Wildlife series. Gertie the giraffe is expecting her first calf, and Johny and Rani learn how to train a vulture and sex a millipede.
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On ROAR today, Gertrude the giraffe is due to give birth,
but the keepers know she doesn't like babies.
In fact, she attacks them, so how will she cope with her own calf?
Hello, and welcome to ROAR.
-And I'm Johny, and I'll tell you what,
I think we've got a big 'un at the end of this line!
Well, stop chatting and pull it in! Woah, woah, woah, woah!
What is it? What is it?
Oh. It's just another action-packed episode of ROAR!
Shall I put it with the others?
Yeah, go on. I suppose we'd better get on with today's episode.
On ROAR today, the lions are hungry, so how will our rangers cope
when they try and stick-feed the big cats?
It takes years of training to be a falconer,
so how will Johny and I do when the vultures come in to land?
And what's this? Jelly-vision?
I'll be finding out if the meerkats go mad for their mealworm pudding.
But we're starting today up with the giraffes.
There are several different types of giraffe.
These ones are called Rothschild,
and they are amongst
the rarest in the world, with only 500 left in the wild.
But, here at the safari park, they have had a very successful
breeding programme with these giraffe.
Last year alone, three babies were born.
Kaiser, Kate and Kruger are now one year old and thriving,
but this year, it looks like the group,
or tower, as it's known, will grow bigger still, because
five-year-old female Gertrude is carrying her first ever baby.
Andy Hayton is in charge of the giraffery.
Gertrude is due to have a baby within the next few weeks.
She's a fantastic, beautiful-looking giraffe, and hopefully she's
going to give us some nice calves, but it's always a worry
with a first-time mum, cos you never know what they're going to do.
Usually, everything is fine,
but sometimes giraffe mums can love their calves too much.
When Gertrude was born, her mum, Becky,
couldn't stop licking her ears.
Licking is a way of bonding with a calf,
but licking too much can lead to problems.
In fact, it nearly killed Gertrude.
Her ear became infected, and whilst everything is OK now,
it did leave a big scar.
The tip of Gertrude's ear, her left ear, is missing,
where Becky over-mothered her and licked it.
No one knows what Gertrude will be like as a mum,
but Andy has another reason to worry.
The big problem, or not so much a problem, a worry that
I have with Gertrude is she's not a huge lover of baby giraffes.
Whenever we put young calves out with these guys,
Gertrude doesn't like them, and she'll try and knock them over,
or she'll have a sly little swipe with her front feet, trying to
kick them, and what have you, so it's worrying in the back of my mind
that she is not going to do the right thing when she has her baby.
With Gertrude due to give birth any day now,
Andy is putting her in a separate pen overnight.
She's being kept company by one of the group's
most experienced mums, Imogen.
What we tend to do here is we separate them when they calf. It's
just easier for us to keep a little bit of control over the situation.
If there's a problem, we've got to get mum out
and we can deal with the calf. If it's in here,
and we've got giraffes in here, it's difficult to deal with.
Will Gertrude be a good mum, or will she ignore her new baby?
We'll be back as soon as she gives birth.
The giraffe is not only the tallest land mammal,
but it also has one of the longest tongues.
Check this out.
Their tongues grow to 45 centimetres long, and are coloured bluey-black.
Scientists reckon that's to help stop them
from getting sunburn as they feed.
ALL: Now you know!
Myself and Rani have popped over to the Hunters of the Sky
section of the park, we've met up with Jimmy,
because he's going to teach us how to become top falconers.
-Now then, Jimmy. Who have we got here?
-This is Moriarty.
He's a little hooded vulture from Africa.
Little? He looks quite big!
He is fairly big, he's not the biggest vulture in the world.
OK, then. As Johny said, we want to learn to become top falconers.
How long have you been doing this?
16 years, so since I was a little lad. I'm always flying birds of prey.
OK, so we've got a couple of minutes now to learn everything from you.
How do we do this? What do we need to know?
First of all you need a little bit of safety equipment,
because he's got quite powerful feet and quite sharp talons,
so I'm going to give you a glove which goes on your left hand, OK?
So, do you want to start off? Do you want to go first?
-Go on, Rani!
-Oh, yeah, thanks(!) If it all goes wrong...
I'll learn off you, your mistakes!
So, I'm going to give you a little bit of food,
that's goes between your finger and thumb,
and I'm going to get you to hold your arm out, like that.
There's no chance he'll miss that meat and go for my nose?
No, not at all. He knows where he's got to land. Here he comes.
-Oh, you see!
-You've got a wing in your face, there!
Is it possible I turn round and just show the camera something,
show everyone at home?
Look at his nails! Now, we were talking about how sharp they are.
Those ones are curled under, and this one is straight
and really clawed, and now he's on my arm!
We'll get him to walk up a little bit further. He is very gentle.
He is, because that nail is going right into my arm
but I can't feel it.
No, no. He's a very, very gentle bird.
Originally, vultures were closely related to eagles and hawks
and buzzards, you know, all the other birds of prey,
so they have the talons, but they don't necessarily use them as much.
So, do they grip their food at all,
because that's the image I always have of vultures and birds,
going down, grabbing a little mouse, or something, and then flying off.
-Do they use them for that?
-Yeah, most birds of prey do.
Vultures are a bit different, because they're scavengers,
they're kind of nature's answer to dustbin men,
they use them to hold food while they use their beaks to eat with them, OK?
So, they do have power in their talons,
but they're very, very gentle.
-All right then, Johny. Do you want to have a go?
It's not fair you're having all the fun. I want a go, please.
-So, er, is it heavy?
-It is heavy,
and I've got to admit, I was a little bit scared
because of the wingspan.
It seems quite big, I felt it was going to go in my eyes.
The hooded vulture is actually one of the smaller vultures,
but they still have a wingspan of one and a half metres across.
What I want to know is he's going to come over
and fly above these chairs. Why have you got him doing that?
What we want to do with the displays we do,
we want to bring the birds really close.
The closer you are to the birds...
-..the better you can get an appreciation for them.
So, we want to get people up close and personal with them.
They're a magnificent bird, but because they eat dead things,
and, you know, they're those birds you see in cartoons which
you don't really like, we want to change people's opinion on vultures.
And you know what? They have got, actually, beautiful blue eyes.
They have, they've got a blue colour around the edge
of their eyes, so they're really pretty birds, actually.
I thought that went well. How did we do then, Jimmy?
I think we did great!
You were strong, confident, I was strong and confident.
-You knew your stuff.
-We did, didn't we?
-We were naturals.
We could run this show, couldn't we, Jimmy?
You just flew one vulture. We fly groups of vultures.
I think we've got some work to do.
You've got work to do, I'll just sit back and watch.
What has 100 legs and can't walk?
I don't know.
A dead centipede!
What do you call a show full of lions?
A mane event!
Ah, ah, ah, ah, ah!
What did the religious skunk say?
I don't know.
Let us spray!
Our ROAR Rangers today are best friends Molly and Cassie.
These two do everything together, but it looks like they need
a bit more practice with the wheelbarrow race!
They're both animal-mad, but who will they be helping with today?
As usual, we're giving them two clues.
Clue number one, smelly catnip,
and clue number two, a baby's bottle of milk.
Well, it's flowers. What do they smell like?
Sort of like lemon, limey.
-It smells like mint.
-Possibly for a gorilla
And what about clue number two?
-It must be a baby.
Because I don't know many adult animals that drink
-milk from a bottle.
So, come on then, girls, let's have your answers.
I think it's a gorilla. Oo, oo, oo!
I think it's a big cat. Grrr!
There's only one way to find out,
and that's to meet their keeper for the day,
deputy head of section, Bob Trollope.
-I hear you thought it was a monkey you were going to feed.
What we're going to do is go in and feed some lion cubs.
-Oh, my gosh! That is, like, amazing!
-Yeah! So excited!
While the rest of the pride have been let out for the day,
Mum, Dad and the cubs have been kept in.
Keeper Bob wants to see what the cubs make
of the smelly plant, catnip.
Many cats find it irresistible, both pet cats and lions,
and it can make some little playful.
Even the biggest, toughest male lions can act like kittens
when catnip's around, but it only affects around 50 percent
of cats, so will it affect our cubs?
It's time to meet the family.
-All right, keep going.
First up, it's Dad.
His name's Nibalo.
-He's all noise at the moment.
-He sounds like a car!
Nibalo is twice your size, Molly, and five times heavier than you!
Will mum Yendi be any friendlier?
I definitely wouldn't think I'd be this close.
-Get this close, only seeing them from a field, or something.
Our rangers can only get this close to the lions
because they're with Bob, who's a very experienced big cat keeper.
What we going to try, for the very, very first time,
is put this catnip in with the little cubs.
I don't know whether you've got catnip in your garden,
but cats go nuts for this.
So, we just want to see whether lion cubs go nuts for it!
The catnip's in and the door is open so the cubs can get to the plants.
Little bit cautious of it, at first.
Weigh it all up, first, and see whether it's dangerous,
because that could be really dangerous.
They've never come across it before.
She's smelling it, but will it send her silly?
It's thought that oils in the leaves have a particular smell that sends
cats wild, so the more they bite it, the more they may get affected.
Gradually, like, one by one comes in and they start playing with it.
At first they were a bit cautious, but they're enjoying it now.
They're really enjoying it, and pushing it around and pulling it
apart, and it won't be long before they've destroyed the whole thing!
Do you think it's been a success?
Well, I think, as an experiment, for a first time,
I think that's brilliant.
I think it's been really successful, don't you? GIRLS: Yeah.
That's one happy cat!
So far, the girls have had a fun, easy time of it,
but there's work to be done.
Mum, Dad and the cubs need their stick-feed, and that means
being just centimetres away from some very big teeth.
Will our rangers keep their nerve? Find out later in the show.
Are you playing the ROAR game on the CBBC website?
If not, you should try it.
It gives you the chance to run your own zoo
and look after the animals in it,
but you'll need plenty of these, cheat codes!
Type that in, and see what it gives you. Happy gaming!
Brrrrrrr! Look at my lovely jelly!
It's not actually for me, it's for our mob of meerkats,
and I'm here with their lovely keeper, Becky.
I've just dropped some but it'll be all right, we've still got this.
What type of jelly is this?
Is it going to be all right for our meerkats?
It's fine for our meerkats. It's a natural jelly.
In fact, the jelly is made of arrowroot, a starch that
comes from a plant, and is completely safe for the meerkats.
I can see we've got something inside here. Is this mealworms?
Yeah, that's their favourite food, so they're instantly going to
have to come down, hopefully, for it, and try and eat it.
Well, even though it's their favourite food, though,
why would they bother going into jelly to get it?
There must be easier ways for them to get food!
Yeah, in the wild they'll have to climb up trees, dig around in
logs, they'll dig in the ground to find food, so this is a new way.
Well, let's see what they make of this jelly. Where shall we put it?
Just put it up on there's fine. Hopefully they'll all come round.
OK, if I put it there...
And we've got a little camera just there,
so hopefully we'll be able to get all the action
when they dive in with the jelly, if they dive in with the jelly.
You say they've not seen it before. Are meerkats quite scaredy-cats?
They're very inquisitive, so they want to know what is around.
So, here come the meerkats, and they have come in numbers.
How did they know that the jelly's there?
Have they got a good sense of smell?
They've got a very good sense of smell, yeah,
so they will be able to smell it.
-You can see we've got one already.
-Look at this. He's going up to it.
Never seen jelly before. I wonder what he'll make of it? Look at that!
He's gone for the easy bit first, a little mealworm on its own.
Becky, I've noticed that one's come over and he's quite tentative,
he's touching it and trying to work out if it's safe.
-Is that something they would do out in the wild?
-They would, yeah.
They always see if it's safe before they go completely in.
Now, look at that, they're scraping away the jelly.
-They're not scared at all!
-They're not scared, no.
I mean, do they ever hunt for dangerous animals
-that might cause them some pain?
-Scorpions is the main one.
It is one of their favourite foods,
so the first thing they go for is the tail to get rid of the sting
before they get stung, but they are immune to the venom anyway.
They're immune? Wow, so they're sturdy little animals!
They're having a massive feast, they're actually loving it!
Are they really hungry now, and do they feed often?
In the wild they'll naturally feed pretty much throughout the day,
unless it gets too hot, so they're constantly foraging for food,
just because they haven't got a very high fat storage in their body.
Oh, really? So they usually just eat what they need, and then that's it,
-and then they'll eat again when they're hungry?
You know what, it's been incredible to see them,
and they've really gone crazy for our mealworm jelly.
I thought that made excellent jelly-vision(!)
Now, earlier in the show we met Gertrude the giraffe.
She's expecting her first calf, and guess what?
Rani's just had the call.
We've heard some amazing news from the giraffery, there's been a birth!
So, the man who's going to tell us all the gossip
is head of section, Andy, and I can't wait to find out!
-I'm guessing you had a late night, then!
-A little bit of a late night, yes.
-So, tell us all!
-Gertrude's calved, last night.
-Absolutely great news!
What time did this happen?
Erm, about half-past midnight last night, sort of quarter to one-ish.
Is it right that you've actually got this on tape?
We have, so you can actually see what I'm talking about.
The picture looks green
because it's one of our special cameras that can film in the dark.
We fixed it higher up, out of the way, so it didn't disturb Mum.
So, she's pacing around, she's kind of...
Yeah, pacing around a bit, you know, you can see the legs sticking out.
This is where she's really, really close, now.
She's kind of, like, pushing, she's just rocking back and forth.
You can see how far the calf'shanging down, now, where the front legs are,
there's the head, so it's a long old drop.
-There you go!
-It's a big old drop!
It's a big old drop, but it stimulates them,
it'll clean any gunk out of them,
and I've heard them before, when they hit the ground,
-you actually hear them gasp, and take their first breath.
-That's actually Dad.
-Oh, is that Dad?
-That's Dad, in there.
Oh, and he's swinging over, it's like he's heard the drop
and he's coming in to say, "Are you all right?"
Hang on, is that baby getting up? Is that baby up? Oh, wobbly legs!
-And just fallen over again!
Yeah, it's amazing, they'll fight and they'll try to survive,
get up, drink, get moving, something's not going to come along
and eat you, so you can see Gertrude bending down, now, and just cleaning
the calf, making sure her baby's OK, because it's just fallen over.
This is perfect, absolutely perfect, textbook giraffe mum behaviour.
Andy was worried that Gertrude would not be a good mum,
but just look at this.
The calf is suckling, and so far Gertrude is being brilliant.
It looks like baby's having a good old drink, and Gerty seems great.
This first drink is absolutely crucial for the baby,
because it's colostrum, it's called colostrum,
which is a special kind of milk, which Mum will pass on antibodies
and all this kind of thing, and it's protection for life for this calf.
So is it a big relief for you, now? Is baby completely safe,
and you're just happy to let her get on with it?
This is beyond perfection, to be honest with you,
for a first time mum. She is being absolutely awesome with it.
So far, so good. Because the calf has only just been born,
we aren't allowed in to film it with our normal cameras yet.
So, will Gertrude continue to be a model mum, or will she change?
We'll be back later for an update.
We're back in the lion house, where our ROAR Rangers, Molly and Cassie,
have spent the morning watching the lion cubs getting silly on catnip.
But that's all about to change,
because it's time to get their hands dirty with the morning stick feed.
Why do we feed them off a stick, like with some meat and stuff?
Well, what we do is, you know with your own cat,
you have to put worming tablets, to stop them having worms?
-Well, we have to do that with our big cats as well.
At 12 weeks of age, it's up to Bob
and the girls to train the cubs to eat from a stick, so they'll
be able to give them worming tablets and other medicines in the future.
-Shall we see if Mum wants something to eat?
-I'll show you what to do.
What we do is we put the meat on the end of the stick,
we hold it really tight, and then just put it through like that.
Bob makes it look easy, but with a fully grown lioness just
centimetres away from you, it's anything but.
At home I have to feed my cat, but this is so much better.
This is amazing.
This is a real treat for our Rangers, but they can only do
it because they are with Bob, who is a very experienced keeper.
-So who wants to do the first feed?
Molly's going first. She's a brave ROAR Ranger.
Now, just do what I said, hold the stick tight
and just put it in there, nice and gently.
-Oh, look at that!
-You've fed a lion.
Now it's Cassie's turn.
-I'll tell you what we'll do. You can have that one, Molly.
And you have the big one.
-Now, when you feed Mum, let's see if Molly can feed the cub.
Slowly, girls. Keep those hands steady!
Go on, just put it in. Go on, cubbies, come on! Good girl.
-She makes a lot of noise when she eats.
-She does, she's very noisy.
-You got it.
-They're adorable, they're just so gentle
and they don't pull or anything.
With Mum and the cubs all fed, it's time for Dad's stick-feed.
He's much bigger, much noisier and much scarier.
You have that. Oh, all right, get it in. Ready?
Cassie's going first this time.
-He looks very big, a lot bigger than me.
-Right, you ready? Go on, then.
-Oh, he's a lot more gentle than I thought.
-He's very, very gentle.
He doesn't look gentle!
A male of his size could eat up to 40 kilograms of meat in one sitting.
That's more than Cassie weighs!
It's Molly's turn, and if you ever wondered how tall a lion is,
just watch this.
Right, as high as you can, as high as you can,
let's see if he can get that. Oh, look, there he is.
Wow, let's see that again!
They don't call them big cats for nothing.
He is actually bigger than me, isn't he?
It's, like, amazing.
It doesn't feel real that you're feeding a real lion,
and you're so close up to it.
-And his breath stinks.
-Yeah, it smells of raw meat!
With all the food gone,
how have our ROAR Rangers enjoyed their big cat experience?
That was amazing, it was like once-in-a-lifetime,
and they were so cute.
It was fantastic, I'll never forget that.
I think they've done really, really well, you know,
bearing in mind that these are big cats, it can be quite daunting.
Feeding them on a stick was a bit scary at first,
but at the end it was really amazing.
I think, if they want to be big cat keepers in the future,
I think they've got what it takes.
BOTH: The lion cubs are great!
We've got some breaking news, now, from the giraffery,
about Gertrude and her new baby.
The keepers were worried that she would not be a good mum,
but it turns out she's being brilliant.
These are our first shots of the little one outside.
The calf is thriving,
and we'll catch up with Mum and baby next time on ROAR.
Now, it is nearly time for us to put on our trainers
and run out on ROAR, but before we do, we thought we'd catch up with
a few creatures who take a little bit longer to put their trainers on.
We're talking about the millipedes, and their keeper, Kim. Hiya, Kim.
Hello, Kim. Will you give us an official introduction?
I don't know if I can shake their hands,
because they've got so many legs, but not many hands.
-Well, this is Molly, and this is Milton.
-Nice, Molly and Milton!
Well, they're looking lovely there.
Now, realistically, how many legs do they have?
Between 250 and 350. It depends on how old they are,
because as they grow they get extra segments.
-Can we get close to them and have a look?
-Do you want to have a hold?
-Oh, yeah, great, Rani, let's do that, let's get close to them(!)
You know, I don't actually mind the millipedes.
-Would you like the little one, Johny?
-Go on then!
So, this has got about 300 legs?
About that, yeah, cos she's pretty much fully grown now.
So, who's the male and who's the female?
I've named them, but we're going to now have a little go
at making sure that I'm right!
-We just hope that Milton and Molly are unisex names, then!
OK, so how do you sex a millipede?
-Do I just flip it over and have a look?
-Well, technically, yeah.
We've got some gloves here, because they do excrete a little bit
of stuff that can stain your hands, so if you want to put a glove on.
-They stain our hands?
-Yeah, just a little bit of orange stuff.
It's a defence against things that want to eat them.
What we're doing is we're pulling the head back,
so if you want to do that, Johny.
-So, if I hold it in this hand?
-Yep, we're pulling the head back,
and what we're looking for is on the seventh segment back
from the head, the males are missing, well, I say missing.
Their legs have been changed for breeding apparatus,
and what we're looking for is a gap.
-Oh, yeah, look at that!
-Yeah, you can see it!
-It's quite pronounced, isn't it?
-Flip you over, Molly.
-If we pull her head back...
-Oh, my goodness, don't break her!
-Can you see?
-All her legs are there.
-I think she's all legged up.
Molly, you are officially a Molly!
So, does that mean we're going to have little Molly and Miltons?
-Well, hopefully, fingers crossed.
Kim, I'm glad that we can confirm that you're correct,
and we do have a male and a female here, Molly and Milton.
And, while we hang out with our new friends,
why don't you lot see what's coming up on the next episode of ROAR?
Looks like a great ring!
Next time, the lion cubs are finally coming out to where the visitors
can see them, but are they ready for their first public performance?
He's grown a bit since we saw him take his first swim,
but is Riley the sea lion still a big kid?
And when is a tortoise all soft to stroke?
When they're a tiny baby, just a few days old.
That's all next time on ROAR. Don't miss it!
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
E-mail [email protected]
Gertie the giraffe is expecting her first calf, but the keepers are worried it won't go smoothly. The meerkat mob must work out how to get their food from inside a giant jelly, and Johny and Rani learn how to train a vulture and sex a millipede.