In The Secret Life of Primates, zoologist Charlotte Uhlenbroek undertakes a journey of discovery as she travels to the world’s jungles and mountains and infiltrates some of the greatest wild primate groups, attempting to get closer to them than anyone has tried before.
With tiny handheld recording devices, Uhlenbroek uses her skills, knowledge and expertise to unravel the complex social and sexual dynamics of four primate groups: mountain gorillas, orangutans, chimpanzees and baboons.
In Budongo in Central Uganda, home to about 700 wild Sonso chimpanzees, Uhlenbroek builds a chimp nest to sleep as high in the jungle canopy as they do; in Borneo she visits a school for orphaned orangutans; she stays with a troupe of baboons in the African savannah; and forages for food with mountain gorillas in Uganda’s Bwindi Forest while witnessing the majestic silverbacks at the same time.
Uhlenbroek’s adventures are not without risk and she learns from the tribes, the rangers and the scientists on the ground before she makes the first, crucial approach to the animals.
This is a rare opportunity for viewers to witness unique moments of acceptance and kindness between human and primate.
The Secret Life of Primates is a four-part documentary series which premieres on SABC3 on Sunday 10 March at 18h00.