African wildlife films at Rotterdam festival

This video is the trailer of the film Africa’s Trees of Life – Sausage Tree.

The organisers of the Wildlife Film Festival in Rotterdam in the Netherlands write about it:

With a new perspective and fresh approach to wildlife filmmaking this film tells the story of the predators and animals that live in Nsefu along Zambia’s Luangwa River. A mother leopard finds the perfect place to ambush her prey. She shares her territory with a pride of lions and their nine cubs. Powerful lionesses hunt down a warthog and a buffalo and introduce the two-month-old cubs to their first solid meal. In the river, hippo bulls fight to protect their part of the river, and hundreds of crocodiles feed on the body of the loser.

The anchor of the film is an iconic tree – the Sausage Tree – easily recognizable within the vast landscape of the South Luangwa Valley. The harsh reality brought on by the winter drought plays out in the shade of the sausage tree which throws a life line to the hippos, giraffes, elephants, antelopes and baboons of the area. Large fruits and crimson flowers keep the herbivores well fed when all other vegetation is withered and dry.

With specialized low light cameras we follow a hippo on its secretive night mission to find the nutritious fallen fruits. Then he pays it forward by dispersing the sausage tree’s seeds in his dung. Cameras in the tree capture the macro insect life that revolves around the flowers. Bees collect pollen and nectar and, at the same time, fertilize the flowers. The same cameras placed on the branches film birds, baboons, vervet monkeys and squirrels drinking the abundant nectar. Below them, puku, impalas and bushbuck eat the fallen flowers.

This video is the film Zakouma.

The Rotterdam festival organisers write about it:

Between the Sahara desert and lush forests in the center of the continent of Africa, there is an intermediate band, made of savanna, thorny scrub, forest gallery and rocky outcrops.

In this region, six months in the year, not a drop of water falls, and animals persist in seeking the last ponds. The other half of the year, this desert place becomes a quagmire and all animals are in a flooded landscape by torrential rains. Few nature places are unspoiled in this region. But there is a real jewel in the heart of the Sahel: Zakouma National Park in Chad!

Douglas the orphaned hippo survives lion attack

This video says about itself:

Hippo‘s Second Chance, Chipembele Zambia

19 May 2013

In Feb 2013 a baby hippo was found alone and distressed on the banks of the Zambezi River. He was rescued and cared for by Conservation Lower Zambezi. In May 2013 with ZAWA approval and the generous assistance of Proflight Zambia he was flown to Chipembele Wildlife Education Trust to our rescue and rehabilitation facility on the banks of the South Luangwa River.

From Wildlife Extra:

Dramatic update on Douglas the orphaned hippo

The story of Douglas, the orphaned hippo raised at Chipembele Wildlife Education Trust in Zambia was reported in Wildlife Extra in last year.

Douglas is now two and a half years old, although not yet his full size, having about two and a half tonnes of growing still to go! He is fending for himself, however, and interacting with other hippos in South Luangwa National Park.

His life is not without incident, though, as the latest update from Chipembele’s Steve Tolon reveals. Steve wrote:

“Douglas has become more independent and ‘chilled’, and doesn’t bother us anywhere near as much as he used to.

“He was always pushing open an outside door and sneaking in, sometimes sleeping in the bedroom until discovered.

“He still has an annoying habit of turning on the outside tap and draining off all the water in the tank overnight, as he wants to drink some clean water!

“There was a big drama here recently, though… Doug got attacked by two lions! It started up near the staff house around 23hrs, and the men saw one lion jump on his back and bite him, the other attacked his rear legs. But then he ran to our house, chased by the lions.

“The dogs alerted us and as I opened the front door, I heard something big coming, so I pushed the door half-shut and ran to grab my torch.

“Doug tried to get into the front door, before running off into the pond, the lions still after him!

“I went out with a big torch and the lions ran off. To begin with, I didn’t know if he had bad injuries as he wouldn’t come out of the pond the following morning.

“When he did come out we saw there were two deep bite marks on his shoulders, scratch marks on his sides and minor bite marks to his rear legs… He was lucky!

“I sprayed him with a wound spray and he should be fine.”

So Douglas is learning what life in the wild is all about, good and bad, but thanks to his adoptive family he is getting the best possible start in life.

Orphaned hippo Douglas is back in the wild

This video from Zambia says about itself:

In February 2013 a baby hippo was found alone and distressed on the banks of the Zambezi River.

From Wildlife Extra:

Orphaned hippo Douglas has been successfully released back into the wild

An orphaned baby hippo named Douglas, who captured the hearts of many after he starred on ITV1’s ‘Paul O’Grady’s Animal Orphans’ with his two terrier friends Molly and Coco, has been successfully released back into the wild in Zambia.

Back in February 2013 Douglas was just two weeks old and close to death when he was rescued by Conservation Lower Zambezi and sent to the Chipembele Wildlife Education Trust (CWET) to be under the care of experienced wildlife rehabilitators Anna and Steve Tolan. This was the first time Anna and Steve had taken in a hippo.

Steve Tolan said: “We constructed a pool and brought in dedicated carers to look after Douglas who initially was bottle fed and looked to his human carers for reassurance and companionship and even swimming lessons.

“Douglas has now been fending for himself since he was weaned in January and is surviving and thriving. He has made his first few attempts to join the wild pod in the Luangwa River. It will probably be a long, slow process until he is fully accepted into the pod but he is on his way.”

To find out more about Chipembele and the work it does click here.

Two lion cubs in Lady Liuwa’s pride in Zambia

This video from Zambia says about itself:

The Last Lioness (Full Documentary) HD

11 December 2011

A haunting call echoes across the Liuwa Plain. There is no answer, there hasn’t been for years. She has no pride, no support – she alone must safeguard her own survival. Her name is Lady Liuwa, and she is the Last Lioness.Isolated by a scourge of illegal trophy hunting that wiped out the rest of her species in the region, Lady Liuwa is the only known resident lion surviving on Zambia’s Liuwa Plain. For four years, cameraman Herbert Brauer watched her lonely life unfold, until, in her solitude, she reached out to him for companionship.

From Wildlife Extra:

Two lion cubs for Liuwa Plain National Park in Zambia

January 2014: For the first time in 10 years two lion cubs have been seen in Liuwa Plain National Park in Zambia to a lioness introduced to the park in 2011.

It is believed that this is the lioness’s second set of cubs and that she probably lost her first set due to inexperience. The father of the cubs is the park’s only male lion. The lioness has hidden her new cubs in thick bush, making it difficult to photograph them.

The mother of the two newly born cubs was one of two young females introduced from Kafue National Park in 2011. Her sister was killed by a snare in 2012 and she, probably traumatised by this event, ran away towards Angola. In a dramatic rescue mission she was darted, airlifted back to the park, and placed in a fenced boma.

African Parks then took the decision to place Lady Liuwa, the park’s only surviving lioness from the mass trophy hunting that occurred in the 1990s, in the boma to encourage the two lionesses to bond. After two months the two lionesses were released back into the wilds and have since been inseparable.

Two male lions, which were introduced to Liuwa from Kafue in 2009, also headed towards Angola in mid-2012 and one was reportedly shot dead by villagers in Angola. His companion, who made it safely back to Liuwa is now the resident male in the pride and father of the two new cubs.

“We are overjoyed to have sighted the cubs and will closely monitor the new offspring to minimise threats to them,” said Liuwa Park Manager, Raquel Filgueiras. “The birth of the cubs will help safeguard the future of lions in Liuwa and strengthen the park’s tourism offering. It is an event in which all stakeholders including ZAWA, the BRE (Barotse Royal Establishment), the Liuwa communities and the park itself can be proud.”

Liuwa’s lion pride has suffered a major setback as its only male lion has died. It is thought that the death of the lion was caused by either poisoning or disease: here.