Dr. Bernard Grzimek

Name ID 208

See also

Monbiot, George Planet of the Fakes
Extract Author: George Monbiot
Extract Date: 1950's

Planet of the Fakes

Published in the Guardian 17th December 2002

But these reserves were tiny by comparison to the wildernesses the British colonists made in East Africa. At first the land they seized was set aside for hunting, but as the game ran out, they began to preserve it for the camera rather than the gun. After the Second World War, Bernhard Grzimek, "the father of conservation" in East Africa, announced that he would turn the Serengeti in northern Tanzania into a vast national park. This land, which is possibly the longest-inhabited place on earth, was, he declared, a "primordial wilderness". Though there was no evidence that local people threatened the wildlife, Grzimek decided that "no men, not even native ones, should live inside its borders." His approach was gleefully embraced by the British. Thousands of square miles of savannah in Kenya and Tanzania were annexed, and its inhabitants expelled. Only the whites could afford the entrance fees to the reserves, so only they were permitted to enter the new, primordial wilderness.

This project was, from the beginning, assisted by wildlife films. Grzimek's documentary, Serengeti Shall Not Die, generated massive enthiusiasm for his ethnic cleansing programme.

Extract ID: 3712

See also

Heminway, John No Man's Land: The Last of White Africa
Page Number: 169
Extract Date: 1950's

Serengeti Shall Not Die

Alan's work with the Denises was interrupted one day by a zebra-striped Dornier aircraft that circled the Serengeti headquarters and landed next to the game warden's house. The plane was piloted by Bernhard and Michael Grzimek. a father-and-son team from Frankfurt. Germany. They wanted to record the movements of the herds of wildebeest and zebra over the course of a year, in hopes that the legal boundaries of the park would one day contain their migration. The first order of business was to hire a cameraman. Did the game warden happen to know one? Myles Turner, a man of fierce loyalties, made it clear that they could do no better than Alan Root, who happened to be filming nearby. Before Alan had even heard of the arrangement. Myles had successfully negotiated his contract.

The film they made with Alan was called "Serengeti Shall not die". Of the few collaborations Alan has made, he can remember none so pleasant. He and Michael were much alike, not only in age. but in their approach to the game. They both were curious about the complex set of debts and promises that connect predators and prey: they both were consumed by the extravagance of life on these plains: and both of them were comics and daredevils.

The fun came to an end one day when Michael, flying alone, struck a vulture in midflight. With the ailerons and flaps jammed, the plane went into a dive. Michael was buried on the lip of the Ngorongoro Crater and the epitaph on his gravestone is simple: "Michael Grzimck - 11.4.1934 to 10.1.1959. He gave all he possessed for the wild animals of Africa, including his life."

Extract ID: 4156

external link

See also

Claytor, Tom Bushpilot
Extract Author: Tom Claytor
Page Number: 18h
Extract Date: 1996 July 03

the Grzimeks

It was the German Veterinarian, Bernard Grzimek, who said, 'Must everything be turned into deserts, farmland, big cities, native settlements and dry bush? One small part of the continent at least should retain its original splendor so that the black and white men who follow us will be able to see it in its awe-filled past glory.' His battle cry was, 'Serengeti, at least, shall not die.'

Bernard and his son, Michael, landed in Serengeti after flying 4,000 miles from Frankfurt in their Dornier 27 bush aircraft. There was no mistaking their aircraft; it looked like a gigantic zebra with black and white stripes across its entire length. I have flown this type of aircraft before and it is perfect for landing anywhere in the middle of nowhere. I remember looking at pictures of this famous plane surrounded by thousands of game is a vast open treeless plain. Bernard and Michael had come out to study migration patterns in the Serengeti and demonstrate that the proposed excisions would be disastrous for the Serengeti ecosystem. In Bernard's book, Serengeti Shall Not Die, he stressed that it can be easier to work with a dictatorship on matters of conservation than it is to work with a democracy, because you don't have to deal with parliaments, and you can get on with the job.

Extract ID: 3652

external link

See also

Claytor, Tom Bushpilot
Extract Author: Tom Claytor
Page Number: 19g
Extract Date: 1996 08 Jul

National Geographic Air Force manoeuvres

Markus Borner is preparing his plane to go and track lions. He tells me that last night an elephant wanted to sit on my plane. The askaris had to fire shots into the air. It was the same elephant that had wrecked the boats and the land rover. The boats were wooden canoes confiscated from poachers all lined up in a row. The elephant walked down the whole row and crushed them. The land rover it turned over with its tusks. He is a solitary bull, and he is a bit mischievous. Markus works for Frankfurt Zoological Society here, and during the 'Serengeti Diary' film, we flew together in formation across the wildebeest migration. I could only see him half the time as he was beneath my nose, and I had to watch him on a small television screen through the camera as we were flying. He called these film runs the 'National Geographic Air Force maneuvers', and we would whiz past kopjies and trees and wildebeest like feathers in the wind.

Markus is old fashioned. He believes there should be places on earth where man is not. He also thinks that conservation or a national heritage is a sounder base than just revenue. 'It should be pride, not money,' he says. Markus knew Professor Bernard Grzimek, and he says that Grzimek trusted the Africans and believed in them; it was not just money for them. At the time of independence, there was just one national park in Tanzania. Now, there are 12 national parks and 1 Ngorongoro conservation area. Markus says, 'I learned through Grzimek to listen to older people. It is worthwhile to listen. Wilderness is an emotional thing, and emotion is important for us. We always try to find a rational reason for things; emotion is more important.' He refers to Grzimek's chapter heading - 'listening to a lion roar'. 'We have had a wave of rationalizing since then, but now emotion is coming back.'

Extract ID: 3662

See also

Turner, Kay Serengeti Home
Page Number: 094
Extract Date: 1957

Peter Molloy, and the Grzimeks

Peter Molloy, Director of the Serengeti Park, and able administrator, interested Professor Grzimek in the Serengeti, which proved a turning point in drawing it to the attention of the world.

Extract ID: 618

See also

Turner, Myles My Serengeti Years
Page Number: 021

The Grzimeks camped near Banagi throughout 1958

The Grzimeks camped near Banagi throughout 1958, living in considerable discomfort in a metal uniport hut near the Mgungu River. Together we carried out the first aerial census of the Serengeti Wildebeest, and made many anti-poaching reconnaissance flights.

Extract ID: 301

See also

Turner, Kay Serengeti Home
Page Number: 154
Extract Date: 1958

The Grzimeks

Bernard Grzimek and his son Michael, were invited by the Board of Trustess, at their own expense, to carry out an aerial count of the plains animals in the Serengeti; to plot their main Migration routes; and to advise on the proposed new boundaries of the Park.

At first the Grzimeks had contemplated buying, as a game sanctuary, part of Momella in Tanzania - a beautiful farm, owned by a German named Trappe. The farm was set amongst forests and lakes at the foot of Mount Meru and overlooked Mount Kilimanjaro to the east. It was a paradise for game, and is now a National Park, 42 square miles in extent. Professor Grzimek sought the advice of Colonel Peter Molloy, the Director of Parks, who suggested that the money be used for a research project in the Serengeti.

Extract ID: 302

See also

1959 Publishes: Grzimek, Bernhard Serengeti Shall not die

Extract ID: 3355

external link

See also

Grzimek, Bernhard Serengeti Shall not die
Extract Date: 1959

Serengeti darf nicht sterben

Internet Movie Database

Directed by

Bernhard Grzimek

Writing credits

Bernhard Grzimek

Tagline: Filmed In The Green Hell of Africa's Jungles! (more)

User Rating: 8.8/10 (22 votes)

Also Known As:

Serengeti (1960) (USA)

Serengeti Shall not die (1959)

Runtime: 85

Country: West Germany

Language: German

Color: Color

Sound Mix: Mono

Certification: Finland:S / Germany:6 (w)


User Comments:


Kassel, Germany

Date: 14 January 1999

Summary: The animal film of all time

The Serengeti is one of the biggest paradises of the world. In no area of the world you can see more beautiful animals than here. The film shows what Michael and Bernhard Grzmimek had done to rescue the Serengeti National Park in Tansania. "Serengeti Shall not die" is beautifully photographed. It's a moving and sad movie because Michael Grzimek gave his life for the wild animals of the Serengeti.

Extract ID: 3343

external link

See also

Busemeyer, Karl Ludwig (Mucky) Log-Book about an Airship-Expedition to Tanzania
Extract Author: Bernhard und Michael Grzimek
Page Number: 01
Extract Date: 1959

'serengeti shall not die"

... Not today or tomorrow, but in three or four generations, when we will have forgotten about Bolshewism and Capitalism; when eastern blocks and western blocks are no longer important, then perhaps, many people will be delighted that someone worried about the animals of Africa ...

... In a hundred years, Chrushev and Eisenhower, our current political concern and our hatred will lead but a letter life in history books. But whether wildebeests still stampede the plains and whether leopards roar at night, that will still mean something to human beings; for the very reason that they will be ever more condemned to live in huge cement cities. >>

Extract ID: 5045

external link

See also

Claytor, Tom Bushpilot
Extract Author: Tom Claytor
Page Number: 18i
Extract Date: 1996 July 03

Bernard Grzimek's plane

Rian stops the land rover on the crater rim, and we walk a short way through lush forest. The early morning mist is hanging in the trees. Rian pulls back some tall grass, and there is Bernard Grzimek's plane. I find it hard to speak. There is a moment when a story that one has only read or heard becomes a sudden reality. You can touch it. It is true. Michael Grzimek was flying in the Olkarien gorge northwest of here, near the Gol Mountains. The Ruppell's vulture nest there. He hit a vulture in flight, and it went straight through the window and killed him. I can't recall how many times I have stared at a vulture in the air. They must think it strange that such large birds can fly. The trick is to pull up and go over them. Perhaps, they can't judge distance well, but it is always at the last moment that they fold their wings in panic and drop down right in front of you. Michael and his father are buried on the Ngorongoro crater rim.

The askari tells Rian that four hyenas were spotted around my plane last night. I go out to inspect, and I can see all the tracks. One of the great dangers for an airplane in the wilds of Africa can be lions and hyenas chewing your tires. Normally, I can cut thorn brush and pile it around my wheels. This is usually enough of a deterrent to keep the tires full of air. I didn't want to cut thorn brush here, so I took out my can of pyrethrum mosquito repellent and sprayed it all over the wheels. I followed the tracks of the hyenas as they came and smelled the tires, but fortunately it worked. It is also not a good idea to leave any food in the plane. A thin aluminum airplane would be little match for the powerful jaws of a hungry hyena. Sometimes, when I write these stories, I can imagine that they may seem very strange to people who live in other parts of the world.

Confusion here: They find Bernard's plane on the crater rim, and then go on to describe Michael's crash. The remains of his plane are still on the valley floor north of Ol Karien, and not on the crater rim.

Extract ID: 3653

See also

1960 Publishes: Grzimek, B and M Serengeti Shall Not Die

Extract ID: 306

See also

1970 Publishes: Grzimek, Bernhard Among Animals of Africa

Extract ID: 4405

See also

Douglas-Hamilton, Iain and Oria Among the Elephants

Signor Fiorotto

... Night after night elephants and rhino destroyed his [Signor Fiorotto] crop - some 400 elephants had been shot. Professor Bernhard Grzimek, when visiting Iain Douglas-Hamilton at Manyara, offered, on behalf of the Frankfurt Zoological Society, to raise funds to buy the farm so as to extend the Park boundaries.

Extract ID: 236

external link

See also

Internet Web Pages
Extract Date: 1979

Part of a court ruling


Our conclusion [in the main case] finds significant support from Burke v. National Broadcasting Co., Inc., 598 F.2d 688 (1st Cir. 1979). Burke captured on film a highly unusual and dramatic encounter in which a zebra attacked a lioness who had killed the zebra's foal. Grzimek, a professor and a host of an educational television program, wrote Burke requesting permission to use the film in his lectures and in the educational television program. Burke responded affirmatively, sending Grzimek the film accompanied by a short reply that contained neither express authorization nor express restriction with respect to other possible uses of the film. Grzimek initially used the film only for the stated purposes, but later transmitted a copy of the film to a commercial company specializing in nature films, which in turn sold a production that included the film to NBC. The issue was whether Burke's common law copyright was forfeited to the public domain by virtue of the circumstances surrounding his seemingly unconditioned release of the film to Grzimek. In other words, the issue was whether there had been a general publication. The First Circuit held that only a limited publication had occurred, and that Burke's common law copyright had not been lost.

Extract ID: 5043

external link

See also

Busemeyer, Karl Ludwig (Mucky) Log-Book about an Airship-Expedition to Tanzania
Page Number: 12
Extract Date: 2 2 98

The Ngorongoro crater and the outstanding permit

Next morning, fog, mist and some light drizzle over the crater with light winds. Today's programme was to pay the chief conservationist of the area a visit and finally sort out payment for all our local flying and filming permits. We had already paid the Prime Minister's office and the Tanzanian CAA quite a lot of money but the local authorities wanted their share too. Mysteriously, the bill came to quite a few thousand US dollars, which was more than twice that negotiated from Germany. We knew that without payment we could not fly, and the officer knew that as well. It was left to J�rgen (in his first life a banker) to sit down with him and, after a few hours, come back with a satisfactory compromise.

The film team had already started off on a crater safari, and Fredie and I had driven to the little airstrip to check whether we could fly the airship from it. There were no problems, but the local heavier-than-air pilots warned to watch for strange gusts and thermals. It wasn't airship weather, and as the permits still hadn't been granted, we went to see the Grzimek monument a few kilometres off the airstrip at the edge of the crater. Father and son are both buried there. Michael was killed in an aeroplane accident early 1959 and his father, Bernhard, died in early 1987. His last will was to rest next to his son. I was filled with emotion, because I knew the whole story from the old book. We stood gazing out across the crater taking in the vastness of the scene; at 20km in diameter, the largest meteor crater in the world. Grzimek wrote about the Ngorongoro as the 'largest natural zoo in the world', and that is exactly what it seemed to me.

Extract ID: 5056

See also

Luhikula, Gratian Tourist Guide to Tanzania

died (watching a circus in Frankfurt)

died (watching a circus in Frankfurt)

Extract ID: 303

See also

nTZ Feedback
Extract Author: Ed Carter
Page Number: 2004 04 06

film print of Serengeti Shall not Die

I am the Documentary Curator of the Motion Picture Academy, and am looking

for a film print of Serengeti Shall not die. Any ideas where I might locate


Thanks very much,

Ed Carter

I had a similar enquiry last year from someone looking for an English Language video of the film (he had found it in German).

At the time my best suggestion was to contact Dr. Markus Borner,, who lives out in the Serengeti and represents the Frankfurt Zoological Society. I can't find a specific email address for him, but you could try the enquiry form on the Serengeti web site

and there's an address at the end of this page

More recently I saw mention of a German project to shoot a film about Grzmick. Some details here

Maybe there are some contacts there that could help you more.

Have you tried contacting any of the people involved in the IMAX Serengeti Film. Some of their researchers must have looked at the Grzmick film (I hope).

Another suggestion is to contact the BBC Natural History Unit in Bristol - it's full of knowledgeable people.

NHU, BBC Whiteladies Road Bristol BS8 2LR

+44 117 973 2211 Switch board

And a final suggestion is to contact http://www.wildlife-film.com/

They do a monthly newsletter which often has appeals from people looking for specific current or historical footage.

Hope this is of some help.

Let me know if you do track down a print.


Extract ID: 4863

See also

Bianca Junker
Extract Date: 12 Feb 2004

Grzimek, a German legend

On February 12, Oliver starts shooting "Grzimek, a German legend" - about the life of the famous zoologist. The documentary will take place in the Serengeti in Tanzania and Oliver will take the role of Grzimek.

Extract ID: 4695