Nature: Primates (three-part miniseries)

Air date: 11/04/2020

Nature Gets Up to Monkey Business With Primatesa New Miniseries Premiering 
Wednesdays, November 4-18 at 8 p.m. on PBS  

Visit 17 countries to uncover the mysteries of countless species, including gorillasorangutanslemursmacaques and more  

Welcome to the planet of the apes. Primates are called the highest order of animal on the planet. With their big brains, they are smart and adaptable; they use tools, self-medicate, hunt and swim. They are social and political, form hierarchies and friendships and can be very mischievous. Get to know the many species of primates, from the familiar chimpanzee and gorilla, to the more obscure species like the owl monkey, the tamarin, the barbary macaque and many more in the three-part miniseries Nature: Primates, premiering nationwide Wednesdays, November 4-18 at 8 p.m. on PBS (check local listings) and the PBS Video app.  

Filmed across the globe over two years on 28 filming expeditions, from snow-capped mountains to the hottest deserts, Nature: Primates combines family drama with the latest science. Uncover primates’ complex relationship dynamics, how they learn to hunt and feed, their courtship rituals and more. Discover the unexpected reason a silverback father chooses not to engage in gorilla warfare, watch macaques go bananas in pursuit of food in populated areasand learn why “King of the Swingers” is a gibbon title. 

Advances in technology allowed the team behind Nature: Primates to film several extremely rare or never-before-seen moments, including one of the first images of the bald uakari and the recently discovered Tapanuli orangutan. In Equatorial Guinea, one team spent more than two months camped on a remote beach to capture the most intimate images ever seen of a drill, one of the world’s least understood primates. In Sri Lanka, another crew captured the very first low-light color images of the elusive gray slender loris at night in the wild. In Malaysia, experience the lar gibbons’ canopy world from their perspective  a filmmaking first. 

Episode 1, “Secrets of Survival,” premieres Wednesday, November at 8 p.m. on PBS (check local listings) and the PBS Video app.
Monkey see, monkey do. From baboons facing down leopards, to lemurs exploiting a jungle pharmacy or rhesus macaques charming their way to an easy life, discover the survival strategies used by primates, often in the most unexpected places. Bearded capuchinscounted among the smartest animals in the worldteach their young how to use tools in Brazil’s badlands. A silverback gorilla gives in to his softer side to raise his boisterous offspring in the Congo basin. Bush babies conduct an after-hours raid of a city zoo to find food in the South African winter.  

Episode 2, “Family Matters,” premieres Wednesday, November 11 at 8 p.m. on PBS (check local listings), and the PBS Video app.
Family is everything for primates. They have the most complex social lives of any animal group on the planet. Meet devoted monkeys’ uncles, playmate apes and tender troops. Dusky leaf monkeys compete to babysit a bright orange infant and rally to defend him from a python. Gibbons learn treetop acrobatics with their playmates. In Sri Lanka, a single gray slender loris mother takes care of her twins the most intimate video ever captured of the species. In the Amazon, an elder female spider monkey leads her troop to a unique food resource. See the first moving images of a Tapanuli orangutan mother and her infant, discovered to be new species in 2017. 

Episode 3, “Protecting Primates,” premieres Wednesday, November 18 at 8 p.m. on PBS (check local listings), and the PBS Video app.
More than half of the world’s primates are under threat. Meet the scientists making ground-breaking discoveries to safeguard their future. In Malaysia, conservationists are building bridges to help dusky langurs cross busy roads. Ithe Democratic Republic of Congo, rangers face danger while trying to protect mountain gorillas. Conservationists in Borneo help prepare orangutan orphans for life in the wild. Two ecologists team up to locate some of Madagascar’s most elusive lemurs, and one renowned primatologist becomes the first person to see every genus of primate that exists.


Now in its 39th season on PBS, Nature brings the wonders of natural history to millions of American viewers. The series has won more than 700 honors from the television industry, the international wildlife film communities and environmental organizations, including 19 Emmys and three Peabody Awards. The series is available for streaming simultaneously on all station-branded PBS platforms, including and the PBS Video app, which is available on iOS, Android, Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and Chromecast. PBS station members can view episodes via Passport (contact your local PBS station for details). 

Nature is a production of THIRTEEN PRODUCTIONS LLC for WNET and PBS. Fred Kaufman is Executive Producer; Bill Murphy is Series Producer; Janet Hess is Series Editor; and Danielle Steinberg is Digital Content & Strategy LeadPrimates is a BBC Studios production for PBS and BBC with THIRTEEN PRODUCTIONS LLC. Produced and directed by Nikki Waldron, Nick Easton and Victoria Buckley. Gavin Boyland is Series Producer and Michael Gunton is Executive Producer for BBC Studios. Nyambi Nyambi is narrator. 

Support for Nature is made possible in part by The Arnhold Family in memory of Henry and Clarisse Arnhold, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, The Fairweather Foundation, the Kate W. Cassidy Foundation, Kathy Chiao and Ken Hao, the Lillian Goldman Charitable Trust, Charles Rosenblum, the Filomen M. D’Agostino Foundation, Rosalind P. Walter, Sandra Atlas Bass, The Hite Foundation, Doris R. and Robert J. Thomas, Bradley L. Goldberg Family Foundation, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and by public television viewers.  

Twitter @PBSNature


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Being a ranger in the Virunga National Park (Democratic Republic of the Congo) is one of the most dangerous jobs in conservation. More than 180 dedicated rangers have been killed protecting both the Mountain gorillas here and the park itself. Credit: Gavin Boyland, ©BBC

In Borneo, orphaned baby orangutans need to be rehabilitated. Local caregivers are trained to climb trees, so that they can help the orangutans to learn the correct natural behavior up in the treetops. Credit: Victoria Buckley, ©BBC

Dr. Signe Preuschoft (far right) and her team of local caregivers in Borneo are passionate about rehabilitating orphaned baby orangutans. Credit: Victoria Buckley, ©BBC

Male Barbary macaques (Macaca sylvanus) form close, caring relationships with youngsters. Together they form a huddle to keep warm through the night. Credit: ©BBC

A family of Owl monkeys, also known as Azara's night monkeys (Aotus azarae). They live in small, tightly bonded, nuclear families. Credit: ©BBC

Two juvenile Bearded capuchins (Sapajus libidinosus) watch closely as an adult prepares a cashew nut to eat. It takes years for these monkeys to learn the skills they need to survive. Credit: ©BBC

Mountain Gorilla (Gorilla beringei beringei), Democratic Republic of the Congo. Gorillas are highly social, living in groups of around 10 individuals on average. The silverback is a powerful guardian who rules over his family group. The silverback is a powerful guardian who rules over his family group, but new research shows he is also gentle and playful with his offspring which attracts the females.Credit: Gavin Boyland, ©BBC

A female Blue-eyed black lemur (Eulemur flavifrons) and her 3-week-old daughter. Even though they are called Blue-eyed black lemurs, the females of this species are not black but brown. This is one of the first times this species has been filmed in the wild in Madagascar. Credit: ©BBC

Spider monkeys (Ateles geoffroyi) spend their lives high up in the canopy of rainforests in South America. They have the perfect adaptation for tree-top life: a muscular tail which acts as an extra limb. Credit: Paul Williams, ©BBC

Sumatran orangutan (Pongo abelii) infants such as this one are highly dependent on their mothers, having the longest childhood of any wild primate. Credit: Paul Williams, ©BBC.

Bearded capuchin (Sapajus libidinosus), Brazil. Bearded capuchins use the largest variety of tools of any monkey. They are so intelligent that they will investigate almost anything – even a Rubix cube! Credit: Camila Coelho, ©BBC

Dr. Russell Mittermeier, a world-renowned primate conservationist and scientific consultant on Nature: Primates. For the 50 years he has been studying primates, he has been on a mission to spot all 79 genera of primates, which has been accomplished. Credit: Stuart Dunn, ©BBC

When the Tapanuli orangutan (Pongo tapanuliensis) was named as a new species in 2017, it became both the newest and the most endangered great ape on Earth. This orangutan infant is one of only 800 thought to exist. Credit: Lindsay McCrae, ©BBC

A Long-tailed macaque (Macaca fascicularis) on Koram Island, Thailand, using a stone hammer to break open and eat oyster. Dr. Amanda Tan has observed that these macaques are the first reported tool-using animals, other than humans, to overexploit a natural resource by overharvesting shellfish on this island. Credit: Stuart Dunn, ©BBC