Channel 4 have just announced a new three-part series featuring popular explorer, conservationist and author, Levison Wood, as he tackles possibly his wildest challenge yet – walking with elephants.
The series follows on from Wood’s successful 2017 program Walking the Americas, as well as previously aired expeditions Walking the Himalayas and Walking the Nile. The difference between those and his new offering? This time Wood won’t be following a set route; instead he’ll be being led entirely by a herd of elephants, as he follows them on their annual migration across Botswana.
This is the journey that thousands of elephants undertake each year, to move towards more fertile feeding ground. Starting in the salt pans of the Kalahari Desert, and meandering through the country to end in the Okavango Delta, the route will cover over 650 miles (1046 km), with Wood walking alongside the elephants the entire way. While elephants and many other species have faithfully trodden this path for millenia, it’s a journey that no man has ever before completed on foot.
Naturally, the undertaking will be fraught with danger, both for the animals and Wood himself. Poachers are becoming an increasing threat to elephants, and Wood will be working closely with local trackers and anti-poaching units along the way, to reduce the risk of unwanted encounters. Not all the perils are man-made however, with dehydration and predatory wildlife also on the list of challenges to overcome during the journey.
Commenting on his newest wild adventure, Wood said, “walking with these magnificent animals was a dream come true. It was an opportunity to really understand up close how this remarkable species survives against the odds. Spending time with local Botswanans provided a fascinating insight into the lives of communities that live alongside the elephants and who have to deal with the difficult consequences of life on the frontline of human-wildlife conflict.”
Walking with Elephants is due to be aired on Channel 4 in April 2020.