Wildlife series. Steve is in Uganda, getting up close and personal with gorillas in the mountains, squabbling baboons on the savannah and chimps in the forest.
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My name is Steve Backshall.
This is my mission to find the Deadly 60!
Not just animals that are deadly to me,
but animals that are deadly in their own world.
My crew and I are exploring the planet.
And you're coming with me every step of the way!
This is Uganda, right in the heart of Africa.
It's a magical wonderland with misty mountains and forest,
savannah, safaris, it's got the lot!
Uganda is a small country in East Africa,
often called the Pearl of Africa for its beauty.
As for the wildlife, we're looking for the primates.
In fact, you could say we're tracing the family tree.
You and I are humans, part of an animal group called the primates.
I've come to Uganda because this is one of the best places to see
three of our closest ancestors.
They're all primates, too, and can all be deadly!
But to find them, we've got an adventure ahead.
From gorillas up in the mountains...
to baboons on the savannah, and chimps in the deep, dark forests.
We're high in the mountains of a windy, impenetrable park.
And when I say high, my altimeter says
we're at 2,300 metres above sea level,
way higher than the highest mountains in Britain.
But we could get even higher,
because the animal we're looking for is a true mountain specialist.
It's one of the most enchanting, dramatic,
important animals in the world - it's the mountain gorilla.
Gorillas are the world's largest primates,
and some of the most endangered.
To find them, we're going to need to trek
high into Uganda's Virunga mountains.
This cloud forest is cool, wet and at high altitude.
Any animal that lives here has to be tough.
They live in close family groups
and feed on the lush vegetation found on the slopes.
Our guide, Christopher,
reckons we will have about four or five hours at least
until we get close to where the gorillas are.
Then we'll have the same again coming back.
So we're looking at a very big day!
Christopher and the other trackers make daily visits up the mountain
and know each gorilla family and every individual.
Without their tracking skills, we'd never find our gorillas.
Without their knowledge and expertise, the gorillas
would never let us get close.
It was about 100 years ago
that the first outsiders came to these forests
and saw mountain gorillas for the first time.
They brought back stories of these terrifying animals,
incredibly strong and can rip a man apart with their bare hands.
It's what inspired the story of King Kong.
Of course, since then, we've learned a lot about mountain gorillas
and found out they are generally peaceful animals
that eat stuff like this most of the time.
That doesn't stop them from being very formidable.
That's why we're thinking of putting them on Deadly 60.
For an animal that feeds entirely on vegetation,
gorillas are one of the most overpowered,
deadly creatures on the planet.
They're stacked with huge muscles and have enormous teeth.
But as they only feed on plants,
why are they built like an all-in wrestler?
Well, gorillas are fiercely loyal,
and will fight to the death to defend their families.
That can mean big predators like leopards
and other massive mountain gorillas.
These mountains aren't just home to giant primates.
On the path is one of the largest creepy-crawlies I've ever seen.
That is full-on weird!
It's a giant earthworm.
It really is giant!
These huge tropical earthworms might look freaky,
but they're really important to keep the mountain soil fertile.
Good news for our plant-eating gorillas.
Nobody step on this.
Step over it.
We've been trekking for about four hours.
Everyone's starting to get concerned
we might not find our gorillas, but, all of a sudden,
we've found out we're really close to them.
We'll leave all our food behind,
leave anything that could be a potential danger to the gorillas,
and get in and go and meet some mountain gorillas!
After all that trekking, we only have one hour's visiting time
with these awesome creatures.
A strict rule that minimises disturbance to their secret lives.
As we start to get closer,
you'll hear the guides making little reassuring noises
so the gorillas know what's coming, know that it's not a threat.
I can see the bushes moving ahead of us.
I'm shaking, half with excitement,
half with a little bit of trepidation.
(Our first sight!)
They're all around us. A silverback!
And there's a little baby, an infant hanging on this branch.
Let's move up this way.
'It feels quite vulnerable to be so close,
'knowing that if he wanted to charge,
'he'd be on me in a heartbeat!'
It may seem insane to be thinking about putting an animal
that is so gentle, so careful and a vegetarian on to the Deadly 60,
until you get a good look at this guy!
This is the silverback, the dominant male.
I have to say,
there are very few more impressive animals in the whole world.
He is absolutely massive!
Despite the fact that he probably is no taller than I am,
he would be at least two times my weight and way more muscular.
He's just walking across now. You can see that silver saddle back
as he goes, and just the strength to brush bushes aside.
Look at that incredible bulk.
They are majestic animals.
160 kilos of silverback gorilla just vanish into the undergrowth.
This is the absolute typical habitat that you'll find gorillas in.
Very, very thick, very, very dense,
they spend a great deal of time feeding on everything around us.
They are surprisingly difficult to spot,
even though they are very large animals.
This is a good-sized group.
Christopher, how many animals are in this group?
There are 12 individuals.
12. 12 individuals.
-three are females, two blackbacks, one juvenile and two infants.
We try and keep a respectful distance
so we don't disturb the gorillas as they feed.
Johnny, Johnny... 'But suddenly a cheeky, confident young male
'moves menacingly towards us.'
This is the blackback.
He's the young male.
They can be...
..more of a worry than the silverback
because they have more to prove.
Did you see how easily he just pulled
that tree down to cover himself?
People who work with gorillas a lot reckon
they are probably ten times stronger than people.
They've seen them bend iron bars.
He's looking at me at the moment, sussing me out.
But he knows he's far bigger and stronger than me
and I pose no threat to the group.
The guides make me stand my ground as he comes in for a closer look.
Right. Well, that...
is a blackback gorilla,
letting us know who's boss!
Yeah, that was quite a left hook!
I am glad it didn't go a couple of inches to the right.
So gorillas can be aggressive when defending their families,
or when showing off to a film crew!
But like us humans, they also have a softer side and even share
some of our worst habits.
He just picked a bogey out of his eye and ate it!
And eating all those greens
gives them really one bad problem that takes some beating.
Despite their comedy manners, mountain gorillas
are seriously deadly because of their fierce family loyalty.
That passion for protection can turn a gentle, plant munching vegetarian
into a chest-beating, rampaging monster!
But understanding that passion
and the potential danger these animals pose
makes it even more special
to see them up close and look into those very human faces.
You don't get better animal encounters than this anywhere.
To be this close to one of the most awe-inspiring
kings of the jungle, the mountain gorilla.
They're definitely going on the Deadly 60.
With a huge muscular frame for crashing through vegetation,
strong jaws for tearing chunks out of their opponents,
they'll defend their families to the death.
Majestic mountain gorillas are going on the Deadly 60.
Exhausted after our long mountain trek, we hit the road.
After crossing a furious river on a perilous-looking bridge
we're stopped in the road by a herd of local longhorn cattle.
So, er... Why are they called longhorn cattle?
They can barely hold their heads up, their horns are so heavy!
Imagine carrying those around all day long!
But just down the road, we're stopped again.
And this roadblock is from an animal that could make my list.
We were heading towards where we're going to spend the night
when our next Deadly 60 animal has cropped up
right in the middle of the road ahead of us.
We're going to pop out and see if we can get better acquainted.
Go easy, guys.
Olive baboons should be approached with caution.
OK, they look quite cuddly and harmless,
but appearances can be deceptive.
They're armed with teeth that a vampire would be proud of.
Each canine tooth is bigger than a lion's,
and they used them to tear and shred flesh.
They also have a particular liking for young gazelles,
which they overwhelm using brute strength and speed.
They are very bold, brazen animals,
but they are also animals that we have to be a bit cautious with.
Because... Well, they're very different
to the gorillas that were our last Deadly 60 animal.
The gorillas were very calm, peaceful animals,
baboons spend a lot of time
being very aggressive, towards each other and also
towards anything from the outside they see as a possible threat.
Olive baboons tend to live in open grasslands with little cover,
so they form huge groups for their protection.
This safety in such large numbers gives them a surprising confidence
to chase off the biggest of predators.
They'll even face-up to powerful cats, like leopards,
cheetah, and even lions.
This cheeky baboon is sending an instant message to deter a lionness.
It would deter me, too!
So as I near this troupe,
the last thing I want to do is make them think I'm a threat.
Ahead of us on the road, we've got quite a decent-sized group.
There are probably around 20 animals here,
but you can get troupes numbering 150 animals.
There's a couple of youngsters being groomed.
And over in the back there,
there's a big male.
But with so many baboons in a group, squabbles are plentiful.
That is a young male handing out some discipline,
and it certainly seemed like it hurt!
That was a terrible screaming.
There's a lot of stuff like that goes on in baboon society.
Within such big groups, there's a complex but delicate pecking order.
Friendships are formed by grooming.
But fights and squabbles over food and mating rights are common.
These brutal battles are long and ferocious.
Sometimes even fatal.
These baboons are living out in the wild, quite a long way from people,
so they're quite shy and quite cautious,
but that isn't always the case.
In fact, when baboons start to live close to people,
they can start to see them as a source of food,
and that can be a real problem.
You don't want an animal that size,
with teeth that big deciding it wants food off you.
Their fearless nature means that baboons will try anything
for a free meal, raiding bins,
jumping through windows, even looting breakfast tables!
And with their bellies full,
they'll think nothing of getting a free ride home.
It's this brazen cockiness and opportunistic nature,
coupled with strength, numbers and a fearsome bite,
that makes all baboons such dangerous animals,
and that's why I am putting them on the Deadly 60.
With vampire-like teeth to tear and shred flesh,
bold enough to take on the big cats,
and when it comes to getting a meal, they're smart and savvy.
Strutting, swaggering, prowling primates, baboons are on my list.
When you film wildlife for a living,
you get used to getting up before the sun rises,
and it doesn't stop us being a bit grumpy about it.
-How are you feeling, guys?
However, we are also very excited,
because we're heading out to try to find
the most lethal primate killer found in Uganda's forest.
It's also our closest relative, and like us, they have big brains,
they're very intelligent and they can be deadly.
It's the chimpanzee.
Chimpanzees are found in forests of central and west Africa.
They live in family groups of around 30 animals,
interacting with a variety of calls and facial expressions.
They have big brains, so they're intelligent.
But most remarkably, chimps have learnt to use tools.
Tough forest nuts are cracked open
with specially selected rocks and logs.
Some of the skills they use to survive are truly lethal.
And what they're after will probably shock you.
Hopefully that's what we'll be able to show you today.
We've teamed up with expert local trackers
who are taking us deep into the forest.
One of our guides reckons there's a tree down here,
a fig tree, that's in a fruit right now and it's...
We already have the signs.
There's some really clear prints, and very fresh as well.
Those are this morning.
So they're close!
What I was saying before was that there's a fig tree down here
and it's in fruit at the moment, so this will be a really good place
to find the chimps.
'And as we get closer, we find another clue.'
It's part of a fig, which has been left behind by a chimp.
It's another good sign, all the signs are pointing this way.
And then we hear the haunting calls,
and spot dark shapes up in the branches.
That is the chimpanzee long call.
It's just this excited wail that builds and builds.
We are utterly surrounded, and being pelted from above with figs!
Up since first light, the chimps are gorging themselves
on ripe figs for breakfast.
-This is what we expect in the forest.
Was that fig or was that poo?
-No, it's fig.
-No, it wasn't.
I'm sorry, Ronald, that is not fig.
That is chimp poo and it just clouted me right in the face.
I have a feeling this is how our day is going to go.
what I can tell you from looking at this dropping is that at the moment,
these chimps are feeding almost exclusively on fig.
It's kind of mushy, it almost looks like a squelched-up fig itself.
But that isn't always the case.
In fact, here, less than half of the chimps' diet is made up from fruit.
What they actually feed on a lot of the time is monkeys,
and even small antelope.
'That bit might be worth repeating.'
What they feed on a lot of the time is monkeys and even small antelope.
Yes, as shocking as it seems, chimpanzees, just like us,
have a taste for meat.
Any small animals that get too close could find themselves on the menu.
Do you know, that's not a chimp either, those are monkeys.
The chimps are going after them!
A couple of monkeys just came into the corner of the tree here,
and the chimps didn't like it, and just went straight for them.
The monkeys got away, though.
They're heading off this side. They got lucky that time.
At the moment, there are so many figs that the chimps
don't need to waste the energy in trying to kill the monkeys,
but if this hadn't been a fruiting fig tree,
that could have been a different story.
Chimps are ruthless hunters, and their favourite prey
are colobus monkeys.
The leaf-eating monkeys are smaller and more agile than the chimps,
but they can be cornered and caught when the chimps use
their team tactics to surround them in the trees.
Several males will chase the monkeys into an ambush,
then the hunters gather around to share in the meal.
This hunting may be gruesome, but the protein from the meat
is a vital part of the chimps' diet to help fuel those big brains.
Intelligence and teamwork, now that's deadly!
This is absolute chaos, and a lot of this is just big squabbles going on
-between the individuals.
The senior ones disciplining the more junior ones, and they're just
charging around in the treetops, causing absolute havoc.
Branches coming down, figs coming down, poo coming down.
It's a good job he's got the umbrella!
'After a few hours of feasting, one of the males has got bored of figs.'
Here he comes...
He'll come down this vine here.
This is an adult male,
just beginning to descend.
A big male chimp like this would be
a fair bit smaller than me, but a lot stronger.
The arms are proportionally much, much longer,
great for swinging through the treetops.
A really powerfully-built animal.
Although great climbers, chimps are too heavy to swing
from tree to tree like monkeys, so they come down to the ground
when they move through the forest.
Down and off.
I'd give anything to be able to climb like that!
They move with such purpose.
You can see the bulk of him just brought down a great big branch.
There's more coming down from the treetops here.
I can't believe they're coming down all around us, what an experience!
The movement was just extraordinary,
just hand over hand, down through the tree and off.
Disappeared. There's still a fair few more to come down.
The forest floor and the trees around us are just filled
with dark shapes, almost like ghosts.
They kind of move almost with a sort of menace.
You can certainly see how if you were a black and white
or red colobus monkey,
these would be the animals of your worst nightmares.
Once they're down at our level,
we get a totally different perspective on them.
Their mood seems to have changed entirely
from the boisterous squabbling over fruit...
to silently stalking the forest floor.
Look over there.
There is something weirdly prehistoric
about this whole experience.
I just feel like I've been transported back in time.
Humans and chimps share a common ancestor.
They're our closest living relatives.
When you're this close to them, there's so much about appearance,
about their gestures, their facial signs that's very, very human.
But there's also
a lot about our similarities that makes them deadly.
High-swinging, tool-using, co-operative hunting...
Chimpanzees are on the Deadly 60.
Big brains make chimps highly intelligent.
They use deadly teamwork to hunt in the trees.
And they're expert tool users, making the most out of forest foods.
All in all, our closest relatives have to go on the Deadly 60.
As long as I'm exactly where I am now, I'm safe.
If I got even a few inches closer, it would be able to bite me.
Next time on Deadly 60...
I'm never going to make it!
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
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Steve is in Uganda, getting up close and personal with some of our closest relatives - the primates. He meets gorillas in the mountains and squabbling baboons on the savannah. He even has a dawn encounter with chimps in the forest.