Sunday, April 19, 2009

BBC Natural World - Elephant Nomads of the Namib Desert

This is the remarkable story of two baby elephants struggling to survive their critical first six months in the oldest desert on earth. The Desert Elephants of Namibia suffered a poaching holocaust in the 1980s. As the most endangered elephant population in the world recovers, every single calf is vital. Himba and Dusty are born in a boom year, but when the short-lived rivers on which they depend disappear underground, their lives depend on the memories, experience and decisions of the females who lead their tiny families.

A little-known and surprising group of desert-dwelling elephants roams the far northwest of the Kunene region of Namibia in South West Africa. Extraordinary in their endurance, the small families make marathon treks between the remote shores of the Skeleton Coast and the high Kabere Mountains of the interior. These animals traverse some of the most dramatic, arid, and austere scenery in the world. The secretive nature of their existence was only revealed recently, when cameraman Martyn Colbeck followed them whilst working on the BBC’s landmark series Planet Earth.

The film takes place in the Northwestern Namib Desert. “Namib” means (“vast”). It’s sixteen hundred kilometres long, fifty thousand kilometres square. These are the harshest conditions in the world for elephants. Twenty-five years ago, out of eighty local desert elephants, poachers killed all but three. Now large-scale poaching has ended. The herd has a chance to recover…


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