Film-maker lives with chee­tahs for new film

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - DALE HES

A NEW wildlife doc­u­men­tary fea­tur­ing in­ter­na­tion­ally ac­claimed South African film­maker Kim Wol­huter is set to be­come the Dis­cov­ery Chan­nel’s next big hit.

The na­tion­wide pre­miere of the film, Man, Chee­tah, Wild, was held re­cently at a Wildlife and En­vi­ron­ment So­ci­ety of South Africa (Wessa) event in Wol­huter’s home town of White River, Mpumalanga.

“We fin­ished the film ear­lier this year, and I am proud to say that Dis­cov­ery Chan­nel has said they see this as their next great film,” said Wol­huter.

Man, Chee­tah, Wild, which airs for the first time on Dis­cov­ery Chan­nel on De­cem­ber 16, fol­lows Wol­huter’s ex­tra­or­di­nary 18-month jour­ney with a wild chee­tah fam­ily in the Malilangwe Game Re­serve in south­ern Zim­babwe.

Wol­huter de­vel­ops an in­ti­mate bond with the chee­tahs, and takes view­ers on an emo­tional roller­coaster ride as he walks, runs and sleeps with the an­i­mals.

“I was up at three in the morn­ing on most days, but it’s a cheap price for do­ing what I do and lov­ing what I do,” Wol­huter said.

Wol­huter, grand­son of the Kruger Na­tional Park’s first game ranger Harry Wol­huter, who is famed for killing a ful­ly­grown male lion with a knife af­ter the an­i­mal attacked him, has spent more than 20 years mak­ing wildlife films for Na­tional Ge­o­graphic, BBC and Dis­cov­ery Chan­nel.

He is well known for de­vel­op­ing close re­la­tion­ships with wild an­i­mals. “I don’t in­trude on the an­i­mals and don’t try to stroke or hug them. It is im­por­tant that they only be­come ha­bit­u­ated to me, and not to all hu­mans,” Wol­huter said.

His 2001 movie Stalk­ing Leop­ards, which fol­lows the life of a male leop­ard in the Mala Mala Game Re­serve in Mpumalanga, won an Emmy Award.

“This lat­est film gives chee­tah and wildlife in gen­eral very good ex­po­sure. The ul­ti­mate goal is to bring in­ter­na­tional at­ten­tion to this en­dan­gered species,” he ex­plained. All pro­ceeds from the pre­miere were do­nated to Wessa Lowveld. – African Eye News Ser­vice

AWARD-WIN­NING: The wildlife doc­u­men­tary Man, Chee­tah, Wild is com­ing to the Dis­cov­ery Chan­nel.

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