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“Africa” premieres Jan. 8 on Discovery Channel

Melissa Hayer Modified: April 24, 2013 at 3:25 pm •  Published: January 2, 2013
Rival male giraffes fight in the Hoanib, a river of sand in Namibia. Combat is usually avoided by giraffes but, just occasionally, when the stakes are high enough, males will violently swing their heads to deliver "sledgehammer" blows. The Africa team followed one male for over a month to capture behaviour unlike anything seen before. Photo Credit:
Discovery Channel/BBC
Rival male giraffes fight in the Hoanib, a river of sand in Namibia. Combat is usually avoided by giraffes but, just occasionally, when the stakes are high enough, males will violently swing their heads to deliver "sledgehammer" blows. The Africa team followed one male for over a month to capture behaviour unlike anything seen before. Photo Credit: Discovery Channel/BBC

 

The seven-part series “Africa,” a Discovery Channel/BBC co-production that was four years in the making, makes its debut at 9 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 8 on Discovery Channel.

Forest Whitaker narrates the project, which spotlights new species, new places and new animal behaviors, including this violent giraffe fight that took a month to locate and film: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=50em1rV12X4

More information on “Africa,” provided by Disovery Channel, is as follows:

Here is just a sampling of what crews went through to make “Africa”:

-  1,598 days on location

-  79 filming expeditions

-  553 cameras capturing more than 2,000 hours of HD footage

In that time, crews had some dangerous encounters:

-  A cameraman was trapped in a tree for four hours with an elephant trying to shake him out of it.  Recent surges in poaching have made some elephants wary of humans.

-  A crew accidentally strayed into two different abandoned minefields in Egypt and Mozambique.

-  Authorities in Sierra Leone arrested two crewmembers as they mistakenly confused the camouflage-adorned crew to be rebels.

The risks were worth it, as the Africa crew captured some amazing filming firsts:

-  The most intense giraffe right ever filmed; it took them four weeks to capture the 90-second knockout.  There were no other fights the entire month they were there.

-  A combination of opportunity and sheer brass, lizards in Serengeti, Tanzania, hunt for flies on the backs of sleeping lions, a behavior discovered by a local scientist but never before filmed.

-  It took three long weeks of searching and days of trekking through a swamp, cutting a path as they went – but a crew finally filmed for the very first time the bizarre nesting behavior of this bird in Zambia.

To view a trailer for “Africa,” click here.

Follow me on Twitter: @MelissaHayer

A black rhino arrives early to a night time gathering of his species at a secret waterhole. The incidence of poaching of black rhino has risen to shocking levels in the last 5 years, so the Africa crew captured this unique behaviour for the first, and possibly the last time. Photo Credit: Credit:
Discovery Channel/BBC/Paul Brehem
A black rhino arrives early to a night time gathering of his species at a secret waterhole. The incidence of poaching of black rhino has risen to shocking levels in the last 5 years, so the Africa crew captured this unique behaviour for the first, and possibly the last time. Photo Credit: Credit: Discovery Channel/BBC/Paul Brehem

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