13.7.09

Last Night Filming In Botswana


A quick search of the sandy tracks in the morning showed us that our family of lions had now moved to a spot where it would be impossible to film them, water channels and thick bush meant we had to go elsewhere and find some other animals to film.

We needed shots of impala herds, more elephants and anything else at large in the area

As we came round a bend, a couple of sitting giraffes got up and wandered away from the track and stared in their usual way. This was very interesting as giraffes at night seem to be very hard to find. It could well be because they spend time quietly sitting and ruminating rather than wandering around making themselves a target for predators.

We have seen the same pattern with many animals, springbok, topi, buffalo, oryx, wildebeest, gazelles, spending many of the hours of darkness sitting almost silently, ruminating. The darker the night, the more likely these animals are to be sitting, sleeping even, usually in a tight bunch. And it’s very clear that lions have great difficulty in locating these herds. It would explain why giraffes were so hard to see
at night, these two soon stopped staring and sat down again (an awkward process for giraffes). With the starlight camera, despite bright moonlight, the giraffes were almost impossible to spot, even if you knew where they were, their tall necks looking more like tree trunks. With the thermal camera, we could see them clearly, as well as herd of elephants moving in the background. And we could also see that there weren’t any lions anywhere near us.

That was a fascinating night, free of the pressure of having to find or keep up with lions, we could at last have a good look around, get some much needed shots of other animals featuring in the film, especially impala.

Tomorrow we start the pack...

4 comments:

xl said...

White Tail Deer also do the nighttime bedding down in a herd thing. It's not unusual to see groups of 12-16 females and babies clustered on lawns at night.

I hope that these wonderful illustrations can somehow be used in the final production.

ammonite said...

xl - interesting about the white tails.

If there's not enough footage we will have to make it up with drawings

Madame DeFarge said...

It dawned on me that I've never seen a giraffe do anything other than standing up. I am now clutching my head feeling stupid.

ammonite said...

Mme D - You were most unlikely to have seen a giraffe doing anything other than standing up - unless you make a habit of night hikes in the African savannahs with a thermal camera in hand