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Channel 4 to stream dead hippo feast live from Africa

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Hippopotamus

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Channel 4 will today stream live coverage of a hippo carcass being devoured by predators in Africa, presenting the "most comprehensive illustration ever of nature's food-chain in action".

Hippo: Wild Feast Live will be streamed live on the Channel 4 website, bringing the African savanna direct to British desktops, classrooms and lounges.

The hippo carcass will be located in Zambia's Luangwa Valley by a section of the Luangwa river frequented by a host of predators and scavengers, including leopards, lions, Nile crocodiles, hyenas, wild dogs, baboons, monitor lizards and the notorious honey badger.

Streamed live on Channel4.com, the coverage will use fixed camera rigs, motion detectors, infra-red cameras, laser thermometers, digital microscopes and electronic tracking systems to follow the predators as they feast on the dead hippo.

The live streaming will be interactive as viewers are encouraged to tweet questions to presenter Mark Evans, from Inside Nature's Giants, who will be presenting daily updates from the site.

A series of two-minute live updates will air on Channel 4 each evening from October 21 to 26. A full 90-minute programme will follow on November 7 at 9pm recapping the entire consumption of the carcass.

Video clips of the key action, including commentary, will be made available on Channel4.com every day, giving additional insights into the animals' behaviour and the biological decomposition.

The production team will also use GPS trackers to monitor the movements of lions, vultures and other predators to see how the flesh is transported.

A laser thermometer and digital microscope will be deployed by an expert entomologist to help capture the extreme close-ups of different insects, such as maggots and microbes, feasting on the carcass.

"The river is a prime location for some of the biggest predators in Zambia - we may well see fierce showdowns between rivals for these vital calories - from Nile crocodiles and lions to hyenas and the notoriously vicious honey badger," said Evans.

"The eating mechanisms of the different animals is fascinating - from crocodiles who use each other as leverage for a 'death roll' to twist off the meat - to marabou storks who gulp down pounds of flesh which they store in their gullets."

Channel 4 specialist factual commissioning editor Tanya Shaw added: "This interactive project builds on the success of Elephant: Life After Death which followed a five-tonne elephant being transformed into six million calories worth of fat, meat and guts, feeding a whole new cycle of life.

"This time, by streaming the action live we are dealing with wildlife at its most raw, bloody and immediate - it will be fascinating to see how events unfold and we want viewers to interact with the experts and share this unique content with their friends."

Hippo: The Wild Feast is being produced by Tigress Productions, the Endemol Company which also made Channel 4's Elephant: Life After Death.

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