This week we have some very interesting guests with us in the forest. Matthew Wright and Gavin Thurston from the BBC Natural History Unit. They are here to film the macaques for a new TV series coming up on the BBC. This is a great opportunity for us to see behind the scenes how these documentaries are made.
Gavin has worked on many of the BBC’s flagship wildlife documentarys over the years including Life and Planet Earth so we are very hopeful the team can capture some great images of the macaques. I cannot wait to see the Green Group and the forest in HD.
Currently we are experiencing a very warm spell, up to 15’C, which for winter at just shy of 2000m a.s.l is remarkable. This weather is good and bad news. As a researcher a mild sunny winter is fantastic, i know from experience spending 10hours collecting data in freezing rain or snow is tough. However, this week we are all hoping for a flurry of snow as the film crew would really like some footage of the macaques in a picturesque winter scene.
Above Gavin is using one of his specialist pieces of camera equipment, or toys, as he calls them. This is a cable dolly which Gavin designed to carry the camera across a wire cable via remote control. We were a little worried how the Green Group would react to this device but after a couple of runs of the camera up and down the cable the group relaxed and began to take centre stage.
Yesterday the Green Group males put on a show to remember for the film crew with a 10 min scream fight. When the group came down from an afternoon siesta you could feel the tension in the air. The males were all foraging in close proximity and you could sense something was not quite right. We were able to anticipate a fight about to happen and direct Gavin in to a good position and a few minutes later there was pandemonium. A fully fledged no-holes-barred scream fight. All the males of the Green Group were involved and several smaller aggressions broke out between females and juveniles.
The noise is immense as you would expect from the approprately named scream fight. Every group member is screaming their lungs out, showing their canines and fluffing up their coats to appear as big and threatening as possible. There are bites, swipes, lunges, grabs. Displays of muscle, testosterone, power and stature.
Then all of a sudden calm descends on the group and everyone returns to feeding, the dispute is finished and everyone knows their position in the group once more.
We will keep everyone up to date with the film crews stay in the following days.