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Serengeti exclusive video: Tembo wins big brother of the year award and what we can learn from elephants

This little guy has been saved twice now by older brother Tembo. Pic credit: Discovery
This little guy has been saved twice now by older brother Tembo. Pic credit: Discovery

On the next Serengeti this Sunday on Discovery, we see how an elephant family all watch each other’s backs. Especially one big brother named Tembo who has been shunted a bit out of the herd to make room for baby brother.

But is he angry?

Not at all and this nearly mature male serves as a roaming shadow to the little fellow, who last week was almost a lion pride’s dinner.

This week, bouncing baby elephant nearly drowns. In our exclusive clip below, we see how attentive Tembo is to the tiny guy who finds himself in over his head and needs to be rescued.

Instinctively, Tembo trumpets his trunk loudly, and the extended family comes running. All you see are mature females and all sorts of family members in a sea of tusks surrounding the little fellow, helping him up and out of the muck.

Kids, they all get into predicaments. Elephants too. Pic credit: Discovery
Kids, they all get into predicaments. Elephants too. Pic credit: Discovery

As the big brother of the year, Tembo saved his little brother once again.

Read our exclusive interview with filmmaker John Downer on the making of Serengeti here!

Fun fact: Tembo means elephant in Swahili!

The Serengeti is a beautiful and dangerous place for a newborn baby elephant. Last week on the premiere, Tembo fought off circling lions. His mother, with the help of the herd, formed a massive elephant barricade around the baby, who had wandered off chasing birdies and butterflies.

Here is what Serengeti has proven to be so far. It is a life-affirming and entertaining fictionalized snapshot of real life in a world and place few Americans will ever see in person in their lifetimes.

We witness animals exhibiting human-like emotional responses to various stressors in day-to-day living. Triumph and failure, sudden death, and life-altering injuries. Loneliness, despair, desire, and pure joy.

And it shows that animals truly are just like us in so many regards. They get sad, jealous, and lonely. They mourn, scheme, play, love, and behave based on fear and anger too.

The elephants are so highly intelligent and amazing. Executive producer Simon Fuller and director John Downer hoped that after witnessing a “day in the life” of these families of the great African plains, our empathy would increase.

In this age of trophy hunting and cage shoots for exotic animals, can’t humans in the year 2019 rise to a loftier and nobler pursuit than having a stuffed head of a magnificent animal as a wall hanging? Fuller and Downer sure hope so.

These elephants show us that family is everything, and having a tight-knit community of those who love us unconditionally means the difference between life and death.

Whatever the word “family” means to you, why can’t we be a community like those elephants, working together to protect the weak? We humans need to be more like them now more than ever.

Serengeti was born from an idea from Simon Fuller, who had returned from a life-altering trip to this African destination. He joined esteemed naturalist filmmaker John Downer, acquiring footage and creating interconnected stories of a cast of Savannah animals told over one year.

Currently, we are winding down from the time in the Serengeti after the rains, with food plentiful. However, a series of unexpected events pits families against each other and stretches relationships to breaking point. It becomes very harsh and dry, causing hardships for many animals.

In the premiere, we met Kali the lioness and devoted mother of four cubs who must go it on her own. Bakari, a passionate male baboon in a full-fledged rivalry with the leader of the troop after he led the female Bakari sought away. Zalika, a young hyena, lost her mother in a terrifying act of bravery, giving her life to male lions to ensure her daughter’s reign.

Tune in this Sunday to see how the elephants get on and what happens to all the animals we are following in this slice of life on the plains of Africa.

Serengeti is a 6-part docu-series that premieres Sunday, August 4 at 8 /7c on Discovery.

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April is an accredited entertainment writer, interviewer and television critic. She is a current member of the Television Critics Association (TCA), Gay and Lesbian Entertainment... read more
April Neale
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