Nature's Great RaceNature's Great Race

Episode 1 | Elephants 

A thousand elephants, from magnificent bulls to vulnerable orphans, come together in a crucial annual gathering in Samburu National Reserve, Northern Kenya. Using the latest satellite tracking technology a team of wildlife cameraman and scientists follow individual elephants day by day to reveal the challenges they face.

Cameraman Bob Poole follows, Matt, one of the largest, oldest tuskers in Kenya to see how a big bull in his prime goes about finding a mate and deals with the challenges from young bulls. Can he find a mate before the elephants begin to disperse in just 3 weeks’ time?

Meanwhile cameraman Max Hug Williams follows an orphan herd to see how they cope having lost 7 adult members to poachers. Vulnerable and leaderless this herd is now led by Habiba, a young first time mother who lacks the knowledge and experience needed to keep her herd safe. How will Habiba cope as she leads her family into lion territory and faces rejection from other more experienced herds at the gathering?

Being able to follow the elephants every move, the team capture surprising new behavior and witness first-hand how elephant society is responding to a world changed by poaching, including the remarkable way young elephants are coping with loss of their parents.

Episode 2 | Caribou 

Over 100,000 caribou face starving bears and wolves, deadly frozen rivers and rugged mountains, as they undertake the world’s longest land migration - 3,000 miles through the frozen Arctic wilderness of Canada and Alaska. Joining them are a team of scientist and wildlife filmmakers who, with the help of satellite tracking collars, will attempt to follow the caribou on foot as they undertake the most challenging part of their migration.

Heavily pregnant, the caribou must make it to their calving grounds in time to benefit from the fresh new growth of cotton grass that contains the nutrients needed for the mothers to provide the best milk for their new born calves. Arriving too late, or too early, could spell disaster for the youngsters.

The team catch up with the herd as they spill into the Frith valley, but the crew aren’t the only ones waiting for the caribou as straight away a lone wolf charges into the herd. In the panic and confusion the wolf singles out a caribou and after an epic struggle finally manages to bring its prey down. But the wolf doesn’t have long to feast before a hungry grizzly bear steals the kill.

As the crew follow the caribou they too begin to face the attention of the curious bears and have to beat a quick retreat.  Finally the crew follow the herd into Alaska where they can see the whole herd gathered together in an amazing spectacle.

Episode 3 | Zebra

Thousands of zebra face lions, hunting dogs, drought and starvation as they undertake the world’s most newly discovered migration. Braving one of Botswana’s most brutal wildernesses, they make Africa’s longest land mammal migration to the rich grasslands of Nxai Pan National Park, 155 miles to the south.

A team of scientists and filmmakers, using the latest satellite tracking technology, will attempt to do something that has never been done before; follow the zebra, on the ground, every step of the way and reveal the secrets behind the brand new discovery. But first they must collar this years’ individuals before they set off on their migration.

Once collared, cameraman Max Hug Williams will follow the front-runners while Bob Poole will bring up the rear. They don’t have long to wait as the first rains trigger the zebra to leave the Chobe river flood plains and head south into the thick bush. But it’s not long before the satellite data reveals some unusual behavior.

One zebra didn’t stray far from the river and now hasn’t moved for two days. When the team catch up with the zebra they make a gruesome discovery, will the on-board collar-camera reveal how the zebra died?

The data from the other collars also reveals that all the collared zebra have now turned back - except one, who has decided to keep going. Has she made the right decision and why have all the others decided to return to the start?

About the Program

Nature's Great Race follows three groups of animals – caribou, zebra, and elephants – as they face the immense challenges of migration in places around the world.

Captured in real-time, using the latest satellite-tracking and filming technology, the program gives unparalleled access to the great obstacles facing each individual herd, from treacherous terrain to merciless predators, as they risk danger and death in a race for their lives. In breathtaking spectacles spanning Canada, Alaska, and southern and eastern Africa, the documentary gives a front-row seat to the ultimate test of survival for each of these animal groups, showcasing their journeys more intimately than they’ve ever been seen before – each fraught step captured in unprecedented depth and detail.