‘Fota: Into the Wild’ is a brand-new and exciting four-part series presented by Andrea Hayes which will on Virgin Media One. Set in Fota Wildlife Park in Co Cork, the series follows Fota’s staff as they care for the animals in the 100 acre park, many of which are endangered or critically endangered in the wild.
In the first episode, we meet the male Asiatic lion Shanto and sisters Gira and Gita, who were especially brought to Fota Wildlife Park in 2016 with a view to start a new breeding programme.
Once roaming across the Middle East and Asia, the Asiatic lion was hunted to the brink of extension by the early 1900’s. Today, it is considered endangered with less than 500 remaining in the wild.
Less than a year later, Gira became pregnant for the first time, giving birth to three healthy cubs. The new mum kept them away from the public until our camera’s arrived!
Lions are the only wild cats who live in groups, or Prides, and it is no different for the Fota-born lions.
Over the course of the episode, we see the three cubs exploring their enclosure while their dad is making a beeline for the other female, Gita.
We also travel to the Miromizaha Project in the Madagascan rainforest with Fota ranger Eibhlín Foley, where she will observe the natural behaviour of the black and white ruffed lemur in the company of Professor Jonah Ratsimbazafy, one of the world’s leading primatologists.
She also finds out more about ‘slash and burn’, the main reason why every of the 112 species of lemur is threatened with extinction.
Fota: Into the Wild, Episode 1 airs Sunday February 2nd at 9pm on Virgin Media One