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Female orang-utan (Pongo pygmaeus).

Parkour and orang-utans, risks from solar storms

3 January 2012

This week in the Planet Earth Podcast: Sue Nelson goes to Birmingham to find out how the James Bond film Casino Royale and orang-utan conservation are linked; later she meets a scientist from the British Geological Survey to learn which parts of the UK power grid are most at risk during solar storms.

Cast your mind back to the awe-inspiring opening scenes of the James Bond film Casino Royale where Daniel Craig chases a man across rooftops, through buildings, in and out of windows and from the top of a giant crane. It's a stunning display of urban athleticism called Parkour, also known as free running.

The way these athletes move around their environment isn't dissimilar to the way orang-utans move around the rainforest canopy. This hasn't escaped the attention of orang-utan researcher Susannah Thorpe from the University of Birmingham, who's drawing on their movements to understand more about how orang-utans get around the forest.

Sue goes to Birmingham to meet Susannah and her colleagues to find out how this unusual research could help contribute towards orang-utan conservation.


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The Planet Earth podcast - 'Parkour and orang-utans, risks from solar storms'.

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Later Sue talks to Ciaran Beggan from the British Geological Survey to find out how geological knowledge is crucial for understanding how solar storms could affect the UK's power grid.

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