Sunday, December 14, 2008

A change of scenery

The public's (or at least the media's) interest in hyenas continues! I spent the last three days with a TV crew filming hyenas in Amboseli National Park.

While I love the Mara, I have to admit that the Amboseli scenery is absolutely stunning. The picturesque park lies at the base of Mt. Kilimanjaro, the highest peak in Africa.

Beyond its gorgeous scenery, the park is known for its elephants. Thousands of these massive creatures call Amboseli home, and it's the best-studied elephant population in the world. Their presence is amazing, since they really dominate the landscape. They're everywhere...swimming in the swamps, resting under acacia trees, and lumbering across the dusty plains.

The "small" crew I was supposed to join - director, cameraman, sound guy - quickly doubled with the addition of a local producer, two drivers, and a (heavily) armed ranger escort. There's a thriving population of hyenas in Amboseli, so there was lots of good hyena action to film. The show is about animals with formidable predatory abilities, but I think the crew was much more captivated by the hyenas' charm than the "threat" they supposedly represent. I'm crossing my fingers and hoping that the show will manage to portray hyenas not only as fearsome predators, but also as intriguing and charismatic creatures.

The show should air on Discovery Channel in March - we will update you with details as soon as we know them!

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