A research project led by academics from the University of Lincoln plays a leading role in the BBC’s spectacular new series Africa, presented by Sir David Attenborough.
A documentary film crew visited the field site of the Barbary Macaque Project in the Atlas Mountains of northern Morocco as part of the making of the programme.
The footage they took, showing Barbary macaques sheltering in a snowstorm, formed the basis of the stunning opening scene of the fifth episode of the series, which is currently being screened on BBC One. The episode focuses on the diversity of species living in and around the Sahara desert in north Africa.
Barbary macaques are found in the wild in only a few wooded areas of the Atlas Mountains, where for long periods of the year, the landscape is blanketed in snow.
The field site which is home to the Barbary Macaque Project was established by Dr Bonaventura Majolo, from the School of Psychology at the University of Lincoln, in 2008. Based near the Moroccan city of Azrou, it provides a unique platform for an international team of researchers to study the ecology and behaviour of Barbary macaques in their native habitat.
Dr Majolo said: “Barbary macaques are fascinating creatures and an incredibly important species for academics from across a range of disciplines. As the last primate species besides humans left in Africa, they give us a window into the evolution of all primates, and with it, a better understanding of human evolution.
“Sadly, their numbers have plunged dramatically during the last 30 years and they are classed as an IUCN Red List Threatened Species.
“The work of the Barbary Macaque Project is helping to improve understanding of the ecological threats these animals face and raise awareness of their significance.
“We were only too pleased to welcome the BBC film makers to our field site and it’s wonderful that the footage they captured featured so prominently in the series.”
The BBC series Africa is being screened on BBC One and is available on the BBC iPlayer. The Barbary Macaque Project features in the opening scene of the fifth episode, Sahara, and the University of Lincoln is thanked in the programme credits. A feature on the BBC’s visit to the Barbary Macaque Project also appears in the February issue of BBC Wildlife Magazine.
To watch again, visit: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01qh31v/Africa_Sahara/
For more on the Barbary Macaque project, including news and pictures from the latest studies, visit the project blog: http://barbarymacaque.blogs.lincoln.ac.uk/