DVD Review: “Nature’s Great Race” DVD QL754. N383 2017

If you are interested in the fascinating world of nature, you are sure to enjoy a PBS production of Nature’s Great Race. This 180 minute DVD is divided into three segments showcasing the trials and tribulations of an elephant migration (segment 1), a caribou migration (segment 2), and a zebra migration (segment 3).  In each segment, you will see how millions of animals travel hundreds of miles and overcome fearsome obstacles to reach their destinations.

In the first segment, researchers place tracking collars on fifty elephants.  Using GPS technology, the researchers can know the exact location of each elephant and the distance they have traveled.  Two groups are closely followed.  One is a group of orphans whose leaders have been killed by poachers.  Another closely tracked elephant is a male elephant named Matt who is searching for a mate.  During the elephant migration, dozens of elephant families travel from all over Northern Kenya and arrive in masse in the Samburu National Reserve.   Elephants risk sunstroke as well as lion attacks along the way. However, their large trunks, which are believed to be 5 times more sensitive than a bloodhound, helps keep them safe from prey.

In the second segment, viewers are taken to the Arctic Circle where 100,000 caribou migrate 350 miles from their pastures to search for cotton grass, which helps produce nutritious milk for their calves.  Caribou can amazingly withstand temperatures as low as -76 degrees and can run at a top speed of 50 miles per hour. Some of their biggest predators are wolves and bears but many suffer from exhaustion.  In order to save energy, caribou walk in single file. For the ones that arrive at their destination (the Ivvavik National Park), almost every adult gives birth to a calf.

In the third segment, viewers head back to Africa to Botswana to see the longest migration – the zebra migration, which is approximately 155 miles.  This migration begins at the start of the rainy season and zebras head south to a National Park called Nxai Pan.  With meticulous teamwork, zebras can cover large distances quickly running up to 43 miles per hour.  Their biggest predators are African hunting dogs and lions.

This action-packed, extraordinary video is available in the general collection and can be borrowed for one week, with the option to renew once.

Originally posted in the Freeman/Lozier Library’s quarterly newsletter, More Than BooksV. 22 No. 1, Winter 2018.

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