Published: 11 June 2009 at 15:02
Experts at Anglia Ruskin University help TV presenter to get close to a troop of baboons
A team of scientists from Anglia Ruskin University’s Department of Life Sciences - led by Animal Behaviour and Ecology expert Guy Norton - has helped with the filming of a four part series in Africa for Five, due for transmission beginning 21 June (8.00pm).
Among The Apes gets up close and personal to four of the best known primate species: Three apes; mountain gorillas, orang-utans, chimpanzees and baboons a monkey species living in the woody and grassy African habitats similar to the home of early man.
As Director of the Animal Behaviour Research Unit (ABRU) in Mikumi National Park, Tanzania, Guy Norton, assisted the series presenter, the well known primatologist Charlotte Uhlenbroek, with her observations of baboons. These unique animals will be seen in the second programme in the series 28 June (8.00pm) in their natural habitat within the Mikumi National Park.
In the series Charlotte reveals the complex social and sexual dynamics of man’s closest evolutionary and ecological relatives. Her adventure was made possible through her working with those who live closest to the animals – the peoples, rangers and scientists on the ground. In the programmes, she is fully briefed by them, before making her own first, crucial approaches to the animals. Charlotte approached them closely to get an insight into their daily and personal lives. The series draw on Charlotte’s knowledge of living and working with these amazing animals. Such familiarity with primates has been Charlotte’s life-long dream since her earliest chimpanzee studies in the forests of Gombe, Tanzania.
Charlotte wore hidden body cameras and used a tiny hand held camera to record her experiences as they happened. Each programme unfolds Charlotte’s developing relationships with the animals in real time, with immediacy and closeness. Charlotte camped out in the African bush with the troop of baboons studied at ABRU and in other programmes; she built a nest in an attempt to sleep high in the jungle canopy like a chimpanzee, learned the ropes – quite literally – at a school for orphaned orang-utans, and foraged for food with mountain gorillas.
Guy Norton first met Charlotte in the 1980s when she was a school girl living with her UN employed parents in Tanzania. He said,
Anglia Ruskin University’s Vice Chancellor, Professor Michael Thorne said:
The research and conservation activities of ABRU and the research activities of all staff contributes to the Animal and Environmental courses offered by the Department of Life Sciences at Anglia Ruskin University. Subjects range from Animal Behaviour, Ecology and Conservation to Marine Biology and Natural History; and from Animal Welfare to Zoology. For further information about these courses contact 0845 271 3333 or visit www.anglia.ac/lifesciences