The Mara Watershed

NWNL offers this list as a helpful resource,
but does not necessarily endorse the viewpoints of the videos below.

Elephant Ecosystems: Why do we need large wild animals? by Trunks & Leaves and Untamed Science, 2014 (4:04).

NWNL Comment: The ecosystems we depend on are complex collections of plants, animals and natural processes. To make all this easier to understand, this video takes one aspect of it to show how elephants play unique and irreplaceable roles within their ecosystems, creating micro-habitats for smaller creatures and giving them easier access to water and other resources. Even the plants and trees of the forests benefit because “the elephant is also a gardener.” Although this fun video specifically depicts and discusses Asian elephants, their keystone role in the ecosystem is the same as those elephants in Africa.

Educators and conservation practitioners can download the stand-alone animation and transcript and translate it into their language of choice. It’s free to use and distribute for educational purposes.

Owen Newman filming The Savannah in Kenya’s Mara Conservancy. Photo by Alison M. Jones.

The Savannah by BBC filmmakers Owen Newman and Amanda Barrett, 2012 (49:05).

NWNL Comment: This film depicts East Africa’s wildlife in the sub-Sahara savannah – a geologically young landscape defined by its grasses and supporting some of the world’s most captivating animals. But without rain, there are no grasses and thus no wildlife. Most of the film is set within the Mara River Basin, Kenya’s Mara Conservancy and Tanzania’s Serengeti NP. NWNL was also filming in this area at the same time Owen Newman and Amanda Barrett were working on this documentary.

Tanzania: Clean Water, Brighter Futures by Water Aid, 2010 (3:28).

Description by Water Aid: Tanzania is one of the poorest countries in the world. Weak infrastructure means that 2/3 of the rural population have no safe water to drink. This film featuring a small community in central Tanzania shows the economic benefits clean, safe water close to home bring a community.

NWNL Comment: Much of northwestern Tanzania drains into the Mara River and then Lake Victoria, source of the Nile River (another NWNL case-study watershed). Weak infrastructure in this area means many drink unsafe water, causing disease and an acute need for unaffordable medical care. Water Aid builds village pumps that gives community members their health and thus time to begin businesses and to go to school.

LifeWater – Mara River Basin Project by The Global Water for Sustainability Program (GLOWS), 2009 (4:24).

Description by The Global Water for Sustainability Program and Kesser Productions: [GLOWS has made this video to encourage resorts to] reduce their discharge of waste and sewage into the river by constructing treatment wetlands. Documenting existing wetlands that not only reduce pollution but also provide a desirable habitat for birds and other animals, this video features both the problems the river is encountering and the compelling solutions that are available.

NWNL Comment: GLOWS (producer of this video) is an important NGO working in Kenya’s Mara River Basin, and as such was one of the organizations interviewed by NWNL during its 2009 Expedition of this watershed. The NWNL video The Mau Forest: Source of the Mara River features GLOWS scientists Amanda Subalusky and Chris Dutton as they focused on measuring water quality.

The Mau Forest, Source of the Mara River by No Water No Life (Alison Fast), 2009 (9:56).

NWNL Comment: No Water No Life filmed this during its 2009 Mara River Expedition to Kenya and Tanzania to document downstream impacts of deforestation in the Mau Forest – the Mara River’s source. Suffering from effects of a 3-year drought, stakeholders interviewed describe the threats from severely-reduced water flows in the Mara River and current plans to save the Mau Forest, and therefore the Mara River. (See a larger view in NWNL’s Mara River Basin pages.)

A Tale of Two Water Towers: Part 1: Mara River Basin, Kenya by Kimunya Mugo with WWF Mara Basin Initiative, 2008 (5:00).

Description by WWF: This film is an entry to a short film contest, “Vulnerability Exposed: Social Dimensions of Climate Change.”

NWNL Comment: This short film discusses the local watershed changes due to global climate change, serious drought, changes in rain patterns, flash floods and altered seasons. The video was made during a serious drought that wreaked havoc with community farming and economics, and abetted the rise of diseases such as malaria.

The interviews with scientists and farmers emphasize the need for global reduction of carbon emissions and local afforestation.