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Orang-utan looks through cage bars
Apes in Danger
Shown 9–11 January, 2006

A three part, definitive look at the global crises facing the world's last great apes, and the efforts being made to safeguard their future in the wild.

Flirt at 2 years old © BBC


Programme 1: Chimpanzee
Shown 9 January, 2006

The Chimpanzees of Gombe were made famous by Jane Goodall, the legendary British primatologist. Individuals she spent her life studying such as 'Frodo' and 'Gremlin' are now the stars of BBC One's Chimp Week, but behind the day to day intrigues of chimp society a crisis is deepening.

Chimp numbers are crashing, here in Gombe and everywhere else in Africa. Their forest homes have become ever shrinking islands. Reflecting the wider threat to chimpanzees across Africa, the Gombe chimps face hunting, disease, habitat destruction and the effects of uncontrolled human migration. Biologists such as Jane Goodall have been forced to give up their research to join the battle to save them. Just what will it take to save chimpanzees from extinction?

JGI Center for Primate Studies: Gombe and the chimps

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Programme 2: Orang-utan
Shown 10 January, 2006

In an area once shrouded in rain forest, the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation is struggling to accommodate the flood of homeless orang-utans. The orang-utan's forest homes are disappearing and now a new commercial drive is threatening their last remaining refuges.

Palm oil is big business - it has become the world's cheapest and best selling vegetable oil, and brings in over $3 billion for Indonesia's economy each year. One in ten products on our supermarket shelves contains this oil, from margarine to cosmetics.

But, as our demand for palm oil increases, more and more forest is being removed to make way for huge plantations, leaving wild orang-utans with nowhere to go. the palm oil issue

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Programme 3: Gorilla
Shown 11 January, 2006

In the heart of the Congo gorillas are under fire - their numbers are falling fast. In Kahuzi Biega, Africa's most dangerous national park, this film investigates the most endangered species - the Eastern gorilla.

The vast park is home to more than 80% of these apes, but it has become a lawless jungle battleground. The Congolese authorities, with help from conservationists from organisations such as the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International and the UN are struggling to protect people and gorillas from heavily armed poachers. Gorillas have become collateral damage in the scramble for the Congo's rich mineral resources. In the midst of so much human suffering, what chance do the remaining gorillas have?

Born Free Foundation news: twins born at Kahuzi-Biega

Find out more about the great apes and how you can help them through links to a selection of the many organisations working for their survival and the top tips on our primate conservation pages.

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 On TV - BBC Two

Programme 1: Chimpanzee

Programme 2: Orang-utan

Programme 3: Gorilla

 In Ape Week

Ape Week homepage

Chimp Week homepage


Have your say
Ask questions, discuss issues and share views on the Science & Nature board.

 On Science & Nature

Animals on the Edge
Just what sort of shape are primates in? Get an introduction on the issues and threats.

What you can do to help
There are many different ways of helping - follow our top tips for starters.

Facts and figures on the great apes and other primates.


Extinction alert for 800 species
A global map of sites where animals face imminent extinction.

 Elsewhere on the web

An audio-visual record of endangered life on Earth.

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