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University of Lincoln research project takes centre stage in BBC's hit documentary Africa

By RButcher__LE  |  Posted: February 08, 2013

A Barbary macaque, taking by University of Lincoln researchers at the Barbary Macaque Project site in northern Morocco

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A research project led by University of Lincoln academics took centre stage in Sir David Attenborough's new BBC spectacular Africa. 

A documentary film crew visited the field site of the Barbary Macaque Project in the Atlas Mountains of northern Morocco as part of the programme. 

The footage they took, showing Barbary macaques sheltering in a snowstorm, formed the basis of the opening scene of the fifth episode of the series, which is currently being screened on BBC One. 

The episode, which can be watched again on BBC iPlayer, focuses on the diversity of species living in and around the Sahara desert, in north Africa. 

Barbary macaques are found in the wild in only a few wooded areas of the Atlas Mountains, where for long periods of the year, the landscape is blanketed in snow. 

The field site, which is home to the Barbary Macaques Project, was established by Dr Bonaventura Majolo, from the university's school of psychology, in 2008. 

Based near the Moroccan city of Azrou, it provides a platform for an international team of researchers to study the ecology and behaviour of the primates in their native habitat. 

Dr Majolo said: "Barbary macaques are fascinating creatures and an incredibly important species for academics from across a range of disciplines. 

"As the last primate species left in Africa, they give us a window into the evolution of all primates, and with it, a better understanding of human evolution. 

"Sadly, their numbers have plunged dramatically during the last 30 years and they are classed as an IUCN Red List Threatened Species. 

"The work of the Barbary Macaque Project is helping to improve understanding of the ecological threats these animals face and raise awareness of their significance. 

"We were only too pleased to welcome the BBC film makers to our field site and it's wonderful that the footage they captured featured so prominently in the series."

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