MEET THE
CHARACTERS

Serengeti introduces us to a fantastic group of animal species who inhabit this renowned ecosystem. Here, you can get to know them and what they're up to!

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My name is Tembo.

I am an Africa Savanna Elephant, the largest terrestrial mammal. Besides our big size, we are very social creatures and show affection by wrapping our trunks together.

We also like to have all our family members nearby, although males prefer to live alone. I am a baby male and don't understand why males like to roam alone, but mum says I will understand it once I grow up.

I spend my days eating all sorts of grasses and leaves. Some of them are very tasty and nutritious. Grasses help us grow, develop and live a healthy life. I will end up weighing 2,000 to 6,100 kilograms (about 2 to 7 tons), measuring up to 4 meters (13 feet) tall and living 60-70 years as long as I am in the wild.

Sounds amazing right? However, I am starting to realize that we don't have the greatest eyesight and often have to rely on my sense of smell. For this, I sniff my surroundings and position my trunk in the shape of a submarine periscope as I feel the wind direction.

You know, we elephants remember everything and we hand knowledge from generation to generation. The loss of members of my family becomes a loss of knowledge and a threat to the survival of my species.

Scientists say that we have a unique intelligence because we can display grief, altruism, compassion and self-awareness. Honestly, we can do much more than that, but scientists haven't yet realized.

 
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My name is Simba.

I belong to the second-largest living big cat family in the world; the lions. I've heard that we, the lions, are also the most social because we like to be together with our extended family and hang with our pride.

Mum tells me that each pride has between 3 to 40 individuals including mothers, daughters, grandmothers, aunties and sisters. What I see is that we love being all together and taking care of one another.

My mum hunts together with my aunties, which is very difficult and they usually kill one prey out of several tries. Together, they defend the territory as one. Even with the consistent efforts of my mum and aunties, we sometimes get attacked by other male lions and hyenas.

To protect the youngsters, my mum and aunties synchronise the birthing season. This way, we can all nurse from anyone in the pride if needed and it is easier to protect us.

I don't see many lion males around as they roam alone in male coalitions, but sometimes I hear them roar as they have the most powerful roar and can be heard after sunset from as far as five miles away (eight kilometres).

 
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My name is Duma.

I am a baby cheetah that belongs to the big cat family (a family that includes lions, leopards, tigers, jaguars, snow leopards and cougars). We are the slimmest and fastest of all the big cats. I have seen my mum reach speeds of 60 -70 miles (about 100 kilometres) an hour over short distances.

We also have excellent eyesight which helps us find pray during the day. When grasses are tall, we love to climb on the top of kopjes to oversee the surrounding plains. There is where you will usually find me, feeling the breeze and looking for other animals.

Also, when the grass is tall, we become very hard to see. The younger we are the fluffier our coat is, which allows us to blend in with the environment and hide from predators.

 
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My name is Nyumbu.

I am a little wildebeest calf from the Serengeti ecosystem. Every year, I take part in the biggest migration of all, the widely known Great Migration.

Since the day I was born I have been in constant motion. In fact, as lurking predators await around the herds, we learn to walk and run just after a few minutes after birth.

We are also born at the beginning of the rainy season when grasses are plentiful and nutritious. So basically, most of my cousins are born around the same days, which is very fun!

Together, we make up the largest mammal population in Africa, with about 1.5 million of us migrating in the Serengeti and forming the greatest concentration of wild grazing animals on Earth.

We are not the most famous of the animals, but we are wonderful for the ecosystem. As we migrate, we drop tonnes of dung. Our dung fertilizes the land left behind (which will be nutritious again for when we come back in a few months) and dung beetles use them to lay their eggs.