|A Mammoth Undertaking|
|Episode no. :||2|
|Broadcast :||29 July 2006|
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|Your opinion :||A Mammoth Undertaking/User Reviews|
A Mammoth Undertaking - broadcast in France as S'occuper d'un Mammouth (Caring for a Mammoth) and in Spain as Los mamuts (The Mammoths) - is the second episode of Prehistoric Park.
Prehistoric Park is starting to come to life. All the new saurian inhabitants are doing well, and Nigel stops by T. rex Hill at feeding time. Terrence and Matilda the two Tyrannosaurus are feeding well and growing extremely fast. Nigel then heads to the park's resident herd of elephants. He explains that next, he is looking to rescue an extinct type of elephant: the Mammoths. To achieve this he will travel to the ice age of Siberia about 10,000 years ago, when the mammoth was almost extinct.
Heading through the portal in thick snow and ice attire, Nigel starts traveling across the tundra by snowmobile. Trees and mountains are all he sees: as the climate is getting warmer, boreal forests are replacing the tundra grass, depriving the mammoths of their open grassland food sources. This, as well as overhunting by ice age humans, has driven them to the brink of extinction.After going through miles and miles of what seems like an endless forest, Nigel finally comes across a rocky cave in the middle of the trees and decides to explore it. But when a low, menacing growl is heard, he slowly backs out of the cave, and a large cave bear follows him, apparently disturbed from its winter hibernation. Nigel starts to run with the bear in pursuit, which rears up on its hind legs and knocks over the camera in anger. When the bear disappears, the cameraman finds Nigel up a tree, who apologizes to his cameraman and admits that he thought cave bears were already extinct by this time. He decides to observe the bear for a minute before "letting sleeping bears lie" and turning his attention back to finding a mammoth.
After riding a short distance in the snowmobile, Nigel clambers up a rocky slope in order to get a better view of the area. It is mostly trees as far as the eye can see, but he finally spots a more open area at the foot of the mountains that might yield some traces of mammoth. Soon, Nigel finds some interesting artifacts like a flute carved from a mammoth tusk by primitive man and, more importantly, a trail of elephantine footprints in the snow and finally, a pile of fresh mamoth dung. The dung is still warm, so his target cannot be far away. He hears noises from large animals, and so decides to head in that direction.
Nigel arrives at an open plain crossed by a small stream, where he spots his first mammoths. However, one is dead, having fallen prey to a snow trap set by Cro-Magnon hunters. The remaining mammoth is lingering by her dead companion, possibly because they are sisters. Nigel approaches, but the standing female collapses to the ground, having also been injured. Distraught, he attempts to calm her down, and soon deduces that the human hunters will be back at some point to finish off remaining animal. Nigel radioes his team to seek aid.
Back at the park in the 21st century, Bob is contemplating how to take better care of the resident herd of Ornithomimus. When they first arrived, he put them into a paddock designed for ostriches, since they looked extremely similar, but they haven't been too happy since. Then, he noticed that their mouths are more like a duck's, being rough and ridged like sandpaper. Based upon this, he decides to put the herd into a new paddock with a large pond, where they are able to filter-feed in the water. Once the herd is released, they flock about chaotically before settling down while Bob watches in awe.
In Pleistocene Siberia, Nigel's team arrive, and they agree that the mammoth must be brought back in order to be treated accordingly. She is shot with an antibiotic dart so her strength should be at least partially retained by the next morning. The team sets up camp on the site. In the night, Nigel spots some cave hyenas hiding in the distance by seeing their yellow eyeshine in the darkness. But later, a wolf pack attacks the campsite for the mammoth. Nigel is able to fend them off before they can hurt the fallen mammoth. He lights some torches around the mammoth to discourage any further predatory approaches. The Cro-Magnon hunters then return to reclaim their prize, but turn and move away upon seeing the fire, or perhaps it's just the fact that Nigel's there. Either way, it is a long and uneasy night.In the morning, Nigel checks up on the wounded mammoth. The antibiotics come into effect, and the mammoth is finally able to stand up again. She starts walking back towards her dead sister, but Nigel manages to lead her through the time portal and back into the present day. Upon their arrival, Nigel radios for the medical help of the vet staff. Suzanne arrives and performs some quick surgery on the mammoth in the holding pens. She extracts a stone spearhead from the mammoth's shoulder, which was apparently how it was injured. The wound will not be stitched up, so that the mammoth will just end up with a small scar, and Suzanne expects the mammoth to make a full recovery. The team names her Martha. At feeding time, Martha wasn't feeding on the hay she was given. The team called Suzanne over to check her out. Suzanne found it odd since her vital signs were normal and her wound was healing and wasn't infected.
Nigel then goes back to the Pleistocene 150,000 years ago to take some plant samples back to Prehistoric Park and get Martha eating. There, he saw a large herd of Woolly mammoths traveling. However, the herd was spooked by a bull mammoth in musth. As the mammoths got away from the male, they began feeding on the vegetation. However, a baby mammoth got stuck in a muddy puddle. As the rest of the herd approached the sinking youngster, the matriarch of the herd hoisted the baby mammoth out of the mud with her trunk and tusks. Subsequently, the herd began feeding again. Suddenly, a large male Elasmotherium was seen investigating Nigel Marven's snowmobile. Nigel saw it and kept still and quiet. At first, because of its horrible eyesight, the Elasmotherium doesn't notice Nigel. However, the Elasmotherium picked up Nigel's scent and came further. Nigel backed off but was stopped by the bull woolly mammoth in musth. The Elasmotherium then picked up the bull Woolly Mammoth's scent, and he backed off. Nigel just managed to escape.
Later, Nigel went to retrieve his food bag, and noticed the Elasmotherium was near it. This is his one chance to rescue the Elasmotherium from extinction. He used himself as bait and tempted to lure the Elasmotherium to charge at him. He got the woolly rhino through the time portal into the park. Nigel told the staff at the park to close the gates to trap the Elasmotherium which then tried to break down the gate with its horn. The large male woolly rhino was the park's newest creature. It was then kept in the creature enclosure until its new enclosure was created. It was then moved there. When Nigel returned from the Pleistocene with his plant samples, he offered Martha with grass but Martha still refused to eat. Nigel then decided that Martha was lonely and needed a companion. Nigel later had an important meeting with Suzanne and Bob Arthur about the following course of action and decided to introduce Martha to the nearby herd of African elephants.
The next day, Nigel's crew got the matriarch African elephant to go to Martha's enclosure. The crew thought the whole herd would accept Martha if the matriarch did. It was a serious risk, though, as elephant matriarchs have been known to have killed strange elephants coming into established herds. Fortunately, after a long confrontation, Martha was accepted into the herd and she felt lonely no more. At the end of the episode, Martha was seen finally feeding with the elephants.
- Nigel Marven as Himself
- Rod Arthur as Head Keeper Bob
- Suzanne McNabb as Herself
- David Jason as Narrator