Robot animals catch the inner lives of the wild.


A CHIMP adopting a pet kitten and a family of monkeys mourning the death of a robot baby are some of the scenes captured in a BBC wildlife series filmed by remote-controlled animals.

Spy In The Wild has been shot using replica animals with cameras hidden inside.

In the first episode a male chimpanzee is seen cuddling and stroking the stray kitten and protecting it from predators.

Scientists and show producers were amazed when a group of langur monkeys in India mistook a robot baby for one of their family.

And when the cyber monkey was accidentally dropped from a height, they were plunged into grief and began hugging each other for comfort Executive producer John Downer explained: “It was a voyage of discovery. We were never quite certain what we were going to discover.

“You never know you’re going to be getting a chimp who takes a kitten as a pet. That is extraordinary.

"It was so unexpected and had never been filmed before.”

Series producer Matthew Gordon scored another first with footage of grieving monkeys.

The crew set out to observe the langur mothers’ habit of sharing baby-sitting but struck TV gold when their spy creature was seemingly “killed” by a careless member of the troop.

Matthew said: “We felt this calm and silence coming over them. All the noise they were making at the beginning just went completely silent and then they hugged each other.”

The spy creatures are so sophisticated they can mimic the animals’ movement and sounds.

Robotic versions of crocodiles, orangutans, monkeys, dogs, birds and tortoises are among the creatures specially built for the series.

Spy In The Wild, Thursday, BBC One, 8pm

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