Dec. 29, 1997 Make a date with a real aardvark. “Night Creatures of the Kalahari” on NOVA
Tuesday, January 6, 1998 at 8pm ET on PBS
You never know what will emerge after sunset on the parched plains of southern Africa’s Kalahari grasslands—unless, of course, you are a NOVA film team documenting the life, loves, and peculiar habits of some of the world’s most exotic and rarely-seen nocturnal creatures.
NOVA viewers get to check in at this remarkable night life, in “Night Creatures of the Kalahari,” airing Tuesday, January 6, 1998 at 8pm ET on PBS (check local listings).
By day, zebras, wildebeest, and other grazing animals roam the vast Kalahari grasslands. By night, a new cast of characters takes the stage—critters with discriminating appetites and peculiar ways, such as bush babies, meerkats, striped polecats, spring hares, brown hyenas, and aardvarks.
“Night Creatures of the Kalahari” was shot with painstaking patience and stealthy camera technique over a two-year period. For example, the extraordinary underground footage was made using camera blinds that were set in burrows, while the filmmaker simply waited for the animals to move in—which they did.
Above ground, NOVA captures an amazing collection of veldt vignettes. There is the aardvark digging furiously into an anthill while vacuuming up the tasty contents, a battle of wills between a bush baby and a giant stick insect, a lion pack calmly relishing a fresh kill, and an exquisite once-a-year mating ritual of a fungal termite colony—attended by a ravenous giant bullfrog.
NOVA viewers will also discover the difference between a hedgehog and a porcupine, see how bush babies in love execute gymnastic leaps of up to fifteen feet in a single bound, and learn the true nature of one of the most misunderstood and maligned of nature’s creatures: the hyena. Because of its eerie nighttime call and secretive, scavenging nature, the hyena is considered an animal of doom and misfortune among many African people. But NOVA shows its more sympathetic side. Even while scavenging a thoroughly rotten ostrich egg—something of practically no interest to most other creatures—its determination and creativity are quite endearing.
“Night Creatures of the Kalahari” is a NOVA production in association with Partridge Films Ltd. The executive producer for Partridge Films Ltd. is Michael Rosenberg, produced and photographed by Ken Oake, written by Alan Miller, narration written by Stephen Sweigart.
Now in its 24th season, NOVA is produced for PBS by the WGBH Science Unit. The director of the WGBH Science Unit and executive producer of NOVA is Paula S. Apsell.
Major funding is provided by the Park Foundation, Inc., dedicated to education and quality television. Additional funding is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and public television viewers.
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