Friday, 4 February 2011

Tarantula Kebab? Boiled Monkey? - Jungles: people of the Trees - Human Planet

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Human Planet, Jungles: People of the Trees,
Thurs Feb 3rd, BBC one, 8pm

"Tropical rainforests teem with more species than anywhere else on the planet, but for us humans they can be very hostile environments. The complex nature of these unforgiving forests takes a lifetime to master and people can only survive here through embracing a life as part of the forest system."

Last night I watched the Human Planet episode 'Jungles: People of the Trees' and celebrated its broadcast with some of the talented people who produced it - Tom Hugh-Jones, I take my hat of to you!

It may be considered by some to be controversial, but Human Planet is certainly one of the most powerful anthropological series I've seen in recent years. Last nights episode was no exception - a film of wonder and intrigue which left me ensconed in a world of ancient customs, strange food and the human struggle for survival. My skin tingled as I watched young Piaroa children in Venezuela hunt and then roast tarantulas on an open fire (clip below), and tribesmen scoff barely boiled monkey like a scene from Indiana Jones. I half expected Ant and Dec to pop out from behind a bush to make a crass remark, but then this is 'top telly' with high production values and emotional, captivating stories to be told. None more so than the nail-biting tale of Tete, an African Bayaka tribesman, who negotiates 50ft high branches and swarms of angry bees, whilst on a tightrope - just to grab some honey.

Children hunt world's largest venomous spider for dinner

Uncontacted Community

I have to confess that by the end of the film I felt a little like a 19th century explorer having discovered indigenous peoples for the first time. I was mesmerised by the footage of the uncontacted tribe (see the clip below) the first time one has ever been filmed (well, without making them contacted in the process.) It was shot from 1km away using a stabilised zoom lens. Although this may be controversial, as Jose Carlos Meirelle believes, the fight to protect these uncontacted communities, and their way of life, depends on proving and publicising their existence. He works for FUNAI, a government agency that protects Brazil's indigenous people against the threat posed by illegal logging and mining.

You can read more about the worlds isolated and uncontacted communities, and watch reports and video footage at the Survival website. 

Watch more clips on the BBC Human Planet explorer

I look forward to the rest of the series, and contemplating the issues it raises,
- Paul


  1. I agree with this. Incredible film. Wow!!!!

  2. Thanks tom yes crop is serious and gives intention of pic ,I ve not read untold but the chemist series looks like a area to try and signaling
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