In the Wild (Similarities and Differences)

Important plot points may be given away.

‘In the Wild’ was a television series that explored the favourite animal of a particular Hollywood star. Two of the best-known episodes are Tigers with Bob Hoskins and Lions with (Sir) Anthony Hopkins where Hoskins and Hopkins went into the wild to see their favourite animals, the Tiger and the Lion respectively. While each episode was different in the animal that was being followed, there are also a few similarities (May contain spoilers)

– Both (Sir) Anthony Hopkins and Bob Hoskins are veteran actors and both have similar sounding surnames. Their favourite big cats are also popular. However unlike Hoskins, Hopkins has a cat

 The start of each Episode reveals how a big cat has come to be the favourite of the actor and when they first saw their favourite animal in captivity. (Sir) Hopkins first saw a Lion at the zoo and Hoskins first saw a Tiger at the circus and both of them were children at the time. However, Hoskins actually served in the circus for a while. Both actors also talk about how popular their favourite animal has come to be.

– (Sir) Hopkins and Hoskins travel into the wild to see the Lion and the Tiger respectively. However, Hopkins travels to only one part of (East) Africa, Tanzania while Hoskins travels to different parts of Asia, namely Sumatra, Indonesia, India and Nepal

 When they are in their destination before going out to see their favourite big cat, Hopkins and Hoskins talk about the experience of hunters and the animals they shot, though Hopkins talks about hunting from the point of view of the 1900s and focuses on how Africa attracted people while Hoskins talks about hunting from the point of view of the 1940s to the 1980s. Also Hopkins talks about hunting of not just lions but all animals during the 1900s and Hoskins talks mainly about tiger-hunting. Hopkins and Hoskins also speak to people who claim to have killed many lions and tigers respectively. Hopkins meets a Masai Chief who killed a number of lions and was elected chief as a result and Hoskins meets a local Sumatran who killed more than a hundred tigers

– Before visiting their favourite big cat in the (free) wilderness, (Sir) Hopkins and Hoskins discuss hunting experiences from others. (Sir) Hopkins focuses on 1900s Africa’s allure to hunters and the animals they pursued, including Lions and other animals. Meanwhile, Hoskins centres his perspective on hunting from the 1940s to the 1980s, primarily Tiger-hunting. They also encounter individuals claiming to have slain numerous Lions and Tigers, such as a Masai Chief who killed a number of Lions and was visited by (Sir) Hopkins, and a local Sumatran who killed over a hundred Tigers and was visited by Hoskins.


– Hopkins and Hoskins both indulge in a unique sense of humour when out to see their favourite big cat. Hopkins jokes with his guide Frank in the Tarangire National Park when they are tasting the seeds of kigelia and eat bananas that he does not want to eat too much as he would make good food for Lions. Hoskins when accompanying a veterinary team to dart a Tiger asks Tiger expert Ron Tilson if the animal is capable of eating a man.


– Hoskins and (Sir) Hopkins assist veterinarians in darting and collecting body samples from their favourite big cats, both of which are female. Hoskins works with renowned Tiger expert Ron Tilson to dart a captive Tigress born in the wild at a Tiger Park in Sumatra, while (Sir) Hopkins collaborates with the Serengeti Lion Project and its noted members Pamela Bell, Sarah Legge, Dr Melody Roelke-Parker and Dr Sarah Durrant of the University of Minnesota in Tanzania to dart a Lioness in the wild. During the darting process, the cats remain partly awake but unable to move due to the dart’s medicine. The Lioness growls while being hit by the dart as well as removing it, while the Tigress remains silent. The veterinary team ensures the cats’ good health during the examination. The Lioness is darted for radio-collaring and health monitoring, while the Tigress is darted to assess her receptivity for potential crossbreeding with a male Tiger from a zoo.


(Sir) Hopkins and Hoskins discuss their favourite big cats’ attacks on humans, with Hopkins focusing on man-eating Lions from the 1900s, particularly two infamous Lions that disrupted the Kenya-Uganda Railway construction, killing numerous people and even a hunter whom they pulled from his carriage. Hoskins, on the other hand, examines modern man-eating Tigers, exploring why they resort to such behaviour, the impact on victims, and the fate of man-eating Tigers. Both documentarians encounter individuals in villages with emotional and physical scars from big cat attacks. Hoskins meets the family of a woman killed by a Tiger, which was subsequently captured and sent to Kathmandu Zoo, while Hopkins meets a Masai who using a sword bravely fought and killed a Lion attempting to attack his cows. It may or may not be necessary to say (though) that both documentaries feature stock footage of a man shooting a Tiger and Masai hunting a Lion with spears.

– (Sir) Hopkins and Hoskins visit people with a seeming connection to their favourite big cats. (Sir) Hopkins meets the Masai, who revere and hunt Lions, especially if they harm their cattle. Hoskins visits people in Central Sumatra who identify with the spirit of the Tiger, worshipping the big cat as a God, similar to how Egyptians worship the Lion as a God, as mentioned by (Sir) Hopkins before going to Tanzania.

– (Sir) Hopkins and Hoskins led by expert trackers, search for their favourite big cats on foot. Hopkins and his (Swahili) guide, Frank, follow Lion tracks (as well as those of elephants) in Tanzania’s Tarangire National Park and manage to find a Lioness, while Hoskins and his guide, Ramdin only walk to a spot which is used by a Tiger in Bardia national park in Nepal. Both documentaries show footage of Lions and Tigers squabbling over prey: a pride of Lions fighting over a Zebra in Sir Hopkins’ documentary and three Tigers playfully fighting over a stolen goat in Hoskins’ documentary, though the Tigers are likely teenagers. However in Hoskins’ documentary, a Tiger is also shown feeding at night.


– The favourite big cats of Hopkins and Hoskins are shown hunting mostly their favourite prey species, the Lion hunting zebra and the tiger hunting deer. However, while (Sir) Hopkins views a pride of Lions hunting zebras, Hoskins misses a Tiger hunting deer only coming across the body of a deer killed by the Tiger.


– The national parks that Hopkins and Hoskins visit are known for rhinos; Tanzania’s Ngorongoro Crater (responsible for the creation of the Serengeti) and Nepal’s Bardia national park are known for the black rhinoceros and Indian rhinoceros respectively. Both species of rhinoceros are endangered. While (Sir) Hopkins and Hoskins see a rhinoceros during their safari, they are more interested in seeing their favourite big cat, the Lion and the Tiger respectively.


– Both (Sir) Hopkins and Hoskins accompany their wildlife cameraman Hugh Maynard to film their favourite big cat, yet (Sir) Hopkins accompanies Maynard for most of his stay in the Ngorongoro crater when watching Lions while Hoskins accompanies Maynard into a shed built near a tiger kill in hopes of seeing the big cat back at the kill again yet no tiger is spotted even though both Hoskins and Maynard stay there for hours into the night and Hoskins leaves after some time


– (Sir) Hopkins and Hoskins both see cubs of their favourite big cats though while Hopkins manages to see newborn Lion cubs, Hoskins only sees teenage Tiger cubs interact with their father while their mother is away hunting. While both actors manage to see savage interaction between the cubs and their parents, in the case of the Lion it is more graphic and savage than the Tiger.


  The favourite big cats of (Sir) Hopkins and Hoskins are seen practicing stalking birds as a lesson for hunting. Young Lions are seen practicing on guineafowl and young Tigers are seen practicing on peacocks.


  Both Hopkins and Hoskins see their favourite big cat hunting a member of the cattle family though Hopkins sees a pride of Lions chase a herd of buffalo, pulling down one member of the herd while Hoskins sees a tiger chasing a herd of gaur (Indian bison) with no success


 At the end, both (Sir) Anthony Hopkins and Bob Hoskins talk about the importance of each of their favourite big cats and how it is necessary to conserve them though Hoskins throws emphasis on the tiger’s survival while (Sir) Hopkins talks about ways in which the Lion is conserved. This is probably because unlike the Tiger, the Lion is not (entirely) an endangered species.

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