I have been a huge fan of wildlife documentaries since I was about 5, and this series by the BBC has always stood out to me as one of the best. It follows a research team led by Cynthia Moss who has been studying the elephants for many years, & although Cynthia researches and studies several wild Elephant herds, this documentary focuses on the group led by Echo, a wise old matriach, and follows their daily lives & their trials and triumphs. The elephants were studied and filmed for around 20 years in total- although the actual time covered in each documentary varies.
This DVD (sadly not available in region 2 so you'll need a multi-region player to view this in UK) brings together three of the four documentaries and clearly shows the intelligence and loyalty of these animals, and has some very touching and intriguing insights.
I wasn't aware before but there are two versions of the Echo of the elephants documentaries (the Nature releases are also region 1 but use a different narrator) just to confirm the versions on this DVD are the ones narrated by David Attenborough.
Sadly Echo passed away from natural causes due to old age,(her sister Ella leads the group now) by this time Echo had worked her way not only into the researchers hearts but also into those of the film crew and millions of viewers, and two documentaries were released, both in memoriam to her and as an update as to how her family were doing.
One was entitled an "Echo: An Elephant to Remember" which has been released by Nature on a separate DVD, but the BBC's tribute to Echo "An Unforgettable Elephant" has yet to be released (if they ever plan too).
If you own a video player (the first documentary "Echo of the Elephants" IS available on VHS for UK)or if you own a multi region DVD player, then I cannot recommend this series enough.
Also included in this DVD are 4 other elephant documentaries:
Elephant Nomads of the Namib Desert- also very fascinating and insightful. Its unusual to see an African Elephant documentary not focusing on the savannah elephants. The adaptations they have made to survive the harsh conditions are pretty impressive, and after being told about a mass hunting which wiped out all but four adults, the fact that the desert elephants seem to be gradually dragging themselves back from the brink of extinction is pretty remarkable.....
Living with Elephants - Saba Douglas-Hamilton,daughter of the world famous elephant expert and conservationist Iain Douglas-Hamilton, helps the local Samburu people try to heal an ancient wrong between them and the elephants.
Namibia's Desert Giants- Saba Douglas-Hamilton goes to the Nambia desert in search of the rare desert elephant, Unlike the other documentaries in this DVD, this one doesn't focus soley on Elephants, but on many other creatures living in and around the desert including lions & rhinos.
The Search for Virgo- Saba Douglas Hamilton returns to Tanzania in search of Virgo, a female elephant with one tusk that she and her father befriended when she was a young child.
Elephants of the Samburu- Saba follows the elephants of Samburu, Kenya, including Babel, a female elephant that suffered a broken leg as a youngster and is now handicapped as a result, but manages to survive with the support of her family.