Packham warns losing species 'makes us vulnerable'

A new BBC series narrated by naturalist Chris Packham travels from snow-capped mountains to the hottest deserts, to take an in-depth look at the habitats and uncanny behaviours of some of our closest relatives. He says: “Very beautiful, very similar to us and therefore easy to engage with but collectively, a group of animals that, just like ourselves, are in big trouble. “I’m really hoping that people will love primates even more and contribute in some way to their conservation.” Here, the presenter reveals some of the incredible new discoveries the series unearths. A cheeky baby gorilla in the Congo repeatedly swings on a vine around his dad’s head as he tries to have some quiet time. But while you may expect the seemingly fearsome silverback gorilla to snap, he is gentle and attentive to his young. But what we’ve learnt through new observations and new science is that male gorillas’ fitness, in terms of how often they can reproduce successfully, is to do with how they respond to their young.” In southern India, these macaques have a feast when jackfruit ripen during the rainy season. you’ve got the smart monkey and the belligerent squirrel!” And they have another way of making sure they come out on top – gnawing through the branch and letting the fruit fall to the ground. These clever monkeys live in eastern Brazil, a harsh environment where it is often hard to find food. Chris says: “The capuchin has mastered a skill almost no other animal has – they make and use tools that are tailor-made for every job.” For hunting lizards, a rich source of protein and water, they use sticks to poke into gaps and frighten the reptiles out. I suppose we empathise with the cognitive abilities of these animals.” In tense scenes, a family of baboons comes to the rescue of one of their own, who is bleeding and injured after a leopard attack. The camera team who filmed that just came across it as it unfolded and managed to capture the whole story of the wounded baboon. The lemurs are particularly prone to ticks and parasites but scientists have discovered a remarkable new behaviour that helps them cope. Chris says: “As well as grooming each other, these lemurs have developed ingenious means of keeping pests at bay – self-medication. The confusing Females have brown fur, abovelemurs put this to good use and rub it all overthemselves. Rubbing this acid mixed with spit on to their fur acts as an effective tick repellent.