Tuesday, 19 February 2013


The most recent wildlife series on the BBC to be presented by David Attenborough whose enthusiasm seems to increase, if that’s possible, for the natural world around us. The series travelled to different areas of Africa for each episode and has been fascinating to watch, and at times incredibly moving. It’s hard not to be amazed by the natural beauty within our world, and Africa’s diverse ecology seems to encapsulate it all. As such this has been one of the best nature series for a while.
Episode one in the Kalahari featured the ever popular meerkats, but also a fascinating battle between two giraffes who swung their long necks at each other like giants battling with tree trunks. Episode two hit the Savannah with bizarre looking birds, lizards stealing flies from the faces of lions, but also the most harrowing moment of the whole series with the death of a baby elephant.
This was an incredibly sad scene, but it made no sense that people complained about the BBC doing nothing to help. They are there to film nature as it is, not to intervene. Perhaps those people who complained should reconsider their consumerist lifestyle that has led to climate change and their own role in the changing weather patterns of Africa.
Episode three in the Congo was an eye opener as personally I never realised that Africa had tropical rainforest, although logically it makes complete sense. Here we saw honey eating chimps and a wonderful night time rhinoceros meet, which showed one of the most hilarious scenes; a male trying to woo a female with some extra antlers attached to his horns!
The fourth episode at the Cape showed scenes reminiscent of Blue Planet, with a feeding frenzy for birds and dolphins, but also a curious migration from some huge fish. And then there was episode five in the Sahara with some incredible ants who can survive the midday temperatures and also the footage of moving sand dunes which took about two years to create.
Before I move to the final episode I’d like to mention the music, which as usual for the BBC was excellent, but I wonder if there was a little too much of it. I’m not sure that something akin to Ennio Morricone was needed for the giraffe fight or any of the other music which told us how to feel. Somehow it felt like it was trivialising the scenes which stand out for themselves I think. Either that or it was like A-Level media students trying to look clever by editing wildlife scenes to match some music.
Now to the final episode which I thought was easily the best, probably because it featured more of David himself interacting with the animals and dealt with the future and the need for conservation. It’s fantastic that there is so much work going on in Africa to try to protect the most vulnerable animals, such as the elephants, lions, rhinoceros and sea turtles. And it proves that whatever we want to do from here in the west, it is impossible without the complete assistance of the locals as they know their animals and environment best.
Overall this was an amazing series and would thoroughly recommend it to anyone who has not yet seen it, especially if you like animal series. And I challenge anyone not to be moved by the sight of a blind baby rhino squeaking!

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