探索发现-冰河纪动物Ice Age Survivors04

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Leopards are among the most solitary and secretive members of the cat family.
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As they did during the Ice Age,
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they use camouflage and speed to ambush their prey.
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This one decides to wait for a better opportunity.
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Leopards maintain territories of up to twenty square miles.
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Because territories often overlap,
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they must be diligent about marking their turf.
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Leopards have adapted to a wider
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variety of habitats than any other wildcat.
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They spend much of their time in trees.
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Trees provide a good perch from which to search for prey or stage an ambush.
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And after a kill,
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trees make a good place to store prey
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out of the reach of scavengers.
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Adult males average about a hundred and thirty pounds
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and can take down animals several times their own size.
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Between hunts, trees offer safety
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allowing this leopard to doze in the late afternoon sun.
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In a nearby patch of open savanna,
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a pack of African wild dogs huddles around their young.
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They bear some unusual traits for mammals that have endured almost
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unchanged since long before the Ice Age.
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Instead of the females raising the
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young, it is the male dogs that take the lead in child rearing.
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Accordingly, males in the pack outnumber the females by two to one.
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Pups are born blind in their den and
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don't emerge until they're about three weeks old.
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Of course fathers can't do everything
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and this mom must endure the demands of a litter full of hungry pups.
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It is usually only the dominant male and female that breed
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and if another female in the pack were to produce a litter,
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it is likely this alpha female would kill the pups
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and possibly even the mother.
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The mother decides that the pups have had enough
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as she sees other duties calling.
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Through the ages, wild dogs have perfected the art of pack hunting and
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can bring down animals five times their size.
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They run at speeds of up to thirty-five miles per hour
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but like wolves, it is their team effort that makes them so successful.
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The pups are usually allowed to eat first.
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Wild dogs are exclusively meat eaters
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and have short powerful jaws with an impressive array of shearing teeth.
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But they do not kill haphazardly.
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Each hunt preserves the balance of life on the African plains.
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After the dogs have had their fill,
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the vultures arrive to finish off the carcass.
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Nothing is left to waste in the wild
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as meals are few and far between.
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Hyenas are one of the few animals that can digest bone
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and thus fill a niche in the food
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chain that ensures nothing will be left behind.
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These pups are just beginning to learn the hunting skills
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and take this opportunity to practice the chase.
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Soon they'll be responsible for the pack's survival,
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but today they enjoy the carefree pleasures of youth.
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As evening approaches, the adults create a perimeter around the den
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where they will post guard through the night.
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Much as their ancestors have for millions of years,
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these adults have invested heavily in their pups.
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But as with all the animals that survive the Ice Age,
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their future remains uncertain.
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Although they don't know it now,
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the struggles these pups will face
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over disappearing land and dwindling supplies of food
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may ultimately lead to a struggle for their species' survival.
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Today, ten thousand years after the Ice Age,
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the earth's climate continues to warm.
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Animals that lived through the Ice Age now face a far tougher test
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in the struggle for depleted resources and space.
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And now it is man, rather than nature that determines who will survive.