A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that here, as in most animal shows, mating practices and reproductive habits will be discussed, some of which can be disturbing -- like the wild dogs who kill the pups of lesser females. Hunting, both by the animals and by humans, also comes up frequently, especially if hunting has contributed to endangering the species in question.
What's the story?
CHAMPIONS OF THE WILD follows animal biologists who work with endangered species, from chimpanzees and wild dogs to elk and elephants. Each episode features a different scientist and follows the same format. In the first half, the species' social behavior is discussed, while the second half deals with how the animals have become endangered and what the biologist is doing to save them.
Is it any good?
This is classic nature programming, without any particular twists to hold young, media-savvy viewers. The narrator is omniscient, omnipresent, and uninvolved, creating a sense of detachment from the animals and the scientists. The discussions of animal behavior are always interesting, but they're no different from the norm.
Real fans of nature programming or children who are already interested in the animals being profiled will like Champions of the Wild, but younger viewers -- and most kids in general -- are likely to prefer nature programming that reaches them more directly.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the animals' social habits. Would the wild dogs be able to survive on their own, or do they need the pack? Why do bears prefer to be on their own? Families can also discuss the factors that led to the animal in question becoming endangered. What can we do to help these creatures? Is there anything your family can do differently?
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