the two lions, then take them to the leopard enclosure where they are r
S01:E06 - Big Cats and Baby Baboons
We look back at when Umbili and Shakira arrived at Naankuse as two little cubs, for a while they lived in Marlices house until they became to dangerous to Zacheo. Now they are in their own, big enclosure - Marlice checks up on them and feeds them, but even here trouble is brewing. Marlice introduces the baby baboons to the juveniles, but first Blommie, the leader of the juveniles, has to be put in a capture cage. We are introduced to the meerkats where-after Marlice takes Aiko and Kiki, two tame cheetahs for a walk. The next day the baby and juvenile baboons are taken for a walk after which Umbili and Shakira encounter a porcupine on their late afternoon walk.
S01:E07 - New Born
We meet Nicklai, Rudie and Marlices five month-old son. Zacheo now goes to school in Windhoek and goes there by bus. Umbili and Shakira have grown quite a bit and were moved to a bigger enclosure, Marlice still feeds them daily before checking up on the wild dogs. The pack is now nearly fully grown - one has a snakebite wound that is not healing and Marlice decides what to do. The meerkats now also have a litter of eleven and encounter a pufadder at the enclosures - Frank and Violet teaches their offspring how to handle the situation. Marlice checks in with the baby baboons where Shona has taken over leadership. After school Zacheo helps with little tasks like feeding the poultry then he helps Marlice to introduce Nicklai to the baby baboons. Umbili has become to dangerous to take for walks, but Marlice and Rudie still take Shakira out for walks - but not for long.
S01:E08 - New Beginnings and Sad Endings
While looking for the three caracals that hadnt been seen for about three weeks Kiewiet finds suspicious looking human tracks and traces of blood in the veldt - possibly that of a poacher. He immediately alerts Marlice and they, together with Rudie and Flo investigate. They are sure that it is that of a poacher and Rudie, Kiewiet and Flo do a stakeout from a watchtower during the night. When nothing turns up they decide to pick up and follow the tracks the next morning. The tracks lead them to an outbuilding on a neighboring property where a suspect is apprehended. Two hours later Marlice gets a call about a leopard that was caught in a snare, also on a neighboring property. They immediately set out and find that it was not a leopard but a cheetah and that they were too late..
S01:E09 - Operation Wild Dog
One of the wild dogs has a snakebite wound that doesnt heal. Marlice and Rudie dart her and take her to their clinic where a biopsy is taken and her general condition checked. When putting her back with the rest of the pack they have to be careful - if she is too drowsy the other dogs might see it as a sign of weakness and kill her. A caracal with a broken leg arrives at Naankuse and they take her to a vet in Windhoek where X-rays are taken. Dr Ian Baines operate on her with Rudie assisting - Marlice explains the procedure to Zacheo - in Bushman. Arriving back at Naankuse Marlice has just enough time to check in on two cheetahs that will soon be released back into the wild.
S01:E10 - Cheetah Rescue
Three of the baby baboons have reached the age where they can start breeding and Marlice decides they need to be castrated as she doesnt want them to breed in captivity. She and Rudie differ on how to sedate the baboons - she beliefs they should catch and then inject them, Rudie feels they should simply dart the three baboons. Funny moments as they play off against each other. Finally, Rudie wins, they dart the baboons and take them to the clinic where Rudie, with Marlices help perform the operations. The three babies stay in the clinic for the night. The next morning Marlice and one of the volunteers leave for a farm in the north of Namibia. The owner, who has two semi-tame cheetahs on the farm, had her leg injured by a cow and cant look after them any longer. Marlice offers to fetch and look after the cheetahs. Upon arrival at the farm she is relieved to find that they had been very well looked after. With the help of a few workers they quickly catch the two cats. The owner is really sad to see them leave a
S01:E11 - Tooth Trouble and Game Count
One of the cheetahs at Naankuse is not eating well and Marlice suspects it is because of tooth trouble. She and Rudie take the cheetah to Dr Ian Baines, the vet in Windhoek. X-rays reveal that she indeed has a tooth problem, and it is serious - if they cant fix it she might have to be put down. During a four-hour operation the rotten toot is removed and she has a good change of surviving. Marlice and Rudie take the caracal that had the leg operation back to Naankuse and inspect the leg. The wound has healed nicely and the caracal is doing well. Early afternoon and Marlice checks in on the two young cheetahs that were brought in a week ago - they are still adapting to their new environment and will be moved in with Lucky, who will act as their surrogate mom, as soon as possible. The good rains experienced during the past season could mean that the number of wild animals at Naankuse may have increased - Rudie and Flo take to the air for an aerial game-count - they are surprised and happy with the numbers. While
S01:E12 - Preparing for the Big Release
Seven cheetahs and one leopard that had been in the care of Marlice and Rudie will be released back into the wild. All these have to be caught and darted, collared and given medical check ups - in one day! Before starting with the operation Marlice puts the caracal that had a leg operation in a bigger enclosure - she is recovering fast and will also be released soon. Starting with the big operation Marlice, Kate and Flo set a capture cage for Boris, one of the cheetahs, they then join the rest of the crew at the main cheetah enclosures. Here Rudie briefs everybody on the POA for the day. Marlice and some helpers go to the Chipmunks (three cheetah brothers) enclosure where one has already been caught in a capture cage set the night before. They put two cages on either side of his cage to catch the remaining two. Marlice joins up with Rudie and they prep the dart guns, collars and medical equipment after which they dart two cheetahs. As soon as these are sedated they are collared and given a check-up. While thi
S01:E13 - The Big Release
Early morning, the first day. A convoy of vehicles and trailers with the seven cheetahs and one leopard leave Naankuse for a six-hour drive to Sandfontein, a private reserve in the far south of Namibia. These animals have been looked after at Naankuse and over the next few days they will be released back into the wild. As they proceed the landscape changes, becoming more mountainous. Rudie, Marlice, Zacheo and little Nicklai take off from Windhoek International Airport for the two-hour flight to Naankuse. As the convoy arrives at the reserve he does a low fly-over in salute to all the hard work that has been done so far. They immediately drive to the release point, a two-hectare camp. The three cheetah-brothers, named the Chipmunks are released into the camp, they will spend six months here before being released onto the rest of the reserve. The male leopard is taken to a release point closer to the mountains where he is released as the sun sets. Early the next morning the convoy leaves for Solitaire, on the
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