Waterhole: Africa’s Animal Oasis – 18 December 2020 – 18/12/2020 – Friday – BBC Two

Series 1 Episode 3 of 3

The rains hit the waterhole, and for the first time in half a year, grass begins to grow, and water is everywhere, dramatically changing the fortunes of the wild residents. The waterhole area is totally transformed into a lush grazing pasture, and a pair of Egyptian geese take up permanent residence on the waterhole’s edge.

This time of year can be harder for predators, as prey can migrate further and temperatures are not as extreme as during previous seasons. Using the remote cameras, Chris and the team reveal how the waterhole hyena clan copes with these new circumstances.

Ella uncovers the huge shift in the waterhole timetable and new competition flooding into the area: wildebeest. The great migration follows the pattern of the rains, and it is pushing wildebeest herds numbering in the thousands towards Mwiba Wildlife Reserve. These grazing animals move en masse and require a lot of food and water wherever they are – will this put further pressure on the waterhole residents?

Following the herds of wildebeest are predators from across the region that stalk them, waiting for an opportunity to go in for the kill. These new predators may pose a threat to the waterhole area and challenge the hyena to their territory.

As the rains continue, it is not just the landscape around the waterhole that alters. With food and water in abundance, it is birthing season for many herbivores, but how will an increase in population affect the waterhole area?

At the end of the rainy season, Ella delves into the data to discover how animals have used the waterhole across the past three seasons: which animals drank the most? How many animals came in total? And, out of all of them, which species came the most frequently?

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About Waterhole: Africa’s Animal Oasis

Waterholes are vital to the African ecosystem; bustling oases where elephants, lions, leopards and hundreds of other species meet and compete for water. But little is known about how they support so much life.

Now, the BBC Studios Natural History Unit is working with Mwiba Wildlife Reserve in Tanzania to build the world’s first waterhole with a built-in specialist camera rig.

With half-submerged and weather-proofed remote cameras, Chris Packham and biologist Ella Al-Shamahi (pictured) aim to uncover the complex dynamics of the waterhole for the very first time. They’re filming across three dramatic periods – the middle of the dry season; the hottest time of year; and the height of the first rains – to gain unique insights into the lives of some of Africa’s most iconic animals.

This show is broadcast on BBC Two, also known as the British Broadcasting Corporation.

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