Mike Birkhead Associates - Echo of the Elephants

Echo of the Elephants - The Final Chapter?

Narrated by David Attenborough
For BBC Natural World

Mike Birkhead

This is the story of a remarkable wild elephant called Echo – probably the best-known wild elephant in the world. Echo and her family have been the centre of a 30-year long scientific study carried out by Cynthia Moss in Amboseli National Park in Kenya. But Echo who is the leader or matriarch of her family of 26 is now in her late 50s and not many elephants live beyond 60. Today there are more elephants and people in Amboseli than ever and trouble is brewing. Can the demands of the Maasai and the elephants be reconciled and how does Echo’s family cope as their matriarch ages and eventually dies. Is this the last chapter in the story of Echo of the Elephants? Click here to see a video clip

For the DVD see http://shop.abc.net.au/browse/product.asp?productid=736676

For more information about the elephants see Cynthia Moss’s web pages www.elephanttrust.org


The Producer's comments on the film:

It was great to work in Africa again after making so many films in India. The wildlife in Africa is so much easier to film and the elephants of Amboseli must be one of the seven wildlife wonders of the world. Some days I sat in the filming Landrover with Martyn Colbeck our cameraman, surrounded by a herd of several hundred elephants – fantastic - and occasionally we even witnessed stampeding elephants.

The film itself looks wonderful and tells a very pertinent tale about the plight of the African Elephant in this part of the world. I never had any doubts that this film would look marvellous – Martyn is one of the best cameraman in the world and knows the elephants almost as well as Cynthia Moss herself. The film came together well with a very strong story line – but it was disappointing that it was a story about the death of one of our star animals. However there was also good news because the small baby elephant which we followed does survive. And of course there is the exciting thought that this is not the last chapter in the story of Echo of the Elephants, as Echo is once again pregnant, at 58 years old! Wait for more news on Cynthia’s web pages towards the end of 2004.

As usual we worked very hard to produce an accurate film with as many of the natural sounds as possible. We worked closely with Joyce Poole – one of Cynthia’s colleagues and a specialist on elephant communication, to get all the true calls of the elephants in place. This relied on the dedicated work of our track-layer Paul Clark who has worked on many of the films I have made. He is without doubt one of the unsung heroes of our business, spending hours and hours getting every footstep, call and bird song in the right place in the film. After we are happy this is all correct we then spend 2 or 3 days in a studio mixing all the various sounds together including the music. Once again I feel we have an exceptional music score – by Nicholas Hooper who has won numerous awards for the music he has written for our programmes in the past including – Land of the Tiger, Tiger Special, Tigers of the Emerald Forest.


Winner of Best TV film - Missoula Wildlife Film Festival

Winner of Best Editing - Jill Garrett

Winner of Best Music - Nicholas Hooper


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