Once upon a time, this was 'darkest Africa', an endless tangle of jungle littered with venomous snakes, marauding spiders, deadly insects and cannibalistic natives. To the Victorians, this was hell on earth, the original 'white man's grave.' This forbidding reputation has stayed with the Congo for a century, and still persists. Perhaps this is why the entire region has been neglected for so long by film-makers and naturalists. There is no doubt that parts of the Congo are inhospitable and virtually inaccessible, where it can truthfully be said that no human has stepped before. And it is precisely because we have interfered so little that there are new creatures waiting to be discovered, unfamiliar natural events to be witnessed and fresh insights into animal behavior to be observed.
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Footprints in the Forest
Episode # 103
Congo has the largest concentration of primates in the world, and the forests are home to all three closest living relatives of humans: chimps, bonobos (or pygmy chimps) and gorillas. The last of the Congo trilogy reveals an astonishing array of fresh insights which look set to re-write the history of the Congo - and possibly even the history of human origins. Looking at human's closest relatives, and in particular that most secretive of forest primates, the lowland gorilla.
Friday, April 19, 2013 Length : 48 min MPT2
Spritis of the Forest
Episode # 102
The BaAka pygmies of the Congo have lived in the area for many thousands of years and are the supreme naturalists and hunters of the rainforest. They have a name, and a use, for every species of plant and animal in the forest. They talk of a huge creature they call Mokele Mbembe which lives in the swampy forests of the Ndoki, one of Africa's last great wildernesses. They say it is large and aggressive, with a single huge horn, and it sleeps on a bed made of elephants' tusks. It sounds like a myth, but with all their knowledge, why would they invent a mythical beast?
Friday, April 12, 2013 Length : 49 min MPT2
The River That Swallows All Rivers
Episode # 101
The very name Congo conjures up visions of horror and mystery - the white man's grave, the heart of darkness. This is a land the 20th Century forgot, shunned for its awful secrets, a shameful history of ivory and slavery, brutal wars, famines and terrifying diseases in days gone by.