Africa: The Serengeti

Synopsis: The Serengeti is a huge area of grassland in Tanzania, Africa. Once a year, in the time of drought, about two million herd animals like antelopes travel north to feed and mate before moving south again, when plants there begin to blossom.
Director(s): George Casey
Production: Houston Museum of Natural Scie
  1 nomination.
 
IMDB:
7.4
Rotten Tomatoes:
100%
NOT RATED
Year:
1994
39 min
159 Views


There is a place on earth ...

where it is still

the morning of life,

and the great herds run free.

Life streams across a land ...

suspended in time.

The last refuge of the greatest

concentration of wildlife ...

remaining on earth

the Serengeti plains of East Africa.

Long before human memory,

the mountains to the east emptied

themselves into the skies.

A sea of ash settled

across the Serengeti ...

leaving only scattered summits ...

as stone markers of a buried world.

Across four million years,

time and the elements

turned ash to rich soil,

yielding vast grasslands,

today preserved as the most important

animal sanctuary on earth.

In a land as fertile

as it is beautiful ...

dwell millions of

diverse creatures.

Yet a single species

predominates,

a million and a half strong

wildebeests affect the lives of

all around them.

Ungainly in appearance,

they have been called the clowns

of the African plains,

and an animal assembled by

committee from spare parts.

But wildebeests

are superbly endowed ...

for a life of endless migration

in search of grass and water.

Alongside, an array of

other herbivores coexist,

all accommodated by the rich ...

and varied vegetation

of the Serengeti,

each seeking out a different

niche of the food supply.

Some may spend 2/3 of

their lives grazing.

Some are fortunate enough to

live in their own salad bowl.

The equation of life

on the Serengeti is simple:

herbivores eat plants,

carnivores eat herbivores.

Lions hunt with both

might and stealth

a decoy distracts

while others stalk.

Although the lioness

has made the kill,

it is the much larger male

of the pride who eats first.

The hungry wait by rank.

Lionesses and cubs

are second in line.

Hyenas, jackals and vultures ...

quarrel to be next.

On the Serengeti,

nothing is wasted.

Through the plenty

of the wet season,

the wildebeest herds

have grown strong ...

on the short grass plains

of the southern Serengeti.

Now in late May, drought approaches

imposing a deadly ultimatum

migrate or starve.

For more than 2 million animals,

it is a marathon race against

thirst and hunger.

Like living streams and rivers,

the herds, accompanied by

zebras and gazelles,

flow toward the north and west,

drawn by the ancient promise

of water and grass.

The great migration has begun.

The epic journey takes place ...

within the two East African

Nations of Tanzania and Kenya.

The wildebeest herds

migrate north ...

toward the "Maasai Mara

Game Reserve" in Kenya.

There, they range

for months ...

until the rains resume,

and the herds return again

to the southern plains.

The migration runs a deadly

gauntlet of more than 500 miles.

The first weeks of the

migration ...

coincide with the frenzy

of the rutting season.

Bulls engage in

constant battles ...

over females and territories.

In a few frantic weeks, 90%

of the cows are impregnated.

Early in the migration northward,

herds move through

the region ...

of ancient granite outcroppings

called "kopjes".

Now, they are vantage points

for waiting predators.

From a litter of four, only this

lone cheetah cub has survived.

To nourish it, the mother must

kill almost daily,

but she has not eaten for 2 days.

The herds have passed, but a few

straggling gazelles appear.

From this distance,

there is no contest.

The cheetah is the fastest

land animal on earth,

achieving short bursts of speed

up to 70 miles per hour.

There is neither malice nor

remorse on the Serengeti.

A hunter kills to eat

and to feed its own

nothing more.

To the migrating herds, wooded

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