Nature's Great Migrations

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Series 1 - Episode 1 Elephants



Every year about 1,000 elephants make a 100-mile trek across Kenya to gather in Samburu National Reserve where they can find food, water and maybe a mate.

Liz Bonnin follows Matt, a magnificent lone bull so flooded with testosterone he’s prepared to fight all-comers for the chance to mate. So when the cameraman’s jeep gets a bit too close, we see at first hand what it's like when an irate male charges. She also tracks a pathetic little family of orphans led by inexperienced matriarch Habiba.

They need to be adopted by a more mature herd if they’re to survive, because Habiba’s almost lost her own calf in an ill-advised river crossing, and here we see her walk the herd into undergrowth, oblivious to the lions hiding there.

With one elephant being killed every 15 minutes for its tusks, orphan herds are on the increase, but elephants are intelligent creatures and are cleverly adapting their social structure as a result.


Documentary following a thousand elephants as they come together in a crucial gathering in Northern Kenya, while facing threats from both predators and poachers. Liz Bonnin and a team of scientists and filmmakers use cutting-edge tracking technology to follow individual elephants as they cope with daily challenges and make the most of this unique, short-lived gathering. They also capture surprising new behaviour and witness how the elephant society responds to poaching, including the way in which young elephants cope with the loss of their parents.

Cast & Crew

Presenter Liz Bonnin
Contributor Saba Douglas-Hamilton
Executive Producer Tim Scoones
Series Producer Scott Alexander