Lucy Cooke meets Moyo, a baby elephant who has been living with a carer since he was a few days old. Patrick Aryee meets Robin, an orphaned anteater.
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The first years of a young animal's life are the most crucial.
So if they grow up without their mothers,
these animals are going to need help.
Good morning. Hello, darling.
We're going to meet baby animals whose only hope of survival
lies with some very dedicated people...
What a clever girl.
..and find out what it takes to get them back into the wild.
This is about salvation for some little guys who have been
through hell, who have been through trauma, who deserve a second chance.
Hey, dude. Ah!
'I'm biologist Patrick Aryee'
and I'm in central America, home to exotic and rare wildlife.
'Here, I'll be visiting centres where the wildlife
'gets incredible specialist care.'
That is remarkable.
'And I'm zoologist Lucy Cooke'
and I'm in southern Africa,
home to some of the most iconic animals in the world.
'I'll be helping out at rescue centres devoted to
'rehabilitation and release.'
You're going to become a wild cheetah one day, aren't you,
if you carry on being this good?
In this programme, I'll be meeting Moyo,
who found sanctuary on a sofa after nearly drowning.
He's got a terrible phobia of water,
which is just the most dreadful thing.
'And I'll be meeting Robin, an anteater from Costa Rica...'
'..to see if he can master
'the skills he'll need to return to his jungle home.'
He's sniffing my armpits. Apparently...
I've got ants in there.
Join us as we follow these miracle orphans...
..through their most crucial moments...
..on their long journeys back to the wild.
Zimbabwe is in southern Africa.
Its diverse and breathtaking landscape
is dotted with evergreen forests, mountains and savannas...
..and it's home to some of the most recognisable animals on the planet.
But many of these animals are now under threat,
including Africa's elephants.
This is 14-month-old Moyo,
a baby elephant that lives here at Wild Is Life...
Oh, you clever little so-and-so.
..a rescue centre founded by Roxy Danckwerts.
You're so clever.
Yes, you are. You're so clever.
Roxy's been helping sick and orphaned animals
for nearly 20 years.
She's rescued and rehabilitated many different species,
from African cats...
..to primates and birds.
But Moyo is her biggest challenge yet.
On the veranda of the house at the moment
and Moyo's just having a little quiet...
This is his favourite sofa.
But he's getting a little bit big for it now.
I think it might break soon.
Moyo came here when he was just a few days old.
Thought to have been washed away
whilst trying to cross a flooded river with his herd,
he nearly drowned.
Luckily, he was found by rangers and brought to Roxy.
She's become Moyo's surrogate mother
and he follows her everywhere.
He's very inquisitive, so he's just grabbed a teabag,
and he doesn't like it. No, doesn't like that at all.
Now he's just peed on my floor.
With most animals, it's a little puddle.
This is a very, very big puddle.
So... Yeah... The wee's quite big to clean.
Come, little Moyo. Come on. Let's go. Come along. Come, Moyo.
This is not a good place for an elephant. Come.
He's now outgrown the house but old habits die hard.
In the beginning, I used to make Moyo's milk in the kitchen,
so he used to follow me in here.
Oh, he's found the salt.
And so he's quite used to the kitchen. Strawberry?
No, he wants chocolate brownies.
Come on. These are not good for you. All of these.
He knows he's being naughty now.
Come, Moyo. Come on. Let's go.
Moyo, come on.
He loves silver. It's really interesting.
Talk about an elephant with a silver spoon in his mouth.
You can bring your spoon. Come. Let's go. Come on.
Come, Moyo. Come, Moyo.
Good boy. Come on.
Across Africa, wild elephant numbers have declined by over 60%...
You... You are just a little mischief, aren't you?
Such a mischief. Yes.
..and if things carry on as they are,
experts believe that in the next couple of decades,
they could disappear from the wild completely.
Roxy is determined to do what she can to help and, by the time
he is nine years old, her plan is to return Moyo back to the wild.
Elephants have been very much a huge interest
and a huge passion for me since I was in my teens.
I've always wanted to work with them
so everything I've done up until this point
has been like a preparation.
Such a precious boy.
Moyo's rehabilitation is her top priority
and it's something that I'm hoping I can help with.
It's not every day you get to meet a baby elephant, is it?
But today is one of those days.
-Hello. You must be Roxy and...
-Oh, my word.
-This must be... I'll say hello to you first. Hello.
And now I'm going to say hello to you.
I was a bit nervous about how we were going to get on,
Mr Moyo, but it looks like we're going to get on famously.
Just as long as I let you suck my fingers.
According to surrogate mum Roxy,
this means he's already warming to me.
The sucking is all part of a comfort, greeting, trust whatever.
I think a lot of ellies do that.
The babies, they will often go and suck on aunties and sisters,
just for the comfort and the bonding and the security.
So that's really what he's trying to do, I think.
Baby elephants will often put the trunk in their mouths
and taste what they're eating,
and they are also picking up a lot of probiotics.
You see a lot of trunk interaction.
He's really liking you, Lucy.
-Yeah, he's really liking you.
It would've been really awkward if we hadn't got along.
-No. He's found a new friend.
-He's getting a bit boisterous, isn't he?
Yeah, Lucy, I think we'll take him out for a walk and go and see
what there is to see out there and go and have a bit of a play.
Come, Mr Moyo. Come on. Let's go.
Moyo's rehabilitation is going well
but there's one problem that's holding him back.
Soon after his arrival, Roxy noticed that he was frightened around water.
Nearly drowning as a newborn has left him with emotional scars.
That whole experience of getting separated from your mother
when you're that tiny, that must have been traumatic for him.
I think it must have been the most awful, terrifying experience.
I can't begin to imagine what that must have been like for him.
I'm seeing quite unnatural behaviour from him.
He's not excited about water.
They need to play in it, drink it, they need to cool themselves.
There's a lot going on there.
It should be an integral part of their daily lives.
Roxy has to get him over his fear of water if he's ever going to stand
a chance of being a wild elephant, and I'm going to help with that.
8,000 miles away is Costa Rica, in Central America,
one of the most bio-diverse places on Earth.
Over a quarter of the country is pristine national parks...
..and its rich forests are home to extraordinary animals.
But this wildlife is under threat.
A growing human population is having a huge impact...
..and I want to see for myself what dangers animals are facing.
In the distance, we can see this lush tropical rainforest,
which is a safe haven,
however, right next door to it is this - human settlements.
You can hear the cars on this busy road,
there are electric cables above.
So many different threats to these wild animals,
it's easy to see why they get into trouble.
I've come to a centre called Kids Saving The Rainforest,
where a team is working tirelessly to rescue, rehabilitate
and return Costa Rica's precious wildlife back to the wild.
I've come to meet one of the centre's most challenging
and demanding patients.
This is Robin the tamandua,
a type of anteater who has a highly specialised diet.
He spends most of his life looking for ants and termites
high up in the tree tops.
-Just stand still and let me know if you need help.
I love how he uses that nose, just sniffing nonstop.
And if you can see, his tail is wrapped around my neck,
but that's again to make sure he is secure so he...
He's sniffing my armpit. Apparently...
..I've got ants in there.
Robin is an orphan.
Found on the roadside, he came to the centre
at just a few weeks old and was days away from starvation.
At this age, baby tamanduas rely on their mothers
for milk and protection.
They have a close bond for their first 12 months.
Robin was raised under the watchful eye
'of biologist Pedro Montero,
'who has years of experience with orphaned wildlife.'
Robin is nearly a year old and is learning to hunt ants for himself.
You can see how he's using those claws to rip apart that vegetation
and then that allows that really long, sticky tongue to investigate
to see if he can find any ants.
What stage is he at? How much longer
do you need to wait until you can release him out into the wild?
Robin is pretty much at the final stage.
I know that he has pretty much all the skills,
the basic skills to survive
and we just need to confirm that he has everything ready to be released.
So you had to be mum for Robin
and it looks like all your hard work is paying off right now.
Yes, I'm hoping... I was hoping for a Mother's Day present,
and that didn't pan out so I guess I'll settle for a happy release.
With Robin being ready to be released,
is there anything that might stop that?
He's been having a little problem with his eye.
He's had it a little cloudy.
We think something got in there,
like an ant or a piece of wood or something.
We need to make sure that's not going to affect him.
He's coming out by himself.
He's brought Robin to see Pia Martin, the centre's vet.
It looks like it's not cloudy at all any more. It looks very good.
It's not swollen and it's not red.
He has a good weight, he's old enough, he's big enough,
and his eye is good, so health-wise he's excellent.
Now we just have to make sure that behaviour-wise
he has all the skills to be able to survive in the wild.
With a clean bill of health, the next step for Robin will be
a series of tests to ensure he can fend for himself in the wild.
In Africa, Roxy has spent the last 14 months helping Moyo
develop his survival instincts as part of his rehabilitation.
Good morning. Hello, darling.
In the wild, he would have learnt those skills from his herd.
Elephants live in family groups led by the matriarch.
Roxy has taken on that role.
I have to think like an elephant, I have to taste like an elephant,
I have to keep thinking ahead and planning to make sure that
what we're doing is going to be right for his future.
So what's going to happen now, you'll find, Lucy,
is that he has a sense of social hierarchy.
So what you might find that he does is that he'll let me
-go forward but he'll keep you slightly back.
So what's going to be going on is his trunk will probably be
-slapping you a little bit.
-He's just keeping you slightly to the back...
-..because you're a lesser mortal.
-OK. I accept that.
In his presence, I do definitely feel like a lesser mortal.
-All right, let's go and join him now.
Come, Moyo. Moyo, come. Let's go.
Oh, yeah, sorry. Got to get back.
Got to keep back.
All right, no, OK, I'm keeping behind. I'm keeping behind.
Mum's in front.
As Moyo doesn't have any other elephants to hang out with,
Roxy has also built Moyo his own unconventional herd.
-It includes the family dog...
-Hi, Josephine. Hello.
Are you full of prickles?
..and Moyo's best buddy, Kimmy the sheep.
It might seem like an odd pairing
but years of experience had taught Roxy what her animals need.
It's a combination of teaching and playing.
Because they're such good herd animals,
I used a sheep and a zebra foal once and it was a huge, huge success.
Like most babies,
Moyo currently does most of his learning through play
and Roxy knows that something as simple as a sandpit can teach
and entertain him at the same time.
-Lucy, what I suggest you do is just climb on it.
And then he'll probably follow you up.
You want me to climb up the sandpit?
-Yeah, cos he'll probably follow you up.
You going to come up and join me? You going to come up and join me?
-So this is playtime, really.
And you see elephants in the wild doing this a lot.
It may be play but it's also really important for them
to throw sand to control parasites and to help them with sunburn,
and it's just a lot of fun.
He absolutely loves it.
He's practising digging.
Roxy's rehab programme for Moyo has brought him on leaps and bounds.
He's learning all the skills he needs to be a wild elephant,
but when he gets near water, his confidence disappears completely.
Elephants are famous for and never forgetting.
You know, this little orphan baby elephant suffered a massive trauma
at the start of his life involving water and he nearly drowned.
And now he's got a terrible phobia of water,
which is just the most dreadful thing for an elephant
because they love water.
In the wild, swimming is a vital part of an elephant's life.
It's a way to socialise, avoid predators
and to travel great distances
to locate new feeding and breeding grounds.
Moyo's lack of confidence
could be a major setback in his development.
Like any human that's suffered from trauma,
Roxy's using therapy to try and get him over this fear.
Roxy has specially dug out this shallow paddling pool
and, over the last six months, she's been slowly getting him used to it.
I'm guessing, as his herd, this is a shoes-and-socks-off situation.
-This is a get in the water and show him...
Yeah, we've just got to get a bit of energy up. Come, Mr Moyo.
-A bit of energy. OK.
-Come, Mr Moyo. Come, come, come.
He's not... He doesn't want to come in, though, does he?
-He needs a lot of encouragement.
-Yeah, he needs some encouragement.
It'll just take a bit of time, and we might put a bit of mud on him.
Come on, Moyo. Come, Mr Moyo. Come on. Come, Mr Moyo.
Look, it's lovely in here.
It's really nice and cool, cos it's quite warm out there.
It's really nice and cool in here.
'Moyo isn't sure.
'But with Roxy and I cheering him on...'
Good boy. Good boy.
'..he decides to dip his toes in.'
That's it, you got your feet wet. Well done. Well done.
He's going to come in. He's gone to come in, aren't you?
You big, brave boy.
There was a little bit of anxiety to start off with, wasn't there?
And then little steps and then, boom,
-and he had a good time, didn't he?
So how long has it taken to get to this point?
This has taken quite a few months, actually.
You know, it's been one step at a time, really.
Each one of these experiences is going to make him
remember that water's good and forget that water's bad.
Exactly. We want loads and loads of good memories, I think.
And how does it make you feel to see him like this?
I just love it. I mean, I just... You know,
watching his expressions, and he just makes you laugh,
he just behaves like a clown and... Oh, it's just... It's a really...
It's a sense of achievement as well that we've got this far, you know?
He's just a little boy growing up
and learning little boy lessons and I really enjoy that.
'Roxy believes that this pool will help him
'to start conquering his fear of water.'
He's come a really long way
from a little elephant that nearly drowned to doing this.
You are totally cool with this puddle, aren't you?
'But it is just a puddle, compared to what he might face in the wild,
'and his next challenge will be sink or swim.'
The next thing will be to try him on a bigger body of water,
that'll be the real test.
'Here in Costa Rica, I'm also helping with vital survival skills.
'I'm about to get first-hand experience of the lengths
'Pedro will go to to help Robin the tamandua.
'Whilst here at the centre, Pedro needs to provide Robin
'with everything he needs,
'and today I've been roped into helping find his dinner.
'Tamanduas have a highly specialised diet
'and in the wild can eat up to 9,000 ants in a day.
'Robin needs to hone his foraging skills
'and that means being able to track the scent of ants.'
-Yeah, that'll work.
'It's down to Pedro and I to collect some so we can give him
'an all-important life rehearsal.'
Unfortunately his food is bitey and moves very quick
and lives halfway up this tree.
There's a really big ants' nest up there.
OK, so I'm going to climb and I'm going to
put my machete like this and then push and then it's going to
fly directly into your bucket and it's going to be completely safe.
Just be... Just be really careful.
-There's an ants' nest right behind you.
-No, I know.
-OK, wait, wait.
Just take your time. OK.
I don't know if I'm going to be able to catch all of it but...
Oh, my... OK, got loads of ants here.
Ow, ow, ow, ow.
Ow, ow, ow, ow, ow.
OK, these ants are going crazy.
What I need to do is get them into this jar real quick.
-That might be too big.
Ow, ow, ow, ow, ow, ow.
-I think I've managed to...
OK, here we go.
a tamandua's dinner.
'When ants are under attack, they release a special pheromone,
'a chemical signal that acts as an alarm call to other ants
'to coordinate a strike on their attacker.
'In this case, that's us.'
It's so weird, you can't feel them at all, you don't
know where they are, then they just decide to bite you randomly.
-Have you just...? You've just put some on me, haven't you?
-I have not.
I have not.
Robin's made us work really hard for his dinner and, in my opinion,
these ants are worth their weight in gold.
So I'm not going to give them to him that easily.
Pedro and I have got a series of tests that we're going to
put him through to make sure that his eye is OK and that he's got
all the skills he'll need for when he's released into the rainforest.
'We put a couple of holes in the jar so Robin can smell the ants,
'and hide it, with the hope that he'll sniff them out.'
-We've got Robin. Shall we let him out and see what he does?
'Anteaters have a sense of smell 40 times more powerful than ours,
'and he quickly picks up the scent of the ants.'
He's found those ants no problem.
'But this is just the start.
'Pedro wants to confirm that he has all the tools he'll need to
'fend for himself, and has some more tests for Robin that will
'determine how he'll cope in the wild.'
Ow, ow, ow.
OK, yes, they bite quite a lot.
'And a skilled tongue is essential for anteaters to catch their food.'
I got bit already so you'd better appreciate this. Smell that.
All right. Excellent.
Robin's tongue is over 40 centimetres long
and covered in spikes and sticky saliva.
He can move it in and out of his mouth at 150 times a minute...
..allowing him to eat ants and termites with astonishing speed.
The result of this test is encouraging for Pedro.
Their tongue is really amazing, the way that it works.
Also they have some more adaptations.
They have very strong claws that they use to destroy trunks
and get to the nest, and that's what we are going to test next.
So we've got this log that we might find some termites
hiding in or some ants,
so we can see how strong and how powerful those muscles are
and see if he can get his claws into there and tear it open.
You can see he's sniffing straight away.
He knows what he's doing.
Robin's secret weapons are his claws - really sharp.
And he has really powerful muscles which are helping him
to rip open that bark.
'Unlike us, Robin is adapted for ant foraging.
'His claws allow him to break and enter quickly
'and his thick, coarse hair acts like a suit of armour
'which protects him from biting ants.'
-He's doing really well.
I think it's fantastic that he's able to tackle this log no problem.
'Robin has passed these foraging tests with flying colours,
'but he still looks for reassurance from Pedro,
'and this bond is cause for concern.'
-He really does enjoy your company, doesn't he?
Yes, he really likes me.
This is one of the things that I am most concerned about.
This kind of behaviour is unacceptable.
So he needs to lose that sense of attachment, not only to you
-but humans in general.
It would be very dangerous for him to go out like this.
-We are not good news for a wild anteater.
-How do you prepare him,
then, for life in the wild and to lose his sense of attachment?
Whenever he goes into a tree that he really likes then
he switches into, like, wild tamandua mode and, yeah,
he behaves much better than right now.
So the key is to get him really interested in ants, termites,
foods that he'd be eating naturally in the wild and just let him
-basically go about his own business.
-That's the plan.
'I'm going to help Robin become less and had to Pedro.
'For his release to be a success,
'they must break their bond completely.'
'At Wild Is Life,
'I'm getting to know Moyo's extended family a little better.'
This is Skye. Skye is another orphan here at Roxy's.
She's just five or six weeks old.
She'd been a bit poorly actually
cos she's had a bit of a brush with pneumonia.
'If she recovers, she'll return home, but some of these sick or
'abandoned animals have had to become long-term residents.'
Noodle's been here for nearly four years now.
Her mother died in childbirth.
So she's another survivor.
She's rather gentle for a wildebeest, aren't you?
But there's one long-term resident...
that really keeps Roxy on her toes.
So Pickles is a warthog, as you can probably tell.
Warthogs are really smart, social animals.
She uses this smart brain of hers to figure out where all the food is.
Come on, steady on. Pickles.
Pickles came to Roxy has an injured orphan
and, with no other warthogs to be with, she became part of the family.
She kind of thinks that she's a two-legged animal,
not a four-legged animal,
so unfortunately she'll never be able to go back into the wild.
She's going to remain Roxy's house guest.
But I don't think Pickles minds that, to be honest. Right, Pickles?
'These animal survivors have found sanctuary here.
'But Roxy is determined to make sure that Moyo's future is different,
'a life in the wild.'
Come along. Come, boy.
He's now outgrown her house so he'll become a temporary
resident in a purpose-built elephant orphanage...
..that she's constructing in her back yard.
It'll be the first of its kind in Zimbabwe.
This is about salvation for some little guys who've been
through hell, who've been through trauma, who need a second chance or
who deserve a second chance, who are going to go and be wild elephants.
It's his bedtime...
..and, like most babies, Moyo has a strict routine,
starting with his milk.
So Mr Moyo here, he drinks 22 litres of this stuff a day,
and they take a really long time to wean.
Up to ten years, even, there's been reports of babies
still suckling from their mums,
so Moyo's got a lot of milk drinking ahead of him, haven't you, Moyo?
Roxy has spent months researching and perfecting a winning formula.
I work really closely with my vets
and they've calculated out all the values of every single
thing that's going into that milk just to make sure
that our balances are correct
because if you throw out the phosphorus
or you throw out the calcium
then you're going to have a growth problem,
and that's why I like to do it myself,
just to make sure he's getting exactly the right amount.
I also add a bit of protein
because he is growing so fast at the moment,
and then I'm also adding a porridge.
And it's a porridge that's been developed
actually for patients with HIV,
children that are malnourished,
and I've found it works an absolute treat.
I use it in all my animals.
It's completely and utterly 24-hour care.
We cannot for a moment, you know...
Oh... Hello. Hi.
When he first came here, he was incredibly weak and he...
You know, because we put him on to a new formula,
he instantly got diarrhoea,
and it took weeks and weeks and weeks, actually, to get him stable.
But we've been really... Moyo.
We've been really lucky because we've never, ever
had to give him an antibiotic, which is remarkable.
We've managed to get his own immune system to kick in,
and I think that's come from really good nutrition as well.
It's a well-balanced diet but, like most babies,
he can't resist playing with his food.
Come out. Oh!
Come on, Moyo.
He's having a dust bath with the milk.
It's very, very expensive milk, this,
and he's having a little dust bath.
When I come and make milk, normally I shut the door, lock it,
cos otherwise we have this chaos and...and it is chaos.
Come on. Let's go.
Come along, now. You're just wasting...
This is unbelievably, ridiculously expensive milk. Come on. Let's go.
Come on. Oh. Oh, dear.
Due to his size, it's easy to forget that he's just a baby...
Come, Moyo. Come clean your trunk as well.
..and has a long way to go before becoming an adult.
Come on. Come, come clean your trunk. Come on.
Yeah, I know it's cold but you can't have milk all over your trunk.
That's going to be sticky all night.
Settling down for the night
gives Roxy time to reflect on how far Moyo has come.
What's driving me to face these challenges is quite simply love.
Come on, then. Come. Come on. Good boy. Come on, then.
I think most humans can relate to going through some level of trauma,
some level of pain, and coming out of that and rebuilding themselves.
The endgame is re-wilding,
and that is my goal, that's my vision.
There's some very, very big hurdles but I'm not giving up.
No, no, no. Moyo represents a brighter future.
I am extremely determined. I really am.
For Moyo, a good night's sleep
is essential so he can grow and develop.
But in Costa Rica, the night-time offers Robin the orphan anteater
a chance for more training in essential life skills.
I know it's late.
In the wild, tamanduas will forage not only during the daytime
but also at night,
so this next step is vital preparation.
So what I'm doing here today with Robin is trying to do
a little night practice and see how he performs at night.
It's a skill that he needs to develop
because some of these animals are completely nocturnal.
And, for Robin, this is an important milestone.
This will be the first time that I'm bringing him out
and it will be the first time that I'm actually following him
at night to see but he will do.
What I'm really concerned about, this test,
is that at night it's going to be harder to track him.
'We're going to be using infrared cameras.
'The idea is that it's going to be as natural as possible
'and our torches are not going to be
'interfering with his natural behaviour.'
This could work.
If this night walk is a success and Robin doesn't need
reassurance from Pedro then he will be one step closer to release.
Clearly he is navigating with his nose.
He's just sniffing where the ants are.
So, yeah, he seems to be doing great.
The most important part is that he is not interested in me at all.
I have put him in the trees and he moves away,
doesn't even look back, which is great.
Robin has taken a big leap forward in his development...
He doesn't even want to come to me.
..as well as breaking that bond with Pedro.
It's really nice to see his progression
from being a scared, little orphan to a wild anteater,
an animal that is ready to be released.
I'm really proud of him.
I'm sure that he's going to do great in the wild and I'm looking
forward to seeing him out there, but of course I'm going to miss him.
You're way past your bedtime so, yeah, we need to go back. Come on.
Robin is going for a well-deserved rest.
But, for Pedro, it's going to be a long night.
Wildlife rescue happens around the clock and some casualties
have been brought to the centre in need of some urgent treatment.
There's been a late-night call.
Two orphans have come in.
We don't know what they are or what's happening, really,
so I'm heading down to the clinic to find out what's going on.
So we just had a box brought into the centre
by the electricity company.
What they found was, unfortunately, a dead mother, dead possum.
But there are two really small babies.
Their eyes are barely open.
Listen to that. You can hear them squeaking.
You can see that tiny, tiny baby
still clutching on to its mother's body.
Luckily they've been brought in so the team here are going to see
what they can do and hopefully they can make sure that these
babies survive the night.
The centre gets 15 wildlife rescues a month.
'Pedro and rehabilitation manager Sam Trull have lots of experience
'with these woolly opossums and know exactly the kind of care they need.'
We just have to examine them, make sure that they're healthy,
cos they could have been electrocuted as well.
But mostly it's supportive care, so we need to rehydrate them
because babies like this have to eat very often.
Then we're going to set them up with a surrogate.
Luckily, we actually have one with a pouch.
Obviously, that's what they're used to.
Their new surrogate is a soft toy
which will provide warmth and comfort.
They're marsupials and so they are born, you know,
really teeny-tiny and they grow up in a pouch
and they kind of come out and experience the world that way.
-Right, so a bit like... a bit like kangaroos.
And because of that, this pouch will make them
feel a little bit more at home.
I mean, their entire world has just changed.
Their mom was the entire world.
So anything we can do to make it
a little bit more comfortable for them will increase
their chance of survival.
Would you hold this one and keep it warm
while we give fluids to this one?
OK, so what am I doing? I'm holding him.
Just hold him really gently
but basically your body temperature is going to warm him up.
Because it's so small, it's going to lose body heat really rapidly.
Normally, it's got to be really close to its mother
and it's going to be able to maintain its body temperature.
We're doing all that we can to keep them warm, keep them stable,
and then we'll put them into this incubator.
-My God, he's moving so fast!
-A little bit warm, too. Nice job, Patrick.
We've taken their temperature,
we've checked how much they weigh, given them fluids,
what's the next step?
OK, well, it seems like they are pretty healthy
so what we need to do now is put them in the pouch
and then we're going to put them in the incubator.
Oh, they are so small.
But it's, you know, it's really good that they are in
this incubator and they look really relaxed and calm.
The future for these woolly opossums is looking good.
In the wild, they're capable of fending for themselves
at a young age, and so in a matter of weeks, will be ready to be
released back into their jungle home.
I've witnessed that every animal at this centre is proof that incredible
care for struggling wildlife is the best way to ensure its survival.
But with that level of emotional investment,
when things go wrong, it can be devastating.
It's early morning in Africa
and Moyo is about to have a medical appointment that could
affect his future rehabilitation and his ability to swim.
The vet's coming today to do a mobilisation of Moyo,
because we need to get really good x-rays of his back legs.
Baby elephants can suffer from irregular bone development.
Come on, Moyo, come on.
And Moyo's legs are giving her cause for concern.
I was worried because he was tripping a little bit and I just
noticed there was a slight growth deformity going on in the back legs.
And you can see here that the angle of this bone is not vertical enough.
Over the last 12 months, Roxy has tried everything, from fitting
a supported boot to being meticulous about Moyo's nutrition.
Today she wants to find out if his bones are absorbing enough calcium.
The problem is that as he gets older, if he grows into a
four- or five-ton elephant, he has got to be able to have those legs which hold him,
so they've got to be very, very dense and very strong.
If there's no improvement,
Roxy's dream of returning Moyo to the wild might be over.
If we don't sort out his leg, there's a very, very poor
prognosis for his life. We would have to euthanize him.
And that, for me, is out of the question, we will fix this leg.
When a baby elephant has a medical appointment,
the hospital comes to the patient.
Wildlife vets Keith and Lisa will need to sedate Moyo
to carry out the X-ray procedure.
They have both been part of Moyo's journey from the very beginning.
Keith went up and rescued Moyo, and travelled back with him
and they've been here constantly and they're completely not only
scientifically, but also emotionally involved in him as well.
Come on, Moyo.
We've got pictures of him at about that high, at the knees.
He's considerably bigger.
Giving an anaesthetic to an elephant this young
always carries risks,
and Roxy is naturally anxious.
Everyone wants the best for their children and it's that close a bond.
It really is that close, you want the best for your children.
I'm a very neurotic, very, very neurotic mummy. Very.
Keith uses a pole syringe to inject Moyo with the sedative.
It's OK, good boy.
And it's vital that he's given the correct dose.
Sorry, my boy, it's OK.
Roxy notices that something isn't right.
Notice he's gone down quickly.
The sedative isn't supposed to send Moyo to sleep,
but be just enough to make him stand still long enough for the team
to take an X-ray.
-Stand there, so that he doesn't fall over.
To get an accurate picture, Moyo's legs need to be holding his weight.
Turning it on.
And vet Lisa isn't sure how the results will go.
I haven't seen Moyo now for about two months
and I'm a little bit concerned.
I thought his legs might be a bit straighter than they were. So, you know,
he's not out of the woods yet, by any stretch of the imagination.
With the procedure over, all Roxy can do is wait.
Her dream of returning Moyo to the wild relies on
a good result from today's X-rays.
There's a lot that... I'm worried about his future
and you know, that he grows up to be a big elephant, a big wild elephant
and there's a lot to think about and it's a big, big responsibility,
it's a lifetime responsibility,
is not just one animal that's, you know, growing up
and then he'll go into the paddock, this is like...
It is a lifetime.
-OK, so, which are from today?
-The top two are from today.
So the joint spaces are slightly narrower, you can kind of see
-there's more calcification around the edges of that bone there.
And subjectively, the bone looks denser
than it did back then.
But your gut feeling is that we are on the right track?
-He's better than he was six months ago, when his foot was like this.
I mean, it's straightened considerably in three months,
but in the last two months, it's not...
-I'd hoped to put them perfectly straight.
-But I'm not as worried as I was six months ago.
Hearing this news is a huge relief
and allows Roxy to be optimistic about Moyo's future rehabilitation.
I had a look at those X-rays and I'm not a scientist,
but I could see a difference.
And the bone density looked better.
We've certainly halted the problem, but the job is not over yet.
We've got a long, long way to go.
Because if he's going to be a wild elephant,
he's got to have the best...
Be in the best physical condition possible.
There's just no, no way at all that Moyo can be a captive elephant.
That's not his destiny.
His destiny is for the wild.
In Costa Rica, Robin the tamandua's release is now just days away.
At KSTR, he hasn't had much contact with other tamanduas
but that's all about change.
-Who have we got here?
This is Peligroso, which means dangerous in Spanish
and he's our new tamandua.
He is really small!
How old was he when he first came to the centre?
He came here... He was about two weeks old, he was really tiny.
Sadly, it's a very similar story to Robin's.
He was found on the street, apparently the mom was
killed by a car and he was found by himself, scared and crying.
Pedro wants to build Peligroso's confidence.
He thinks that introducing him to older tamandua, Robin,
will help him develop his wild skills.
No, stay there!
And it should help Robin get used to interacting with his own kind.
Robin, hopefully, is going to stop being so attached to me.
So, what I'm trying to do is get them together
so that Robin will hang out with Peligroso and forget about me.
'Tamanduas are typically solitary animals,
'but will come into contact with others in the wild.'
Go on. Be friends.
'Pedro isn't quite sure how they'll get along.'
Love each other!
'But little Peligroso isn't up for making friends.'
I did not raise you like that.
'Tamanduas are naturally gentle animals.
'But when they feel threatened, they stand up on their hind legs,
'using their tail for balance.
'And with their arms outstretched and claws exposed,
'take a swipe at their perceived attacker.'
'In this case, an unsuspecting Robin.'
For now, it looks like a fight between brothers.
So, I'm not going to intervene yet.
I'm going to let them figure it out.
If it gets worse, I might have to stop them.
'This natural defence mechanism is part of the reason
'why so many tamanduas are hit by cars.
'Instead of running from oncoming traffic, they'll stand up
'and try and defend themselves.'
Robin is approaching Peligroso, so, that is going to be interesting.
'After a shaky start...'
Don't fall. Don't fall!
'Robin and Peligroso eventually find some common ground.
'A mutual love of trees and ants.
'And, for Robin, it's the last step in his rehabilitation.'
I think this was a very positive experience for Robin.
He was great.
He was following Peligroso.
This shows that he can interact in a natural way with other tamanduas.
And, most importantly, he completely forgot about me.
So, good job, man.
'In a few days, he'll be returning to the wild.'
'In Africa, Moyo has fully recovered from his anaesthetic.'
Moyo coming through! Come, Moyo.
Yeah, come on.
'Roxy now needs to get his rehabilitation back on schedule.'
Yes, yes, yes, I know you want to play.
But it's serious time now.
Let's go, let's go.
Come on, boy.
'Today, I'm joining them on a bush walk with a difference.
'Moyo's legs are going to be put to the test.'
The physio's really important for Moyo, because he needs to be
able to use muscles that he doesn't really use on the flat ground.
He needs to be able to stretch and strengthen those muscles
just to hold the... Hold the legs nice and firm,
and to hold the tendons and the bones together, basically.
-He has to spend a lot of time out here.
Let's see you do your elephant obstacle course
this morning then, Mr Moyo.
'In the wild, elephants cover great distances
'and cross challenging terrain to find food.
'It's crucial for Moyo to be exposed to these real-life situations.'
-The pads of the feet are completely smooth.
So, they have to be incredibly careful
when they're climbing on rocks that they don't slip.
And if he does, he'll really do some damage to his bones.
It doesn't look like much,
but it's a steep slope and he's got to work with his feet
and use all those muscles.
And, really, it's all about his confidence.
So, do you see he's using his trunk to check, check, check.
-He's checking the distance.
He's checking the terrain.
Well done! That was very, very clever.
He's turning into a real little boy.
'And Roxy decides to push Moyo a bit harder.'
I'm going to try and get him to climb over this log.
So, I'm just not sure where...
I don't know how it's going to work,
but we'll give it a try and see how strong he is.
Come on. Come.
So, he's really thinking now.
You can see how hard he's thinking.
And this is quite a big challenge for him, because it's quite high.
He hasn't negotiated this sort of situation before.
We're not teaching him tricks.
This is just showing him his limitations,
but also his capabilities,
that he can actually do it if he works it out and he thinks about it,
he might be able to do it.
Come on. Good boy.
So, he's got his weight on his front legs now.
But he's now got to really push those back legs
to get himself across.
Come on. Come, boy.
Good boy, well done!
Yes, you're very clever too, Josephine.
That was really cool, cos it's quite a big manipulation of the back leg.
It's getting movement and looseness in there.
I'm really happy with that.
'For Moyo, this is another small step on a journey back to the wild
'that'll take many years to complete.'
'But, over in Costa Rica, it's a very different story.'
'Robin the tamandua has completed his rehabilitation
'and is finally ready for release.'
'I'm joining Pedro,
'who's taken a great deal of time to find the ideal spot.'
So, why is it important to take Robin deep into the jungle?
Why can't you just release him here?
We know that car accidents are the main cause of death
for these animals.
So, we want to get him as far away as possible from roads.
So, getting him deep into the jungle is the best bet for Robin?
The deeper the better.
'On the long drive into the rainforest,
'it begins to live up to its name.'
'We arrive and head out on foot into the jungle.'
'And there's no sign that the rain is about to give up.'
As you can hear, the heavens have opened,
and we're getting drenched!
But nothing's going to stop Robin from being released.
This is his big day.
It might be uncomfortable for us,
but it's going to be perfect for Robin.
Well, Pedro, you couldn't have picked a more idyllic spot.
This looks beautiful.
How are you feeling?
I'm a bit nervous. Now, it's like on.
Cos, before, I was trying to find the best place.
But now it's real, he's going to go.
And that's scary.
The fact that the rain has stopped, the sun has come out...
It's time to let Robin...
-It's a sign.
-..out and explore.
Let's do it, I guess.
Wish him luck.
Oh, there he goes.
'Robin is finally returning to his jungle home.'
He's doing his thing.
I was a little concerned he was going to just run back to me.
But he seems to be going good.
He seems all grown-up.
'And he takes to the tree tops just like a wild tamandua.'
It's amazing seeing him climbing the tree
and getting used to this habitat, his natural habitat.
He is doing great.
It's a success. This is what we worked for.
This is what I wanted for him and he performed admirably.
So, yeah, I'm proud of him.
This is where he's meant to be, out in the rainforest.
And it makes all the sleepless nights,
all the times that Pedro's been bitten by ants,
covered in mud looking for termites, totally worth it.
It's incredible seeing him up there,
and to know that he's one of nature's survivors.
'On the other side of the world,
'Roxy and I want to help Moyo reach an important milestone, too.'
'As we've seen, Moyo has a deep rooted fear of water,
'and months of therapy have rebuilt his confidence.'
'Today will be a big challenge.'
Mr Moy! Here, Moy.
'All of his herd are coming, too - including Kimmy the sheep.'
That's it, Kim.
That's it, keep up with the herd.
This is the lake on Roxy's farm,
and we're going to try and see if we can get Moyo
to come for a swim in this.
This is a big step because although he's been doing really well
in his mud pond, this is...
This is very different.
This is a big, wild body of water.
And this probably looks a lot like the place
where he nearly drowned as a baby.
Do you think he's going to be all right?
It's just a lot bigger than he's used to.
Hopefully he'll... We'll just do it slowly, slowly.
And he'll slowly get his confidence.
Come on, Mr Moyo, you're going to be a big, brave elephant today.
Are you going to go in any further?
Or is this far enough for you?
Come on, boy. Come.
He's using his trunk,
it's quite amazing,
to measure the depth of the water in front of him.
And he seems to be happy to go in as far as a depth
that he recognises, about the depth of his muddy pool, basically.
He's not... He's a bit... He's definitely...
He's nervous, for sure.
So, he doesn't want to come in any further, does he?
He doesn't like it.
He comes in, and then...
His ears go out and he looks anxious, doesn't he?
So, this really is quite a big deal for him.
You know, all this grass and things,
he doesn't really know what's going on and he is very nervous.
He's like a little frightened little baby elephant.
He needs mum to help him, calm him down.
'After some gentle reassurance, we try again.
'And Moyo surprises us all.'
Has he been... This is deep for him, isn't it?
This is deepest he's ever been. He's never been this deep.
-Never been this deep?
Oh, you are one clever elephant!
'And as his confidence builds, he begins to enjoy the experience.'
Look at him! He's swimming.
This is amazing.
You're a swimming elephant!
This is so important that he learns to swim.
I mean, it's one thing that he's not afraid of water
and he can go up to it and drink and play.
But as a wild elephant,
being able to swim is going to be one of his vital survival skills,
because elephant migratory routes go across major rivers
and they need to be able to cross them.
He's got to learn to swim
and be comfortable with being out of his depth
if he's going to survive in the wild.
It's as simple as that.
Now he's experiencing it like an elephant really should.
He knows how wonderful it is.
That was just the most extraordinary experience.
When you think what Moyo's been through,
and where he's come from,
to see him today just totally embracing it and loving it,
just like an elephant should.
It means that his chances of survival are looking really good.
'I'll be breaking a sweat...'
Go for the inner cowboy.
'..in sloth boot camp,
'with Monster, an orphan in training for a life in the wild.'
She looks really good up there.
'And I'm meeting two of Africa's precious cats,
'who are being given a second chance to lead independent lives.'
In Zimbabwe, Lucy Cooke meets Moyo, a baby elephant who has been living with carer Roxy since he was just a few days old. He was found close to starvation on the banks of a river. Roxy hopes to return Moyo to the wild, but only if he can overcome his fear of water.
In Costa Rica, Patrick Aryee meets Robin, an orphaned anteater who must prove to surrogate mum Pedro that he can fend for himself before he can return to the rainforest.