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Hello and welcome to Animal Park. I'm Kate Humble.
I'm Ben Fogle, and behind us is one of Longleat's beautiful lakes.
Looking at it, it's hard to believe that it's not in fact natural.
All the lakes were designed by Capability Brown
in the mid-18th century and they were all dug out by hand.
Given that there are 70 acres of lakes and some of them
are as much as 30 feet deep - that's an awful lot of digging.
We'll be bringing you stories from not only the lakes,
but all across the safari park, including:
Eight-month-old cub Malaika
has been kicked out of the lions' den as her mum has a new litter.
But will she be able to survive on her own?
I get to meet the latest arrival at Half Mile Lake.
Hello, Patrick. How you doing?
And what will Kenyan wildlife ranger Patrick Lengilili
make of the park's African residents?
He's really huge and enormous.
I haven't seen such a big animal.
But first, it's been a hugely successful year
for the park's famous lion breeding programme.
Male Barbary lion Kabir arrived at the park last year,
and quickly mated with female lions Yendi and Luna.
Luckily, both became pregnant.
Seven months ago, Yendi began showing signs
that she was almost ready to give birth.
We wanted to film a cub being born for the first time.
So we called in specialist wildlife cameraman Andy Milk.
He rigged up a night-vision camera,
in such a way that it would not disturb the expectant mother.
We've installed everything
outside and there's actually nothing in the cage at all
so the lion can't get to it, can't touch anything.
It's all quite safe.
Five nights later, Yendi delivered her cubs.
Andy's camera recorded these unique scenes of the litter being born,
and their first hours of life.
Lions can give birth to up to six cubs per litter,
and this time Yendi delivered three.
Keepers Brian Kent and Bob Trollope
have overseen the lion breeding programme for decades,
but they've never actually seen a cub being born before,
so they were excited to see the footage.
Time limit was getting on a bit.
Every time we'd be saying, "Oh, it'll be next week."
Never happened. Um...
Nature takes its course, and eventually, out they come.
So it was nice.
All the years I've worked here
not to be able to see something that close up. It's great.
Later they went up to the lion house to check on mum and cubs,
and we got more shots of the litter in daylight.
She was very protective of them.
As soon as we walked in,
she was up at the front of the cage, trying to see us off.
When we went in first of all,
you couldn't quite see how many there was because she was
out there trying to protect them.
We don't want to spend an awful lot of time in there.
It's best just to keep away. As long as you've checked them twice a day.
You don't really need to stay there all day.
There's just no need. You can make things worse.
It's better to stay away.
Let her get on with it.
The cubs seemed healthy enough,
but in the wild only one in five survives to maturity, and, sadly,
two of Yendi's cubs died in the first week.
But eight weeks later, there was some better news.
Yendi's remaining cub, Malaika,
was joined by another female cub, Jasira, born to lioness Luna.
At first, mums and cubs were kept on their own.
At 12 weeks old, the cubs were given their inoculations, and allowed out
into the enclosure to play with each other for the first time,
and also to meet their father.
Soon the whole pride had bonded, and were living happily as a unit.
All seemed settled in Kabir's new pride,
but this week there's been some dramatic news.
We've had a bit of a surprise, I suppose,
even though we knew something was going on.
Yendi has given birth to some more cubs.
Now Yendi will have to stay in the lion house,
separated from the others, until the new cubs have been inoculated.
Malaika might harm the cubs if she was kept in with them.
So despite her very young age she has to be separated from her mother.
The fact is, Malaika isn't too old.
She's only about seven months old at the moment.
So, really and truly to have another litter so soon is quite unusual.
You would normally find they would wait
anything between 12 and 18 months
before they would come into season properly again.
Now little Malaika will have to fend for herself,
without a mother to look after her.
We'll be back to find out if she copes.
Over at Half Mile Lake, the breeding season is also underway.
Eight-year-old Californian sea lion Jo-Jo has given birth
to a healthy male pup.
I've been wanting to meet the new arrival,
so today I've come to pay mother and baby a visit.
I'm down at Half Mile Lake with a very proud Jo-Jo and her new pup,
and head of section Mark Tye.
-Mark, how's he doing?
Um. As you can see, he looks very content.
Very happy to lie there in the sun.
-On this beautiful day.
-They are literally sunbathing here.
She's been pretty good with it.
This is her third baby now.
And does it always go that the more babies they've had, the better mum -
-the better mum they are?
-In general, yes.
Normally, their first-borns, they can have a bit of a nightmare with,
if you like.
They're not that clever and a bit clumsy with them.
But they definitely get better with age.
Although, having said that,
it's a rather unfortunately sloping deck that they're asleep on now.
Is this where they're staying most of their time?
No. This pup was actually born here in the bridge where we're standing.
And Jo-Jo has taken it round there.
She's taken it for a few enforced swims early on!
When you say "taken it", is that like a dog picks up pups?
Does she pick it up by the scruff of the neck?
Yep, she grabs them by the scruff, drags it out into the water
and then leaves it.
But we're lucky here with this nice sloping edge
that the pups, sort of, learned how to find that.
And can climb out quite easily.
How long before he can properly go in
and dive in and out of the water like Mum can?
They're all individual,
but normally from about two weeks.
They're quite, sort of - they grow quite a lot in the first few weeks,
very strong flippers, and they get much more mobile from then on in.
We can't help but notice the big blob at the end of the jetty here!
That's Dad, isn't it?
That's Buster, proud father.
Does he take much interest in the new pup?
Um. No, he doesn't.
But he's very good with them.
He doesn't ever cause us any worry at all.
Some males can be overly aggressive.
He just turns up, has a look, sees what he's done,
and then he's quite happy just to sit there and sleep.
And back to him. Does he have a name yet?
No. We haven't named him yet.
He's obviously suckling still, and how long will that go on for?
He'll suckle, really, for nearly 12 months.
They are dependent on their mum entirely for the first six months.
From six months onwards, they will start finding small fish in the lake.
They will start to take them for themselves.
But they will continue to suckle off their mother
until we take them away at about 11 months time.
Jo-Jo there, that's being protective?
Is she saying, "I'm happy with you being that distance away,
"but don't invade our space here?"
Absolutely. She's just being protective. "Don't come any closer."
But she's quite relaxed.
We can just see Nico in the distance there.
What do the gorillas make of the pups? Do they notice?
Yes, they notice sea lions a lot, they really don't like them.
A couple of years ago, we had a sea lion give birth on the front
of the gorilla house which upset the gorillas immensely.
Which is one of the reasons why we've fenced it off now.
But proud, happy?
I'm chuffed to bits.
This is what we're here for.
We like to breed these animals and it's good to see that even though
it's had a few enforced swims it's fine and things can only get better.
And very popular with the public.
Mark, thank you very much.
And best of luck with the new pup. Thanks, Mark.
Earlier this year, Deputy Head Warden Ian Turner took
a group of staff to Kenya,
to learn more about how the animals they care for at home
behave in the wild.
This part of Africa is a wildlife hotspot,
where many of the species kept at Longleat roam free
in their natural habitat.
While in Kenya, the keepers visited the Kigio Conservancy -
a wildlife reserve covering 3,500 acres.
One of their hosts was Patrick Lengilili -
a park ranger and tracker from the local Samburu tribe.
-We've got some tracks here. They're walking that way.
-You can tell, because this is the front toe here.
-So they should be now down that way.
-Down that way.
Patrick's worked at Kigio for eight years.
There's not a lot he doesn't know about the animals here.
-(There you go, you see? There you go.)
The visit was such a success that Longleat invited Patrick to pay them
a return visit, to see how some of the animals he manages in the wild
are cared for in captivity.
Now Patrick has come to Wiltshire, on his first ever trip abroad.
-Nice view of the whole area.
-Yeah, nice view.
Ian is looking forward to getting his expert opinion
on some of the African animals in the park.
The first stop is the giraffe house,
so Patrick can catch up with head of section Andy Hayton.
Hello, Patrick, how are you doing?
THEY GREET EACH OTHER IN SAMBURU
When Andy visited Kenya, he was impressed by the condition
of the wild Rothschild giraffes,
which are the same sub-species he looks after at Longleat.
Now he's keen to find out what Patrick thinks of the park's herd.
Nice looking giraffes. They're really healthy.
I think the weight on them is pretty much the same.
Very much the same.
The weight is the same. I recommend that.
It's really interesting getting close to all these giraffes and the babies
and they all really look healthy.
So you can actually tell they are really healthy
because they're really close to you.
So it's another advantage that you can just have a look at the giraffes,
you can tell maybe if they have scratches or something like that.
Whereas ours, sometimes, they just run away.
And you don't have to find them every day!
We know exactly where our giraffes are!
Because we shut the door and we keep them here!
That's easy for you.
Ours is like, every morning, "Oh, giraffes, OK. We started there..."
Mind you, Patrick, you can seem them from about three miles away anyway.
You see that much giraffe in the distance and know where they are.
At Kigio, Patrick's giraffe browse naturally on available foliage,
but in the park their diet must be carefully controlled.
They have a ration of these - these pellets every day.
And we do put extra supplements on.
They do graze in summer.
They get grass and we cut branches to feed for the giraffes.
But your guys are browsing on acacia all day.
That's right, all day.
For us to go out and cut that amount to feed them is very difficult,
so we just supplement them.
Despite the differences in feeding, Patrick is impressed.
I've seen your giraffes,
and you looking at ours and saying the condition is the same.
-Yes, the same.
-It's really nice, we're doing the right thing.
-You're doing the right thing.
-We're obviously getting it right.
Some of the other animals are even more difficult
to look after in captivity.
We'll see what Patrick makes of the rest of the park later on.
Back over at the lion house, Yendi is nursing her newborn cubs.
At just a week old, they need her constant attention.
Keeper Bob Trollope is worried that her older cub, Malaika,
might harm the young ones.
So he's had to separate her from her mother and new siblings.
Malaika is out with the rest of the pride,
which is fine because Luna keeps an eye on her and looks after her.
It's working. We're lucky that we've got Malaika and Jasira,
who are only a couple of months difference in age.
So they've got each other.
And Dad's being quite good.
He's quite chilled. He'll tolerate them a little bit more than normal.
Whether it's because he knows what's going on,
or whether he's just being nice, I don't know.
He seems to tolerate them a little bit.
In their natural habitat, where food is scarce,
young lions rarely survive without a mother to look after them.
In the wild, if she was pregnant,
the other cub would have to fend for itself and most probably die.
Unless there's another - some cubs of that age.
Because he wouldn't have anyone to look after him.
At feeding time, Bob must keep a close eye on Malaika,
to make sure she doesn't go hungry.
The lions compete for the choicest chunks of meat,
but there should be enough for everyone.
Luna is still making sure that her own cub, Jasira, has plenty of food.
But poor little Malaika must learn to fend for herself.
No, you just walked past one.
But eventually Malaika gets her dinner.
She's happy at the moment. She's got something to eat.
She's obviously gonna
nip off on her own so no-one else can pinch her meat.
It's a good sign, because that's what we want to see.
It's good news.
Malaika is coping well while Mum Yendi's
looking after her new litter.
It's brilliant to have some more little ones to keep an eye on.
It's only going to get more exciting.
We've got all the rigmarole of growing up to go through again.
Jasira and Malaika meeting up close for the very first time.
So it's something to look forward to.
We'll be following the progress of Kabir's expanding pride
later in the series.
Over at Pets' Corner, there's another new arrival.
It's the newest member of the Meet The Creatures team -
a baby Chilean rose tarantula.
Despite its reputation,
this tarantula is not dangerous to humans.
Nevertheless, I think I'll leave it to head of section Darren Beasley
to do the introductions.
-It's very small.
-Yes, this is a Chilean rose tarantula,
which is the variety we like most at Pets' Corner.
These are the ones that all our visitors handle.
And this is what we call a sub-adult.
It's a young spider.
Um...and, basically, we get them in fairly small, fairly young.
When they are born in captivity they are actually called spiderlings.
-Spiderlings! Oh, that's quite sweet!
-Tiny little things.
And then the breeders separate them off as they get
older because I'm afraid they'll eat anything they can grab.
So they might eat each other, and you have a few problems there.
As they get to this sub-adult size here,
they are ideal for us because we can start handling them.
-If I show you...
-This is the bit I dread.
He's probably fairly quick, this one. I say he, it's probably a she.
Let's, just, just while we've got this beautiful view of him or her.
Ooh, there she goes.
Chilean rose presumably because of this beautiful pink colour?
It comes in different shades as well,
and changes slightly as they get older.
This sort of a rose pink. The name says it all.
And you've got to remember that all these hairs have a job to do.
It looks nice to us, but in fact the hairs are very important.
-The hairs on the back - is it all right if I pick her up?
-No, do, do.
She's not really used to being handled,
-so I've got to go very careful.
-She is quite speedy.
She's very fast. Come on, sweetheart.
Ooh-ooh! Don't get her too close to me!
The thing with spiders you have to remember is
that they've got terrible vision. This species...
But they've got so many eyes!
I know, eight eyes. See 'em right in the middle at the top there?
Right in the middle, at the back there.
But they see, we think, about 30cms on average, which is terrible.
So they rely on all the hairs at the front.
They are sensory hairs and they can sense chemicals
-and air pressure and things like that.
I'm quite often asked, do they sense adrenalin?
Because people that handle them are often scared.
They probably can, but it's more for their safety.
They're checking what's around, if there's a fast movement.
They can't see it. They can feel the change in air pressure.
I picked her up from underneath?
-So my hands really are a surface.
She's checking to see what chemicals I've got on, and am I a danger.
And the front two...
The sort of shorter legs, almost...?
That's it. They are actually like little feelers.
A bit like you'd use a stick to guide yourself if it was dark.
She just taps the floor to make sure the ground is nice and solid.
And in the wild, what would she eat?
Do they spin webs like other spiders?
Yes, the web comes out of the back, from the two finger-like things
And the idea is that if her little web is triggered,
she'll jump out and grab her dinner.
And again, using sensory hairs to follow her prey as well.
If it comes too close, or she comes across a trail,
she'll track it and grab it.
And what type of thing would she eat?
Would it be small insects like flies and things, or...?
I think spiders have got it completely worked out,
cos they will eat all -
anything small enough they can grab.
And they use their venom.
They've got very mild venom, these guys, like a bee sting for us.
They'll bite it, and if it's a large prey, or anything they can
come back to, they wrap it in cobweb, and it's like a pre-digester.
-Sounds really terrible...!
-Wow! So they're sort of marinating it?
That's it! And then they'll come back and they'll drink the soup later on.
She might be fairly small.
She's going to get perhaps half this size again as she grows,
but already she could take a large cricket and even a locust
if she was to grab it strong enough, and wrap it, and come back later on.
She's a fascinating creature, Darren, absolutely beautiful.
I love looking at her while you're handling her,
but I think I've got too much adrenalin for her to be comfortable!
Darren, thank you very much.
And enjoy your time at Longleat, little spider.
Do you want to go back in?
No, stay there, you look prettier.
Back at the rhino house, visiting Kenyan ranger Patrick Lengilili
is continuing his tour of inspection.
Patrick is familiar with white rhino,
which roam freely on the Kigio Reserve where he works.
But he seldom gets to see them at close quarters.
To find out how they are cared for in here in Wiltshire,
he's come to meet keeper Kevin Nibbs.
When you let these guys out in the morning,
do you have difficulty getting them in again in the evening?
Not really, no, we've got an old tractor with a big metal plate
on the front to manoeuvre them in and out.
It's almost part of the rhino herd.
That kind of moves them in and out.
They work a lot for food.
We feed them in here at night so they know where their main food is.
-Where the food is.
-The good food, the nice food.
Keepers here face a problem unknown in Kenya -
how to keep the rhino's skin healthy in a cold climate.
They get a lot of additives into the pony cubes that they get.
We give them lots of oils, like linseed oil,
which is supposed to help their skin.
He's had very bad skin, it's all very dry.
By doing things with the diet, bits of oils and things like that,
we're trying to help him out with his skin.
At 38 years old, the park's veteran bull, Winston,
is an incredibly impressive specimen.
He's really huge and enormous.
I haven't seen such a big animal like that before.
So, I'm just telling them he must be the founder of this place here.
This guy is really huge! Big!
There we go.
Keeper Adrian Lanfear is responsible for letting
Winston out into the enclosure, where he'll spend most of the day.
A little help from Winston there. That's it.
It's just like he was waiting for the door to be opened
and then he comes straight in!
Winston's temperament is much gentler than the wild rhino
Patrick is used to.
It is really amazing how you can just call him.
"Winston." He calls him and then he just walks on.
Here he comes!
The safari boats are Patrick's next port of call,
and a chance for him to see something completely new.
Jo Hawthorne and Darren Beasley are keen to show him the surprises
of Half Mile Lake.
SEA LION BARKS
-Is it a sea lion?
-They follow you. They'll follow us out.
HE IMITATES SEA LION'S BARKING
Patrick is fascinated by the sea lions,
and keen to learn more about how they are cared for.
We're very lucky that our sea lions have lived here for many years
and this is a freshwater lake.
Normally they'd live in the oceans
so we give them salt tablets in their diet.
That just makes up for the lack of salt in the water.
Nico and Samba are Western Lowland Gorillas, which do hail from Africa.
But they live in tropical rainforests many hundreds
of miles from Patrick's home,
so he's never had the chance to see the species before.
Nico! Nico! He's come to greet you, look.
-What a welcome from Nico!
I've never seen this before.
The next lake residents Patrick spots
are some of the most dangerous animals in Africa.
In Kenya, they kill more people than lions.
-How do we track a hippo?
I don't like these guys! They want to kick you!
Patrick's clearly enjoying his voyage of discovery around the park.
I've seen sea lion, hippos and gorillas.
I've never seen gorillas before.
So it's really nice. I really enjoyed that.
That was really nice. Thank you very much.
It was really lovely.
But Patrick's visit isn't over yet.
There are still a host of animals he has yet to see.
Kate and I are up in the giraffe room
with head of section Andy Hayton.
And we have a most unusual task.
And quite a painful one, even with gloves on! You didn't tell me this!
What on Earth are we stuffing nettles in a cage for?
This is environment enrichment for the giraffes.
Not only are nettles good green food and full of iron,
but it's really good enrichment for the giraffes.
We put the main bulk of their feed in the troughs.
But this is giraffe TV. They can sit here all night, picking away at this.
Ooh! And my hair! Hang on!
They'll pick away at this through the night,
so we make this really difficult for them to get at.
-We ram it in. They'll pick all night. They love them.
-They can't wait!
I have to ask, does it not sting their tongue or their lips?
Obviously not. We stick some really big, nasty thistles in here as well.
And they really go for them well.
You're presumably going to hang it from the...?
We hang it high, so it spins around,
so it's really, really awkward for them.
-You don't make it easy for them at all!
They're all waiting for it.
As this swings around and spins as well, it's really tough.
That should last the night, should it?
Hopefully that'll last most of the evening, yes.
-They're coming in straight away.
-Look at that!
We're going to leave the giraffes to their nettle browse.
Sadly, that's all we've got time for on today's programme.
But here's what's coming up on the next Animal Park.
There hasn't been a baby eland in the park for eight years,
but could that be about to change?
Oh my word! Goodness me!
I'll be meeting the world's largest rats,
who can grow up to a whopping two-and-a-half feet long.
-That's about the size of a cat!
-Yeah, big, big tomcat!
And visiting Kenyan ranger Patrick Lengilili gets up close and personal
with the park's real big cats.
Feeding a tiger, hand-feeding - that's unusual!
That's all coming up on the next Animal Park.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd - 2007
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