The Last Lions Roaring into Theaters This WeekendMar 12th, 2011 | By Roy Rasmussen | Category: Art and Entertainment
The National Geographic documentary The Last Lions is playing in select theaters this weekend, following up on its limited opening last month.
The documentary follows an exiled lioness named Ma di Tau (“Mother of Lions”) as she fights for the survival of her three cubs after the death of her mate and being driven away by a rival pride. Ma di Tau must protect her children from other lions, hyenas, and crocodiles.
The film uses the story to emphasize the low population of large cats in the world, raising the question of whether Ma di Tau and her cubs will be among the last lions. The African lion population is estimated to have dwindled from 400,000 in the 1950s and 100,000 in the 1990s down to between 16,500 and 47,000 living in the wild in 2002-2004. Causes of the decline include climate change, disease, and conflict with humans.
The Last Lions is filmed and directed by Dereck and Beverly Joubert, Botswana-based filmmakers who have used their photography to promote the conservation of big cats, zebras, elephants, and other wildlife over the past twenty years.
The film is narrated by Jeremy Irons. Irons previously narrated the Jouberts’ National Geographic big cat documentary Eye of the Leopard.
The Last Lions premiered at the Palm Springs International Film Festival in January 2011. It was then released in select theaters on February 18, 2011.
The film promotes National Geographic’s Big Cat Initiative, which raises funds for the preservation of big cat species.