There is more heartbreak ahead in Dynasties – except this time, the humans are killing the animals, rather than trying to save them.
Following last week’s remarkable penguin rescue , it’s now the turn of Kenya’s Masai Mara lions to be plunged into life-and-death situations.
There were several shocks in store for the BBC team as they embarked on the most detailed filming of the famous Marsh Pride ever attempted.
The first came when the adult males abandoned the group, leaving lioness Charm and another female to do all the hunting and protect their eight young.
The second was the poisoning of the pride by farmers who used toxic meat in a bid to protect their cattle as they grazed them in the protected territory.
Camerawoman Sophie Darlington said she and the rest of the crew – who filmed the lions for two years – were left “absolutely devastated” by the poisoning, which affects most of the pride.
The adult males left lioness Charm and another female to do all the hunting
- Lion King 2019 trailer: All you need to know about new film as Disney remake 1994 classic
Sophie said: “We were all incredibly sad – it was so out of our control. There was nothing anyone could do.
“There have been days where I’ve seen things that break your heart and, of course, you do get upset.”
Viewers will see flying squad vets swoop in by helicopter in a bid to save the lions worst affected by the poisoning.
The outcome will be revealed at the end of tomorrow night’s show. The incident highlights how humans and wildlife are in a battle over territory in Africa.
“The poisoning is brutal and heart-breaking – but it’s important to know all these animals don’t live in a chocolate-box environment,” Sophie said.
Farmers use toxic meat in a bid to protect their cattle
- The Lion King remake starring Beyonce releases its trailer and it’s amazing
“There’s just not enough space or wilderness in the world and… lions are in desperate trouble… So I’m glad that this brings that to light.”
Lions are an endangered species, with numbers dropping by half, to around 20,000, in the past 20 years. In Kenya, just 2,000 remain, with the population falling by around 100 every year.
Dynasties producer Mike Gunton said: “Their lives are tough enough as it is, but there’s that extra lever that’s making their lives a little bit too tough. That, in a way, is the whole point. Every single day something like this could happen… It’s like Game of Thrones.”
- Dynasties, BBC One, Sunday, 8pm.
Top news stories from Mirror Online
’30-year-old’ pupil with beard and beer
Flood risk after first winter snow
Meghan and Harry moving house
Footballer pays more tax than Amazon