The film reveals the delightful story of the journey of a disabled otter as she prepares to return back to the wild.
Naia (meaning “water spirit”) was bitten on her spine as a baby otter in the wilds of Zimbabwe. It is not exactly known how she sustained the injury but she was lucky to be discovered on the banks of a small river and handed over to the Tikki Hywood Trust – a rescue centre for small wild animals based in Harare.
After conducting a number of tests, it was determined that Naia had lost the use of her back legs and tail. Needless the say the prognosis did not look good but the Trust decided to try a radical rehabilitation exercise, never attempted before. The idea was for Naia to undergo a form of hydrotherapy to stimulate her nerves and muscles and give her some chance of returning to the wild. But for this she needed a suitable swimming partner to aid in the rehabilitation.
Enter Kirsty Coventry, multiple Olympic gold medalist, the perfect companion for stimulation in the water! Over the course of the film we witness all the highs and lows during the long-term rehabilitation plan. Apart from the hydrotherapy, Naia needs to be taught the skills necessary for survival in the wild. The target is to have her ready for reintroduction when she is roughly 18 months old.
After just 2 months Naia’s progress is remarkable, gaining the use of one back foot and half of her tail. Her motor skills also improve dramatically over this period and Kirsty’s help and dedication, energy and enthusiasm are extraordinary. But there are immense challenges to overcome – regular stimulation and exercise in the pool is one thing but teaching her to catch her own fish poses another challenge altogether.
Remarkably, by the end of the film, Naia has successfully recovered the full use of her legs and tail and cameras are on hand to record her reintroduction back into the wild of Zimbabwe.
For more details and full episode screening links, please contact:
Head of Rights Sales
+44 (0) 207 332 9716