What are ghost cats

Ghost cats

Documentation in 3 parts, episode 1–3

  • 1. In the forest of the lynx

    A rare hunter reappears in the Bohemian Forest. He was gone for years. Now he is very present again. He finds plenty of loot and space for his nursery. Europe's largest cat - the lynx - returns quietly to the forest along the Czech-German-Austrian border. In winter, an ice-cold wind whistles over the plateaus almost every day, and the snow is often meters thick. The male lynx, also known as the "kuder", does not mind the cold in its thick fur. Its territory of several hundred square kilometers overlaps with that of a lynx cat. They mated in the middle of winter and then avoid each other for a year. Soon the lynx withdraws from her almost grown-up young and looks for shelter in a rock cave in order to give birth to her next offspring. A little later, two tiny, blind lynx babies crawl around them. Only rarely can the lynx leave its completely helpless offspring to satisfy their hunger. Like their parents, the lynx children are descendants of the animals that were settled in the Bohemian Forest in the 1970s and 80s. The big cats were wiped out early in Europe. They lasted the longest in the Bohemian Forest - until the second half of the 19th century. Then the last one was killed there too. Another exile returned to the Bohemian Forest on his own: the beaver. The “King of the Fur Animals” had largely disappeared from Germany in the early 1990s. Coming from the Czech Republic and across the Danube, he recently recaptured the Arbersee. The little lynxes leave the cave for the first time when they are five weeks old and make a surprising discovery: There are not only lynxes in the world. The squirrel is too nimble, but maybe the young tawny owl that has just left its birth cave can be caught? The nature and documentary filmmaker Sigurd Tesche and his team document the life of one of the rarest predators in Europe in impressive, seldom seen images. In addition, the film also introduces other rarities such as wild cats, wolves and rough-owls. The main role, however, is played by the charismatic hunters with the ears of a brush: Tesche and his team accompany them from birth to the point in time when they quietly take off in order to conquer their own territory - somewhere in the Bohemian Forest, in the lynx forest . (Text: ARD)

  • 2. In the mountains of the pumas

    In Patagonia, far in the south of Chile and in the middle of the rugged mountain range of the Andes, a very special place is hidden. The conditions here are tough - the winds constantly whip over the barren plateaus, the summers are short, the winters are long and full of privation. And yet the Torres del Paine National Park is a paradise for pumas. A female puma managed to do something special and rare in this ruthless area, of all places, that demands a lot of strength: the experienced mother gave birth to four cubs that she now has to look after. But her will is strong and she rises to the challenge. The guanacos are the main prey for pumas. The large herbivores are twice as heavy as a full-grown puma, are often in close herds, and have keen senses. The female puma has to divide her strength and so she looks mainly for dead animals or those that are weakened by diseases. The mother not only looks after her young, she also tries to teach them everything that they will later need to survive. How to hunt properly, sneak up and use the terrain. The little ones have to learn quickly, because after a good year they will have to rely on themselves. Exactly this fate meets the little puma earlier than planned. One day her mother never returns from the hunt. A tragic mistake while hunting, another puma, or an avalanche most likely killed her. Now the little cougars have to come to terms with whether they are really ready for it? After months without any sign of life from them, a younger female appears in the old hunting ground of the female puma. It is one of her daughters, she actually managed to survive and is now taking over from her mother. The second part of the series "Ghost Cats" presents another adventurous story with spectacular pictures about an extremely shy animal of the Andes, the mountains of the pumas. (Text: ARD)

  • 3. In the valley of the snow leopards

    In the shadow of the peaks of the Tibetan Highlands in China's Qinghai Province, there is a hidden valley that is home to more snow leopards than anywhere else on earth. The film follows a pregnant female on her search for a safe territory. In a valley the snow leopard finds a suitable cave in which she gives birth to two young. For the next 18 months, her life revolves solely around providing the little ones with sufficient food and protecting them from all the dangers that lurk everywhere in the rugged mountain world. An old, battle-hardened male snow leopard also lives in the valley. It could be dangerous for the small family. In addition, the old man attracts younger rivals who want to challenge him and who could also get in the way of the snow leopard. They would not hesitate to kill their little ones in order to mate themselves with the female. And as if that wasn't trouble enough, herds of yaks keep moving through the valley, guarded by Tibetan mastiffs. The calves of the wild cattle are tempting prey, but the yak mothers defend their offspring with pointed horns. The snow leopard will need all her strength and skill to get her young through the first few months. Many do not survive the first year. But she is an experienced mother and gives everything so that the next generation can soon move through the valley of the snow leopards. (Text: ARD)

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