Monkey Planet: New BBC Series Gets Up Close With Primates

by Jules on April 2, 2014

If you find primates as mesmerising as I do, you won’t want to miss new BBC documentary Monkey Planet – starting on BBC1 on Wednesday 2 April 2014, for a three part series.

Monkeys are the closest relatives to humans and this fascinating three-part one hour-long series looks at the various behaviours and characteristics of just some of the primate species. Author, explorer and zoologist Dr George McGavin visits monkeys both in their natural habitats and within specialist sanctuaries, from the monkey species that survive fiercely cold winters in deepest Japan; to the absolutely captivating orangutans.

Episode one on 2 April is entitled Meet the Family and George meets orangutan Siswi who uses soap in the same way a human would. He also descends to an underground cave where monkeys live 100 meters down and he witnesses first-hand how monkeys survive by using group warmth in the depths of the chilly Japanese Alps.

Episode two on 9 April is all about Family Matters and George uncovers the hierarchy of primates and how this affects the social standing of various members. Again much the same as human families, primate families live in tight groups. This episode looks at the Emperor Tamarin monkeys of Peru and how they are coerced into babysitting. We also see how South Africa Vervet Monkeys have adopted a complex early warming system to warn each other of predators.

Master Minds, the final episode airs on 16 April and reveals just how intelligent these creatures really are. The episode looks at how monkeys solve problems, use tools and explores the emotions they experience. George also gets the rare opportunity to be a part of the biggest monkey party on earth, and gets invited to a barbecue with a difference, where a Bonobo lights a fire to toast marshmallows!

Prepare to be wowed and educated in equal measure by these fascinating creatures.

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