David Attenborough’s Dynasties has distressed and impressed the nation in equal measures once again – this time – with an incredible episode on a female-led lion pride.
The third episode of BBC One’s landmark Dynasties series follows the famous Marsh Pride of Kenya’s Masai Mara, led by 14-year-old lioness ‘Charm’.
Viewers took to Twitter as hunting scenes played out over the hour-long show, with the lions becoming both predator and prey.
However, it was when the pride was poisoned by humans, tearful TV fans revealed their heartache on social media.
To protect livestock farmers in Africa sometimes use toxic meat where the lions graze, in a bid to kill them off.
Charm’s one-year-old son was poisoned by the toxic meat.
The mother, and leader of the pride is forced to leave him to die, as she moves forward with the rest of her hungry cubs.
Charm returns to her sick baby cub but she cannot remain with him or the others in the pack will starve without her
Charm looks over her shoulder as she makes the heartbreaking decision to leave her one-year-old son
The Marsh Pride – led by Charm – are a close-knit family of mothers and their growing cubs
The lion cub died despite his mother returning to him – before leaving again. The BBC camera crew attempted to help him but there was no antidote for the poison
‘She will never see her son, or Sienna, alive again,’ David Attenborough says as the mother leaves her son, looking back over her shoulder as she parts ways with him.
Tearful Twitter users said they were crying at home.
One man said: ‘F****g humans again!!!’
Another added: ‘Is there ever going to be an episode of Dynasties which doesn’t have me crying? Every Sunday is an emotional rollercoaster.’
Chelsea Nugent said: ‘Every week I watch Dynasties and every week I end up in tears.’
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 affected most of the pride.
The Marsh Pride is lef by females after the males leave the pack as soon as they are grown up
An emotional highlight in Charm’s life is also filmed – when her son and his cousin leave the pride aged four to start their own life as a powerful pair.
The lioness successfully raised the male cubs to become strong hunters.
Minutes earlier in the show, Charm’s son Red narrowly avoided being eaten by 20 Hyenas.
‘He’s trapped by over 20 of them,’ whispers Sir David.
‘The pack tries to wear him down. This number of hyenas could kill him. It’s impossible to fight them all at once…’
Luckily for Red, his cousin Ta-Tu comes to the rescue.
Twitter users praised the bond between the two lions.
One man said: ‘There is literally not one nice thing about Hyena’s. Glad Red’s mucker Ta-tu was there to back him up.’
Paul Morris added: ‘I HATE hyena’s’
A BBC Camera crew report to rangers that one of the lion cubs is unwell. The animal dies despite vets giving the animal medical attention
The BBC revealed this week their camera crew tried to save the abandoned lion cub, which Charm left during the show.
No mention is made during the programme of the BBC calling in vets for help. But the Mara Mobile Veterinary Unit recorded what happened in an incident report.
It noted that the pride ‘were seen during the morning behaving strangely by a BBC crew filming them. They informed Masai Mara National Reserve Management and Governor’s Camp management, who in turn sought the veterinary unit’s help.’
Last week viewers were left in tears as penguins were saved by the BBC crew.
The second episode of the wildlife series, narrated by Sir David Attenborough, followed the birds as they battled a harsh winter in Antartica’s Atka Bay.
In a particularly heartbreaking scene the crew caught the moment a group of birds had fallen over the edge of a chasm after a white-out, and were left trapped with their young in bitter -60C (-76F) conditions.
Horrified viewers watched as one bird was forced to abandon her chick who couldn’t make it out of the steep ravine, and took to Twitter to share their heartbreak over the traumatic scenes.