UK pubcaster BBC is preparing a new natural history series on a baby chimpanzee rescue center through its BBC Studios Natural History Unit.
Baby Chimp Rescue follows life for baby chimpanzees living in a home run by wildlife vet Jimmy Desmond and his wife Jenny Desmond.
The Desmonds have already saved 21 chimps from the illegal pet trade in West Africa. Despite financial difficulty and an increasingly overcrowded home, they are working to move the chimps to a more natural habitat: a 100-acre forest surrounded by mangroves.
Evolutionary biologist and conservationist Ben Garrod will help the Desmonds over a year to teach the chimps vital life lessons such as climbing, foraging for food and recognizing danger — skills many of them never learned because their mothers were taken or killed too early to teach them in the wild.
Baby Chimp Rescue is made by BBC Studios Natural History Unit for BBC2. It was commissioned by BBC2 controller Patrick Holland. The commissioning editor is Emeka Onono. Jo Shinner serves as executive producer for the BBC Studios Natural History Unit.
“These orphan chimps are all suffering PTSD. The care and love lavished on them by the Desmonds is an extraordinary thing. This story of our times has captivating and irresistible characters, both chimp and human, set against a wider picture of wildlife crisis,” said Shinner in a statement.
“We are in a global crisis of climate change and biodiversity loss, and with everything seeming like an ecological uphill struggle, the story of the Desmonds battling to save our closest living relatives is a much needed good-news story. If we can save Max, Bui and their relatives, then it gives us hope for the future of countless other species, including ourselves,” added Garrod.