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Millions of us love watching the world's wildlife
behaving in strange and wonderful ways.
But what lies at the heart of these extraordinary behaviours?
Can science explain what's really going on?
The latest research from all around the world
is increasing our understanding of animal emotions,
and communication, faster than ever before.
I'm Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, and I've teamed up with wildlife experts
to travel the globe in search of the most surprising animal stories.
There, there, there. Wow, look at them.
Using the very latest camera technology,
we'll reveal how and why animals do such remarkable things.
And we'll meet the scientists who dedicate their lives to
understanding these extraordinary discoveries.
Tonight, we'll be investigating
the intriguing world of animal communication.
HOWLING I'll be in Austria,
where scientists are reinterpreting the howl of the wolf.
And asking do these animals really deserve their big, bad reputation?
It's quite a noise, isn't it? Really impressive.
Zoologist Lucy Cooke discovers the communication skills required
to persuade a penguin raised by people to swim.
It's a big deal if you're a penguin.
There's this terrible transition period where you have to do it.
It's like bungee jumping.
And conservationist Giles Clark is in Australia,
to discover how cutting edge communications technology
is saving an endangered species.
Each one of those little blue dots is a koala. That's right.
We can pinpoint exactly where it is. Amazing.
But first, Patrick Aryee is in the South African bush.
PATRICK: I'm on the trail of
an incredible love story between two very different lions.
Today, they're going to meet for the very first time,
and it could change our perception about how lions communicate
with each other.
I've joined lion expert Jason Turner in Limpopo,
South Africa's most northern province.
He's taking me to meet a remarkable lioness who's just been moved
into the specialist lion reserve.
This is Cleopatra.
There she is, hidden behind all the branches. That's Cleopatra.
And she's next to her pal, Swalu.
And it's so amazing to be this close to these powerful lionesses.
Look, Cleopatra's lifting up her head.
'Nine-year-old Cleopatra used to live in the reserve next door.
'She was moved here recently
'after years of behaving in a very unusual way.'
What was it that she was doing?
What was it about her behaviour that changed?
She was obsessed with wanting to join the pride of lions
on this side, so she was at the fence line every day,
she swam across a river, climbed under an electric fence,
in order to bond with our male.
'The male who caught Cleopatra's attention wasn't any old lion.'
'It was Zukara,
'one of just 12 white lions left in the wild.'
'A very rare change in their DNA causes their splendid colour.
'But it's sadly meant that the white lions
'have been hunted almost to extinction.'
'For five years, Cleopatra appeared every day at the fence of
'Zukara's reserve, obsessively waiting to see him.'
'Lionesses generally mate with
'a male who's the head of their own pride,
'normally a big, dark-maned male.'
'Jason, who's worked with lions for 20 years,
'had never seen a lioness go to such lengths to communicate
'her feelings for a male who was completely out of her reach.'
This obsessive behaviour of going up and down the fence line,
putting on seductive moves like you've never seen.
What kind of seductive moves? So lots of tail swishing.
The lionesses will roll over.
They've got this white, sort of very sexy belly
that they flash at the males.
Lionesses are arch seducers.
I mean, seduction was invented by lionesses.
'We're hoping to see some unique lion behaviour.
'Today, Zukara and Cleopatra
'are going to meet face to face for the very first time.'
'Lion introductions can be extremely unpredictable.'
'So Zukara has been kept away in an enclosure,
'giving Cleopatra a chance to get used to her new surroundings
'and bond with resident lioness Swalu.'
'Today, the team are opening the gate
'and releasing Zukara back into the reserve.'
We're tracking him to see if
he picks up Cleopatra's scent in the 4,000 acre reserve.
We've found Zukara. He is a magnificent male - just look at him.
All the classic features of a big male lion, except for the fact
that he's white.
Oh, my goodness.
Listen to that!
So you can see, he hasn't wasted any time.
He's doing what we expected him to do,
and that's the natural male response.
He's picking up the chemical signals, the pheromones,
from where Cleopatra scent-marked.
And that grimace...
..what he's doing is called flehmen.
He's picking up the scent. So he knows that she's here.
He knows that she's here.
And he's... It looks to me like he's figuring out which way she's gone.
'Scent markings aren't the only way lions communicate with each other.
'On the other side of the reserve, the lionesses are on the move.
'Cleopatra's out in front, picking up Zukara's calls.'
That sound is so impressive!
'This communication is a good sign,
'but this is a love story that could end in tears.'
'Like all lions, Zukara and Cleopatra are powerful creatures.'
'Males in particular can be extremely aggressive to outsiders.'
'So even lion expert Jason doesn't know exactly what's going to happen
'when Zukara and Cleopatra meet.'
Lions are very fiery animals. They can be very aggressive.
Of course, they're fierce hunters, predators,
and the males are incredibly territorial,
so bringing two adult lions together,
there's always going to be fireworks.
'Lionesses often have to work together to defend themselves
'from other lions, and Jason is hoping that resident female Swalu
'will help out Cleopatra if things turn nasty with Zukara.'
'As the sun begins to set,
'it looks like Zukara and Cleopatra could meet at night.'
'We're desperately trying to find them to see their first encounter.
'How they react in that moment
'will show us if they have a future together.'
'We manage to find Zukara.
'We're going to try and stick with him throughout the night.'
Got full signal on Zukara.
'A full signal from Zukara's radio collar
'means he's within ten metres of us.'
It's slightly unnerving,
knowing that there's a lion in this thicket here. You can't see Zukara.
I'm just trusting in this rickety old machine.
Here he comes, here he comes.
Zukara just came right next to us.
He's definitely on the hunt for Cleopatra.
'Studies have shown that lions have their own unique voices
'that other lions can identify.'
I don't know whether it's the cold air or the night,
but his roar is definitely echoing a lot louder, or it seems that way.
I can hear another roar in the distance.
Hopefully that's Cleopatra responding to him.
Seems like he's definitely having a conversation
or communicating with another lion, that's for sure.
'The way lions communicate and interact is complex
'and often aggressive, so we don't know how Zukara will react
'when he meets Cleopatra.'
'She's been spotted two miles away with Swalu,
'and she's heading in our direction.'
'An hour later, Zukara appears by the fence.'
'Just in front of him are Swalu and Cleopatra.'
RADIO: Coming up towards you.
Copy. Got visual.
We were right behind him going along the fence
that he first met Cleopatra, which seems quite appropriate.
Right now, now, now.
'Suddenly, Zukara and Cleopatra are face to face.'
'Swalu hangs back.'
They're so tentative.
It's unbelievable. That was so electric.
How amazing's that?
He came in for them, almost, but they both instantly were like,
"No, don't try and mess with us at all.
"We mean business."
'Their encounter ends with a final scent spray from Zukara.
'It's one of the many signs
'that he's receptive to Cleopatra's presence.'
I've never seen anything quite like it. That was really exciting.
I'm still pretty shaky.
I mean, it happened all within a split of a second.
And you've got these two strong, powerful lions,
Cleopatra and Zukara, almost doing damage, it seemed.
Heated engagement, but you could see more bark than bite.
No excessive use of violence, really.
More just demanding respect from each other.
'Their non-aggressive calls and the lack of violence
'are signs that as first dates go, this has been a roaring success.'
'Zukara initially made a beeline for Cleopatra,
'and in a dramatic act of loyalty, Swalu rushed in to back her up.
'Together, they stood their ground, with Zukara adopting a position
'behind the bush, which shows his respect for newcomer Cleopatra.
'These are all positive signs for a future relationship between
'Zukara and Cleopatra.'
This is exactly what you've been waiting for for five years.
I mean, I'm ecstatic. Bungee jumping's got nothing
in terms of the adrenaline that I'm feeling right now.
Those sounds were just phenomenal.
A week later, and no longer separated by a fence,
Zukara and Cleopatra are spending most of their time together.
Their amazing story has given us new insight into the lengths
a lioness will go to to communicate with and get the male she wants.
Cleopatra's determination paid off big time.
She's waited half a decade, and she's finally got what she wanted.
That first meeting, though, between her and Zukara was just electric.
You could feel it in the air.
And I hope they can go on to start a family of their own.
Back in the UK, Birdland in Gloucestershire is home to
Britain's only breeding programme for the endangered king penguin.
And Lucy Cooke's here to investigate
an unusual story of human communication with animals.
Can a person teach a penguin how to swim?
Alistair, nice to meet you.
Hi. Nice to meet you. Hi, there.
And this... Is Charlotte,
our 14-month-old king penguin. Hello, Charlotte.
Nice to meet you. Hello.
Just tasting me to see if there's anything edible there.
Oh! It's actually quite painful.
'Charlotte had an unusual start in life.'
She was laid as an egg last year by Frank and Lily,
and within 24 hours, Frank had dropped
and broken the egg, so we had to take the egg away
and repair it with a little bit of superglue.
Wow! You can do that? Yeah.
You can repair an egg with superglue?
Yeah, as long as it's not too big a crack.
'If penguin parents drop an egg, they abandon it,
'so Charlotte became head keeper Alistair Keane's responsibility.'
I like to talk to the egg,
because the parents would call to the chick.
Do you talk to it in a human voice, or in a penguin?
I just talk to it like I normally would,
like I'm talking to you now, so,
"Keep going, chick. I'll see you soon," and things like that.
Oh. It sounds really silly, I know.
'When birds hatch from their eggs, they form an immediate bond
'with the first living creature they see.
'It's known as imprinting.
'The first thing Charlotte saw wasn't her mum -
'it was Alistair.
'In the first months of their lives,
'baby penguins receive hundreds of vital lessons from Mum and Dad,
'and Alistair had to take on this role for Charlotte.'
As far as she's concerned, I'm Mum and Dad.
She's got to give me grandchildren, so to speak,
in the next few years.
'By six months, Charlotte was fully grown, with a thick coat of brown,
'downy feathers, perfectly adapted
'to keep her warm as she developed.'
That's her begging for you, isn't it? Yeah.
She's going, "Dad, feed me, feed me." "Give me some more food."
'And like a typical king penguin chick at 12 months,
'Charlotte's coat moulted and she started to transform
'into the stunning adult she is today.'
All right, Charlotte?
So, I think you're getting five stars as a penguin parent,
from what I can see. Yeah, we've got...
So far, so good. Then we hit a snag in the fact that
she just would not go in the pool.
Oh, no! But she's a penguin! I know.
Everyone would think they'd take to it really easily,
but she was having none of it.
She'd watch everyone else go in for a swim. She would not go in.
'Despite Alistair's best efforts,
'Charlotte could not be coaxed into the water.'
What was going on?
'In the wild, it's very important that king penguin chicks avoid water
'while they're still wearing their brown coat of baby feathers.'
'It's warm, but it's not waterproof.
'So if it gets wet in the icy waters of the Antarctic,
'the chicks can drown or die of hypothermia.'
'Only when they get their waterproof adult plumage
'do they pluck up the courage to take the plunge.'
'What surprised Alistair was that, although Charlotte's body
'was fully-equipped to swim, her mind was clearly saying no.'
'Perhaps penguin expert professor Rory Wilson
'can shed light on Charlotte's strange behaviour.'
Rory, are you surprised by Charlotte's fear of water?
A bit surprised, but not hugely. It's a big deal if you're a penguin.
From being a woolly, fluffy thing that lives on land,
and there's this terrible transition period where you have to do it.
It's like bungee jumping.
So I think there's a lot of fear there.
So what do the parents do in terms of encouraging them into the water?
They're brutal. It's tough love, and it's do or die.
The king penguin chicks,
they actually go through the whole winter starving.
They'll get the odd meal from their parents and go down to about 7kg -
really, really thin and miserable.
It's hunger that drives young penguins to overcome their fears
and enter the sea to catch fish.
'But Alistair wasn't prepared to
'take this tough love approach with Charlotte.
'He'd have to find another way to get her to swim.'
First, the thing we tried to do is push her in.
She jumped straight back out, had none of that.
'No matter how hard he tried,
'it became clear that gentle persuasion was not going to work.'
'Alistair had to resort to more dramatic methods.'
We've got a rock in the middle of the pool.
I took her and sat her on the rock,
so she had to get wet to get back out.
'After hours of intense encouragement,
'Charlotte decided to take control of her fear.'
It's the only time I've ever seen a king penguin
with both feet off the ground.
She went in feet-first, almost a cannonball.
'Alistair and Charlotte had cracked it.'
'And once she was in the water,
'Charlotte's instinct to swim kicked in.'
'Four months later on, thanks to Alistair's coaching,
'Charlotte loves nothing more than a dip in the pool.'
She's getting very good now.
She's doing everything we expect her to do.
She's the first one in there most days, the last one out.
You're a proud dad.
Proud dad, yeah.
Very much so.
HUGH: I'm in the forests of north west Austria,
on my way to meet an animal whose fearsome jaws
and spine-tingling howl has landed it with a big, bad reputation.
Here, ground-breaking research into how wolves communicate
and how their pack is structured is questioning the very essence
of what it is to be a wolf.
The Wolf Science Centre is home to 12 wolves.
This is surely the most fabled of animal villains.
And in Europe and North America,
they've been hunted to the brink of extinction.
Centuries of myths and fairy tales have given the wolf a bit of
an image problem, but they've got no time for legends and stories here.
They're dedicated to finding out the scientific truth
about what really makes wolves tick.
To better understand how they communicate and interact,
researchers here work with timber wolves, the largest of all wolves.
In the wild, they're specialised pack hunters
of bison, moose and elk.
All the wolves here are captive-bred -
hand-reared for the first five months of their lives
before being allowed to socialise into small packs.
This helps to make them tolerant of people,
so the team can study their behaviour up close.
Let's go in.
Kurt Kotrschal is in charge here,
and he wants me to meet the wolf pack straight away.
Just think about them as big dogs.
So when they come running down, keep relaxed.
You can pet them from the side. Never from above.
Eye contact is OK? Eye contact... They don't see that as a challenge?
No, I find eye contact is totally OK,
but they should never have the impression that you want
something from them because that makes them suspicious.
OK, can we open the gate?
They're not slow to come and say hi.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
OK, checking us out a little bit.
We've got one over here and...
SNARLING Ooh. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Never mind, they don't mean you.
Nothing to do with me. That's between them, is it? Yeah.
We never interfere in their social affairs. No, of course.
Tussles like this might look traumatic, but in wolf speak,
Tala's simply demanding some respect from youngster Chitto.
Hello. Hello. Come here.
This is Aragorn, our big guy. Aragorn?
He's number two in the pack. Ooh!
Well, that was a definite nibble.
It's pretty unpolite not to let him lick.
Isn't he nice?
That was amazing.
Talk about eye contact...
He wanted to greet you.
My heart rate's up just a little bit, but what an experience.
They are formidable creatures.
'Being able to closely observe the way wolves interact
'with each other is changing our perception of them.'
'It's long been thought that
'the pack is held together by an aggressive alpha male,
'and the principal loyalties and bonds
'of the other pack members are always to him.'
'But when Dr Simon Townsend and the team
'removed different members from the group,
'they began to notice that there was something more complex
'going on with the pack dynamic.'
So today, we'll remove Aragorn.
And then we're going to look at the behaviour of
all the other wolves remaining in the pack.
'In experiments separating one wolf -
'in this case, second in command Aragorn -
'the rest of the pack has a very distinctive reaction.'
'Scientists believe the wolves are trying to call back
'their missing pack member.'
It's quite a noise, isn't it? Really impressive. Very.
'Their howls can be heard more than four miles away,
'and wolves can recognise the individual calls of their pack.'
'But when Simon analysed the howls, he discovered something surprising.
'Different wolves would howl louder and longer
'when certain individuals were removed.'
'It looks as if within the pack, it isn't all about the alpha male.
'The wolves each have their own particular best friends.'
'This has overturned the traditional view of the alpha-dominated,
'top-down wolf hierarchy,
'and opened the door to completely new thinking
'about this iconic species.
'Researcher Dr Friederike Range has devised another experiment
'that looks at a different form of wolf communication -
'their body language.
'Friederike wanted to test the theory that the co-operation
'required for hunting could actually make wolves a more tolerant species
'than their closest relatives, domesticated dogs.'
So this experiment is about challenging the prevailing view
that dogs are more tolerant than wolves? Yes.
So what we do is we put a bowl of food between two animals,
and we see who's sharing the food and who's not.
So if they share, there's tolerance,
but if one of them pushes all the others out the way,
not so tolerant. Exactly. It's quite easy and straightforward.
'First up, it's the dogs.
'Will Meru share his food with junior pack member Hiari?'
So come on, dogs, prove that you can be tolerant!
Come on. You can do it.
Open, open, open.
Someone's not getting a look-in at all. No.
And he knows the consequences of coming close to this one
when he's eating.
Yes. Doesn't even dare to get close to the food.
'Not only does Meru refuse to share, but the hierarchy's so ingrained
'that Hiari knows not even to try to challenge him.'
'And every time we run the test, it's the same story.
'No dinner for the underdog.'
Ah, just getting to lick the plate when there's nothing left.
'Man's best friend - not quite as tolerant as we thought.'
So how will the wolves fare?
We've got Kaspar, the alpha male...
..and junior pack member Shima.
So if the old assumptions about wolves are true,
Kaspar here, the alpha male,
he's going to wolf down all the food
and Shima is not going to have a look-in.
Given what we've just seen with those dogs,
you've got to back Kaspar to scoff the lot, really, haven't you?
What a difference!
That really is surprising.
The way they went at it, you thought,
"There's got to be a fight." But it just doesn't happen.
Yep. And they're happy.
'Unlike the dogs, even though Kaspar is the dominant male,
'he tolerates sharing with Shima.'
It's completely equal.
I mean, everything about it looks equal and balanced. Yeah.
'This remarkable sharing behaviour is further proof
'that the wolf pack is much friendlier
'and less hierarchical than previously thought.'
It's almost like the dog pack's living in a dictatorship
and the wolf pack is in a bit more of a democracy.
Something like that, yes.
And they don't take long to polish it off.
Well, Kaspar, I don't know what to say.
You've really impressed me today.
Excellent table manners, outstanding toleration of your friend there.
A lesson to us all. Yes.
Be tolerant like a wolf. Be tolerant like a wolf.
'The researchers here now suggest that as dogs became domesticated,
'they learned to scavenge for food as individuals,
'making them less inclined to share.
'Whereas wolves have always hunted together to bring down big prey
'and so tolerance, communication and friendship within the pack
'have helped them to succeed and survive.'
What's been fantastic for me, coming here,
is to see how a bit of smart science
can push old prejudices about an animal out of the way
in favour of new insights and understanding.
So who's afraid of the big,
friendly, co-operative, tolerant wolf?
On the other side of the planet, conservationist Giles Clark
is in the eucalyptus forests of Queensland, Australia,
to explore one of the latest hi-tech conservation projects.
He wants to discover if
communications technology designed for the military
can save an iconic species that we're putting under huge pressure.
Deforestation isn't just wiping out animals
in remote places like the Amazon.
It's happening in towns and cities like this one - Brisbane.
'Nine-month-old orphan Rocket
'is one of the recent victims of rapid urban expansion
'here in Queensland,
'where the koala population has plummeted by over 40%.'
You can really feel how sharp those claws are!
Are you going back?
'Koalas like Rocket are coming under threat
'as new roads, and most recently, a new railway line,
'are slicing through the ancient eucalyptus forest they live in.'
Now a team of conservationists is coming to the rescue
of the small koala population that is clinging on.
They have fitted over 200 koalas
with sophisticated satellite trackers.
It's a pioneering new technique
which is having a remarkable impact.
This communications technology means the team,
led by Tosh Tucker,
can pinpoint the location of every koala
and easily find and capture individuals
to monitor the health of this fragile population
in a way they never could before.
We're going to go look for Gonzo today. Gonzo?! Yeah.
He's one of our little boys on this site.
This is our site here.
Wow. And each one of those little blue dots is a koala? That's right.
That is truly incredible. And is it real-time?
There's a slight lag, but every four hours we get a transmission.
'It only takes a few seconds to find Gonzo's name on the map,
'and he looks dangerously close to the road.'
So that'll... So this is him, by the looks of it? That's Gonzo. Yep.
And this big highway is what we can hear over the back? Yeah.
Once we get an idea where he is,
I'll put his frequency in and we can pinpoint exactly where he is.
It makes it a lot easier to find him.
'The tracker picks up Gonzo's frequency almost immediately.'
'And we're off on his trail.'
Sounds like he's just in this patch here.
Start looking up? Yep.
Should just be right here somewhere, mate.
Right. So he's in there somewhere. There he is, mate.
Just look in that vine, near the acacia.
He's just sitting... Oh, yeah, I've got him. ..in that fork there.
Let's do it.
'With Gonzo located, Tosh calls in his team.'
'The plan is to get Gonzo down to change his radio collar
'and give him a thorough health check.'
Right, just got to get him down to that lateral.
'In close-knit koala communities,
'disease can quickly spread and wipe out entire groups.'
Nice and easy.
'So it's vital the team can make sure every koala
'is in the best possible health if this population is to survive.'
Grab him, man.
All right, Giles. Come in there, mate.
Just put him under the bottom there.
Hello, little fella.
'A handful of fresh leaves, and Gonzo's ready for his check-up,
'which each koala gets twice a year.'
He's loving it. Yeah, it'll calm him right down.
He's happy as Larry.
'Vet Dr John Hanger has been treating koalas for over 20 years.'
'Back at his surgery, Gonzo is sedated.'
Just give him a once-over, hey?
'First, John checks Gonzo's heart.'
'Next he checks Gonzo's sharp teeth are all present and correct,
'and then onto his all-important tracker collar.'
Just make sure there's plenty of growing space in there
because the youngsters are growing rapidly,
so we need to make sure this doesn't get too tight.
'He then takes a look his feet.' A great big blister.
That's not normal. No, OK. We should get a photo of that.
'Gonzo's blistered foot is nothing serious, but even so,
'John will keep a record of it.
'Finally, John uses an ultrasound to scan Gonzo's kidneys, stomach
'and bowel to check he's processing all that eucalyptus properly.'
So there's the bladder there - the black structure there.
You can see the fermenting part to the bowel.
'Eucalyptus is poisonous to many animals
'and impossible for them to digest,
'but koalas have a special bacteria in their stomachs
'that can break it down.
'This movement is a sign that all is well with Gonzo.'
You can really see that movement.
They are just leaf-processing machines, really.
They certainly are.
He's really starting to wake up.
I think we should think about getting him back into that forest.
'Gonzo has been given a clean bill of health,
'but John isn't going to return him just to any old tree.
'Until around two years of age,
'koalas like Gonzo prefer to be close to their mums,
'and using the satellite technology again,
'John can track down Gonzo's mum.'
We'll just scan down here to find her name.
These are all the koalas with those special collars on.
'Her name is Jadore, and with a click of his mouse,
'he has found her.'
OK, so she's hanging around here at the moment.
This tells us that the last upload from her collar was five hours ago.
So with a bit of luck, she'll still be at that point,
or if she's not there, hopefully she'll be fairly close.
But we'll be tracking her with the conventional telemetry gear
as well to make sure. To really home in on the spot. That's right.
This technology, it's incredible,
the access that it's given you, and the information.
Yes. It's allowing us to monitor the koalas far more intensively
than we could have otherwise and that means we can intervene
much more quickly if they get into trouble.
'Gonzo has just recovered from his anaesthetic
'and we're off to track down his mum and set him free.'
Sort of getting the strongest signal from... Around this area?
That sort of area. Is that her?
A koala in a tree? Well done, Giles!
I think that is her. There she is. Right up here. Yep.
'We spot Gonzo's mum and release him in a nearby tree.'
Gonzo steps out tentatively at first
but he is soon back in the swing of things.
Off he goes! He's not hanging around.
'So far, with the help of this communication technology,
'the team have helped protect over 400 koalas.'
'The hope is this technology could one day
'be rolled out across Australia
'to help some of the 100,000 koalas who live in the wild.'
'This extraordinary project shows that as we continue to
'encroach on the environment, it is possible to reduce
'the negative impact we can have on wildlife.'
In British Columbia on the West Coast of Canada, this footage
caught on camera phone shows a family of killer whales or orcas.
They're one of the ocean's smartest animals,
and this group is behaving in a truly bizarre way.
Oh, my God! This is crazy.
Could these highly unusual orca antics give us new insights
into the sophisticated ways that these amazing marine animals
socialise and communicate?
This family group has come right into the shoreline
and they appear to be rubbing their bellies on the pebbles.
We asked marine biologist Jackie Hildering
what she thinks is going on.
The first time I ever witnessed the behaviour
was actually only hearing it and not seeing it.
I had an underwater microphone so I could hear the whales
communicating back and forth.
But also I could hear the rocks going shk-shk-shk over one another
as you have these long skids across the smooth rocks.
Jackie is convinced the orcas are deliberately and repeatedly
rubbing their bodies along the pebbles.
They'll get down low and scratch every part of their bodies,
skidding across smooth rocks.
At first, scientists thought
this was an extreme orca exfoliation system -
that the killer whales were trying to remove parasites from their skin.
But if this was a purely practical habit,
you'd expect it would be something
all the orcas in these waters would do.
Whereas in fact, researchers know that it's very few groups
who have been observed behaving in this way.
Why on earth would it be that one population
would be rubbing off parasites - have parasites! -
when the others wouldn't?
Oh, my God.
The breakthrough came from listening to the clicks and squeaks
from the orcas that accompanied this belly-rubbing behaviour.
The sheer intensity of their communication
suggested a surprising interpretation.
The sounds being made, it is quite something.
It's the same sort of calls that they make when family groups
meet up with one another, so this had to be social behaviour.
And it probably feels darn good.
My belief is it's a whale massage.
It seems that taking time out for a feel-good pebble massage
has become a social tradition for this family,
for the sheer fun of it.
And there's another surprise, too.
We've known for a while that orcas communicate vital survival lessons
like hunting skills to the next generation.
But now we have evidence that just like us,
they can also communicate family traditions down the generations.
It's absolutely the case that this behaviour is passed on
from generation to generation.
One of the young killer whales in the footage
now has her own calves and is teaching them to beach rub.
Oh, my God!
In much warmer waters surrounding the islands of the Bahamas,
Lucy Cooke is heading to a unique research site
that's giving us new insights into how sharks interact with each other.
Mention the word shark,
and most people think of lone, mindless, mechanistic killers.
But I've come to investigate brand-new research
that claims to have discovered that sharks could be social,
make friendships, and even have personalities.
Up to now, most shark research has concentrated on
the behaviour of individuals prowling the ocean's depths.
You can just see the little clearing there with that sand tongue.
It's really hidden away.
'But Dr Tristan Guttridge from the Bimini Shark Lab
'is taking me to a special lagoon where it's possible to see
'how sharks behave together.'
'I've been assured that these mangrove roots
'make the alleyway so narrow that only small sharks can fit through.'
The tide is going this way, and the sharks travel with it.
It's like a secret shark alley.
So, this is it! Beautiful, isn't it? Yeah!
You'd never know it was here, would you?
'Research has recently discovered that young sharks
'were using this lagoon as a kind of nursery -
'a safe haven to rest and feed in as they grew up.'
'And it's not long before I see my very first shark.'
There we go. A nice, beautiful one coming.
Really healthy-looking sharks in here as well.
'The sharks here are juvenile lemon sharks.'
'Adults can grow to up to three metres long,
'and have powerful jaws.'
I've got to ask.
Do they bite? Am I in any...?
We have food with us, so you'll see a massive switch in behaviour.
At the moment they're just patrolling around,
they're very calm.
They look kind of cautious, actually.
To be honest, they look more nervous of me than I am of them.
'It was long assumed that sharks were generally loners
'and would only communicate with others to fight over food...
'or mate, but their behaviour here is suggesting that's not the case.'
What we found over the years is that they actually follow each other.
They socialise in this area.
So they're not just randomly swimming around solitary,
they are actually following each other in groups
and they switch groups and change groups over time,
and they seem to have actual kind of friends, really,
that they prefer to associate with. Wow.
'And when the team put food into the water
'to observe what happened when sharks fed,
'there were further surprising insights into their behaviour.'
What you'll see is that some will come in sooner than others.
I don't think it's purely because one is hungrier than another one,
it's actually one of them will take a greater risk than the other one.
Some being bolder than others, too.
So you can do that, and then wiggle it.
That's it. Here's one coming in now. They're coming in!
That's it. And let them go.
This is quite a big one, isn't it?
'Pretty soon, I'm surrounded by a dozen sharks.'
There's a lot of them around me now.
Now they're really getting excited. There you go.
'They do all seem to behave in different ways towards the food.'
'Some really play the tough guy.'
Oi! Just calm down.
'Others are a little more shy.' You've got him.
There you go.
See him shake his head?
You can see some of them are less inquisitive than others,
some of them come steaming in,
and I think it's the same with lots of animals,
that they have these different personalities.
'Tristan has been putting his observation
'that sharks might have different personalities to the test.
'We've called in a line-up of volunteers.
'Personality used to be seen as a highly developed trait
'only found in dogs and primates.'
OK, if you want to hop over here... OK. I don't want to...
'So how will our sharks fare?'
'To start, we need to transfer our first suspect into the test pen.'
In you go! In she goes!
So this, this is a shark personality test.
And the way that it works is
we're going to lower a strange object into the pen
and then observe how different sharks react to that object.
'If they really do have personalities,
'each shark should behave differently when they see
'this strange stripy pole descend into their space.'
Let the test begin.
'Our first volunteer
'almost immediately goes to investigate the new object.'
Checking it out... I thought that was boldness!
Certainly wasn't scared of it.
I thought it went in, it came in and went and checked it out.
Before we lowered that, it was circling the edge.
And now it's completely changed its behaviour
and it's just doing pass-bys, isn't it?
It's totally checking it out.
It's a bold shark. It's a bold shark.
'It's time to test our next shark.
'Will it behave differently, showing it has a different personality?'
I reckon this one's going to be timid.
I'm going bold. You're going bold on this one? Yeah.
I'm going bold.
'My shark senses were right.
'Our second candidate seems determined
'to avoid the stripy pole altogether.'
It's hugging the edge.
Yeah, nowhere near as much interest.
You can see the difference between the two.
That's the cool thing to pick out.
'Tristan and his team
'have repeatedly tested over 300 lemon sharks.'
'Each one consistently showed its own unique response to the object.'
'And this suggests for the first time
'that sharks really do have personalities.'
So this isn't just a freak,
that it's bold today but it could be timid tomorrow?
You believe that these are fixed personality types?
Absolutely. If we test this shark next week,
it should do the same behaviour, or very similar. Cool.
'We're only just beginning to understand the complexities
'of shark communication and interaction,
'but the team believe that having different personality types
'actually helps sharks thrive as a species.
'They can exploit all the food sources available to them,
'with some who pick off the easy targets,
'and high rollers who take on the big prey.'
Sharks may all look the same but behind those fixed grins,
there's actually a whole range of personalities.
It seems that success if you're a shark
isn't all about physical perfection.
Personality also plays a really important role.
So far we've found out just how subtle and sophisticated
communication between animals can be.
And now we're going to meet one more clever creature
who uses its remarkable powers of communication
to get exactly what it wants from us.
In the quiet town of Lecanto in Florida,
Alberta and Chuck Holloway have been receiving strange deliveries.
We've got a ballpoint pen.
This is a bone, a screw.
We don't know what this is.
We've got a piece of bark, coins,
and we have this diamond chip bracelet.
Chuck had been putting bird food out on their driveway
for almost a year
when he noticed an unfamiliar object among the empty peanut shells.
I came out to put the feed out
and approximately right along in here
was the toy car. And...
how'd it get here?!
Strange, that's all I can say.
Determined to get to the bottom of the mystery,
Chuck set up motion-triggered cameras to monitor the scene.
And they soon revealed who was leaving the gifts.
CROW CAWS It was the local crows.
Scientists know that crows are smart birds, reckoned in some tests
to show the problem-solving abilities of a seven-year-old child.
When the bird food ran out,
Chuck and Alberta's crows would often drop off a gift.
So far, they've left 57 different items.
Studies have shown that crows can recognise and remember
individual human faces, and Chuck believes that
he might even have received gifts fetched specially for him.
This piece is a piece of PVC fitting.
I was working on the sprinklers in the side yard,
so I had PVC stuff out there, and all of a sudden it shows up.
You know, like... In the feeding tray. Like they were watching!
Like this was, "He's doing that, so maybe he'd like this."
Thanks to the internet,
we know this intriguing crow behaviour isn't a one-off.
People from all around the world
have been reporting the same phenomenon.
This is my personal favourite.
Crow expert Doctor John Withey helps to explain what's going on.
And this is when he dropped this thing. OK.
Studies have shown that crows also give each other
gifts of food and shiny objects.
Sometimes it's young crows sharing food with
a more dominant individual.
Sometimes it's between male and females that are paired.
But is this more than just a way of saying thank you?
From a young age, crows learn that sharing can be rewarding.
Their expectation is, I share food now
and I might receive something from you in the future.
Now it seems that crows could actually be capable of
entering a kind of trading relationship with humans.
We get the gift when the food is empty.
I'm looking at it that they're bartering.
Like, "I'll give you this if you give us some more food."
It sounds like this association of,
"If we bring something, then the food comes back."
They're certainly capable of that kind of learning.
Whether this is a case of crows seeking friendships with humans
or that these super smart birds have learned how to manipulate us
into giving them what they want, there's certainly no doubt
that science is revealing extraordinary powers of persuasion
on the part of one of the world's brightest birds.
'Next time, we reveal new insights
'into some of the most amazing anatomies in the animal kingdom.
'Giles is in Australia with a kangaroo
'that's happier up a tree than hopping through the outback.'
'Lucy's in Costa Rica to find out if the sloth's famed laziness
'could be the key to its success.
'Patrick's in South Africa where there's quite a bit going on
'between the ears of the bat-eared fox.'
Here he comes!
'And I'm in the French Alps
to see what it takes to train an eagle to fly at 1,500 metres.'
THEME PLAYS: The Apprentice