Animal Planet launches Africa series

AFRICAThe award-winning documentary team behind the breakthrough natural history series LIFE returns with a revealing look at a seemingly familiar continent that is still holding many secrets. Four years in the making, AFRICA premieres on Animal Planet on January 7 at 8 PM.

Airing every Wednesday, AFRICA is an extraordinary series that brings to life the continent as never seen before, including never-before-filmed species, animal behaviours and secret, natural wonders of the world.

Travel to a secret location in southwest Africa to witness what could be the last great rhinoceros gathering on Earth, filmed with a newly developed camera system that is operated using the light of the stars and captures sound using microphones embedded around a watering hole. Track a teenage chimp in the Congo with a sweet tooth that drives her to perfect complicated honey-hunting techniques using four different tools. Meet some gutsy lizards who hunt for flies on the backs of sleeping lions in the Serengeti, a behavior never before captured on film. And see giraffes in a whole new way as two rival males in Namibia deliver sledgehammer-like blows on each other in a knockout fight for domination.

To capture on film these and other spectacular animal behaviours, the production team spent 1,598 days on location across 79 separate expeditions in 27 African countries. They utilized 21 different types of cameras to shoot more than 2,000 hours of footage. Of the 553 cameras deployed throughout the series, only eight were lost or damaged beyond repair.

The AFRICA team’s extreme efforts are chronicled in the episode “AFRICA: the Making of..” Other episodes of the series uncover bizarre, brutal and newly discovered animal behaviours in the deserts of the Kalahari, the dense forests and snow-capped peaks of the Savannah, the dynamic Congo rainforest, the ever-changing climate of the Cape and the massive and parched Sahara desert. The greatest and most iconic wildlife continent is at a tipping point. The animals of the next generation will face very different challenges than the ones met by their ancestors – and the animals themselves must adapt to the new landscape and changing relationship with humans.

In the Savannah, the cameras track a giant but elusive bird known as the shoebill, and in the rainforest of the Congo, a chimp displays unusual honey-hunting skills.

In the episode, ‘AFRICA: the making of..’ cameras are turned on the crew as they hunt, capture, and react to memorable shots, including a gathering of elusive black rhino, the death of an elephant calf in the drought-stricken Amboseli National Park, and great whites feeding on a whale carcass according to size. Viewers will see a team that spent weeks in the forest searching for a teenage chimpanzee who uses four tools to steal honey, a duo that goes a little mad trying to calculate how fast silver ants move in the Sahara, and a cameraman who was left in complete darkness after a forest elephant chewed through a power cable and spent four hours trying to knock him loose from the tree in which he positioned himself overnight.

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