Deutsche Welle
German Screenings

Animal Encounters (13 x 30 min. | 10 x 30 min. HD)

Can there be such a thing as a spiritual affinity between animals and humans? The men and women in our Animal Encounters would probably say yes. They have all felt a profound connection with certain animals, a relationship that has stayed with them ever since their first meeting. The devotion with which they commit to the welfare of their protégés, the trust that these animals demonstrate and the wordless form of understanding between them are often an enigma to outsiders.

01 My Friend, the Wolf HD
Few people have such an intense relationship with wolves as the Norwegian Frank Andrè Soma. This is evident to anyone watching him playfighting with “his” wolves. Frank Andrè Soma campaigns for wolves to be able return to their old habitats in Europe.

02 Masters of the Eagle
Among the nomadic Kazakhs of Mongolia, the berkutchi are a respected group of men who hunt with golden eagles. The skills needed to train the birds are passed down from one generation to the next. Aralbay and his female eagle have been hunting together for many years. He removed it as a chick from its nest and tamed it.

03 At the Elephant Orphanage HD
In Kenya, keepers at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust lovingly raise baby elephants, most of whom were orphaned when poachers killed their mothers. For all of those concerned, this is more than just a job. The men bottle feed the babies every three hours and are there when traumatised calves are plagued by nightmares.

04 Film Stars in Fur and Feathers
Animal trainer Christoph Kappel has an eye for a movie star, and instantly knows whether an animal will make the grade. He employs gentle methods to groom and coach his furry and feathered protégés for the big screen. Once on the set, Christoph Kappel shields his animal stars from stress with calmness and serenity.

05 The Cobra Pact
Pakistan is home to fakirs, who catch poisonous snakes, including cobras, and make their living by performing with them at markets. It is a dangerous profession. When a fakir captures a snake, he promises to look after it well and at some point give it back its freedom.

06 Searching for Sky the Bear
The Swiss-Canadian bear researcher Reno Sommerhalder released five young grizzlies into the wild in Kamchatka, Russia. Years later, he returns to find out what has become of his favorite female, Sky. Has she survived in the wilderness?

07 A School for Monkeys HD
In Thailand, the coconut harvest is monkey business. Usually, wild monkeys are captured and beaten until they have learned how to do their job. But at Somjai Saekhow’s school for monkeys, it’s quite a different story. With plenty of love and endless patience, her staff teach them how to recognise a ripe fruit and pluck it.

08 Among Dolphins HD
The Swiss biologist Angela Ziltener resigned her job, left family and friends, and moved to Egypt’s Red Sea coast, all to be close to “her” dolphins. While diving with these animals, she gains the most extraordinary insights. This is because she manages to integrate herself within the pod, as though she were a dolphin herself.

09 The Tree-Kangaroo Mother HD
There is a species of kangaroo in Australia that lives in trees. Tree-kangaroos are nimble climbers, but occasionally one may fall or lose its young as it jumps from branch to branch. Jeffrey and Dorothy are tree-kangaroos who were found abandoned as babies. Their prospects for survival were dim, until they found a human foster mother in Margit Cianelli.

10 Berta’s Little Alpaca HD
Eight-year-old Berta from Peru is a member of the Q‘ero ethnic group. It is traditional within this community for children to adopt a newborn alpaca, as a way of teaching them early about the meaning of responsibility. The first few weeks of their partnership present Berta and her little alpaca with huge challenges, which lay the foundations for a life-long bond.

11 The Story of the Spirit Bear HD
Kermode bears, also known as spirit bears, are extremely rare. Related to the more common black bear but with a striking white coat, the spirit bear is revered for its special powers by indigenous people in western Canada. Clover is an orphaned spirit bear who was raised by zookeeper Angelika Langen with lots of tender loving care. Once he was grown, she released him, to try to ensure the survival of the species in the wild.

12 My Animal Protégé HD
At Schönbrunn Zoo in Austria – the oldest zoo in the world – 70 keepers tend to the needs of around 8,000 animals. Many dedicate their entire lives to the care of their protégés. They watch as their animals are born and grow up, grow old and die. Sometimes they are even witness to the extinction of a species.

13 The Girl and the Elephants HD
Sixteen-year-old Chandani has an ardent wish: She wants to follow in her father’s footsteps and become a mahout, or elephant rider. But in her homeland Sri Lanka, this is a job exclusively for men. Nonetheless, Chandani’s father decides to give her a chance, and puts her in charge of the elephant calf Kandula.
Arabic, English, Spanish
16:9 | SD, HD
13 x 30 min. | 10 x 30 min. HD
Not available worldwide.