National Geographic : 1992 Mar
On Television Unique Chimp Behavior Documented on Film «' ecause it was so wet, because Sit was so dark, and because I was so physically exhausted all the time," cinematographer Michael W. Richards wondered if he'd have any success filming chim panzees in the rain forest of Africa's C6te d'Ivoire. During six months of 12-hour days Richards followed literally in the footsteps of zoologists Chris tophe Boesch and his wife, Hedwige Boesch-Achermann, who spent five years observing before the chimps would tolerate their close approach. All the patience and sweat pro duced remarkable footage of chim panzee behavior that no one could have imagined a few years ago. These chimps not only gather stones to use as nutcrackers, they also appear to remember where they left the stones on previous excur sions, and mothers teach fine points of nut cracking to their young. The chimps hunt in groups. In the film they dart like flying shadows through the dense foliage, fanning out to trap colobus monkeys. One chimp named Ulysse, Richards recalls, "was the main catcher. Oth ers were drivers or ambushers." With their prey in sight, chimpan zees attack like swift commandos. An isolated monkey has no chance; it is caught, killed, dismembered, and shared by the hunter-chimps and the larger group. Such behavior tied to food gather ing and sharing leads the Boesches to question whether the distant fore bears of humans lived, as is often assumed, on open savannas. Per haps deep forests were a more stim ulating and likely environment. That idea is provocative; this rare film is the same. "SECRET WORLD OF THE CHIMPAN ZEE," EXPLORER, MARCH 15, CABLE NETWORK TBS, 9 P.M. ET A Curiosity of "Cats" Highlights Video Club Season What do cats and VCRs have in common? Both are popular in mil ry lions of U. S. homes-and both resist owners' attempts to pro Sgram them. And they come happily together in the new National Geographic Video Club series for 1992. "Cats: Caressing the Tiger," among the Society's most popular Specials shown on PBS, is just one of the hour-long videos available to club members. From tabbies purring by the fire to tigers flowing toward the kill, felines share the grace and instincts that drive a matchless predator. The essential character of cats and their interaction with humans are explored in this intriguing home vid eo. (No programming is required, and it won't scratch the furniture.) FOR INFORMATION ON NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC VIDEO CLUB CALL I-800-447-0647 PAULAN. KESSLER NATIONALGEOGRAPHICEXPLORERAIRS ON CABLENETWORKTBS, SUNDAYS9-11 P.M . ET. NATIONALGEOGRAPHICSPECIALSAIR ON PBS; CHECKLOCALLISTINGS.