In the mountains of central Honshu, Japan's main island, the temperatures can drop to 20 degrees centigrade below zero and survival has met the development of some very unusual habits in at least one mountain community.
GV & SV Snow covered hills on Honshu Island.
SV & PAN Person walking across bridge.
SV Two people one with whistle.
GV ZOOM Monkey coming down from hill for food.
GV Man looking through binoculars.
GV Monkeys run down hillside. (2 SHOTS)
SV Man throwing food PAN TO food on ground.
SV Mother and babies eating food. (2 SHOTS)
GV PAN Snow covered mountain and hot springs.
GV Monkeys swimming in hot springs. (4 SHOTS)
SV Monkey at waters edge.
SV Monkeys in water and at waters edge. (2 SHOTS)
GV Mother an baby at waters edge.
SV Mother and baby with third monkey walking into picture and being groomed.
SV Monkey in water.
SCU Monkeys grooming each other.
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Background: In the mountains of central Honshu, Japan's main island, the temperatures can drop to 20 degrees centigrade below zero and survival has met the development of some very unusual habits in at least one mountain community. Not a community of human beings but of Japanese Macaque Monkeys.
SYNOPSIS: This area of mountainous Nagano Prefecture is call Hell's Valley. The slopes are steep and treacherous. The villages have few visitors but there is one group that will arrive with the blowing of a whistle.
This visitors are infact from a nearby colony of about 90 Macaque Monkeys and the whistle means food. For the past ten years the people of the area have been feeding them three time a day.
The valley is covered with snow for much of the year and if it wasn't for the regular helpings of rice and apples the monkeys would find it difficult to survive. They seem to have little problem picking the grains of rice out of the snow. But it hasn't only been the food handouts that has kept the monkeys living happily in sub-zero temperatures.
A quirk of nature in these inhospitable mountains has [provided the monkeys with a way of escaping from the cold whenever they feel they have shivered long enough. The temperature in this pool is at a constant 40 degrees centigrade. The local people say that originally the monkeys would go to the pool on winter days to sit on the delightfully warm stones. One day a monkey, intrigued by the bubbles made by the spring, slapped at the water and realised that it had made a major and realised that it had made a major discovery.
Now as many as twenty of the more game monkeys can sometimes be seen up to their necks in warm water.
The area around the spring has been declared a nature reserve and the number of tourists allowed to watch the monkeys has been restricted.
Japanese wildlife authorities are concerned that a large influx of tourists would domesticate the monkeys too much.