A poignant, true story about a heroic African Wild Dog named “Newky” whose exceptional life was scientifically documented over a period of five years by the worlds most renowned wild dog biologist, Dr. J. Weldon “Tico” McNutt.
Through Tico’s personal recollections, the film is the dramatic account of Newky’s life, a story that is both heartbreaking and important to understanding the challenges wild dogs face.
Set against the spectacular wilderness of Botswana’s Okavango delta, we follow Newky’s story from the dangers and joys of puppy-hood, through the loss of his siblings in encounters with lions, and into the trials of adulthood.
In a tragic twist of fate Newky’s entire pack is wiped out by an epidemic. Alone, he is forced to endure dangers that should be met by a strong, coherent pack. When finally he finds a mate, she is tragically killed by a farmer’s bullet. Newky remains undaunted, and ultimately succeeds in fathering a new generation of wild dogs.
This is a tale of struggle, endurance and triumph, and of one dog’s extraordinary spirit to win through against almost impossible odds. Above all, it is an emotionally powerful story that shows the complex natural and conservation challenges facing one of the world’s most endangered social mammals.
The wild dog has traditionally been perceived in a negative light, and treated as vermin throughout Africa. The film changed perceptions about African Wild Dogs amongst many viewers around the world:
“I have seen probably every wildlife documentary over the last 10 years. None has touched me so much as the Wild Dog’s Story. Never before has a documentary grasped like this one, the struggle for survival of wildlife. I never thought I could be brought to tears by a wildlife documentary, and I’m an ex-marine!!!”
Most importantly, perceptions were changed which directly saved Wild Dogs from persecution.
Namibian farmer: “I grew up in Namibia and spent years in Botswana. Wild dogs were a pest to me. How this film has changed my perception of them! Thank you for allowing us to understand and appreciate the wild dog.”
There are farmers who, as a direct result of viewing the film, contacted Dr McNutt to discuss wild dog management instead of shooting.
The Japanese used the film in children’s education. A writer from South America, inspired by the film, wrote a children’s story in Spanish about African Wild dogs, based on the film.
The film assisted the Botswana Predator Conservation Trust in fundraising, which significantly contributed to continuing this important study, that is now in its 3rd decade.
Produced by AFRISCREEN FILMS for BBC NATURAL WORLD
Producers: Tania “TJ’ Jenkins & Mike Holding
Postal: PO Box HA 40 HAK, Maun, Botswana
Phone: +267 6862570 /+267 6863721 /+267 6801123
Series Producer: Michael Gunton – BBC NHU
Also see: www.truenaturefilms.com/article_wilddog.html
For more detailed information about Dr Tico McNutt’s work, please visit: http://www.bpctrust.org/
By Jason Peters