Ben Fogle and Kate Humble explore life at Longleat safari park. The vet performs an emergency operation on Lily the pygmy goat, and Ben reports on Longleat's mass incubator.
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Hello and welcome to Animal Park. I'm Kate Humble...
..and I'm Ben Fogle. And we're up on the roof of Longleat House.
And it is extremely impressive.
38,000 square feet, and these chimneys,
and there are 99 of them, have all been hand-crafted from Bath stone.
But I think the most special thing about being up here, are the views across the estate.
They are spectacular. We'll be bringing you stories
from not around the house but the entire safari park. Coming up today -
A life and death situation when the vet has to perform an emergency operation.
There's the before... and the after, when I find out how to turn eggs into chicks.
And we'll discover what Mike, Michelle
and Little Mandu the marmoset make of the world's favourite pongs.
But now, across the safari park, the keepers
are always trying to find ways to enrich the lives of their animals.
That could be building a climbing frame for the pygmy goats,
hanging up unusual food for the giraffes to browse,
or making a giant scratching post for the lions to play with.
As one of our closest relatives in the animal kingdom, the gorillas need plenty of mental stimulation.
Keeper Michelle Stevens is constantly trying to come up with something to keep them interested.
It's very much like trying to stimulate young child.
You've always got to be on the ball with them,
you always have to think of new ideas to keep them entertained.
And that's quite a large part of the job.
To keep our gorillas enriched we have a TV in the house which is quite unusual.
They seem to enjoy it.
It gives some things to look at.
It also gives them feed enrichment as well.
We scatter food around the island and create little puzzles
for them to fathom as well.
Anything to increase the amount of time they forage for their food,
which is what they do in the wild,
that is what we have to try and replicate in captivity.
Nico the silverback male, and Samba the female, are both complicated characters.
There's always something to learn with gorillas and they're always learning something about you.
It's a constant relationship which is building all the time.
They get to know you and you get to know them and their little habits as well.
I've only been there for two years and I'm still learning all the time.
Michelle has also expanded her education recently with a specialist animal management course.
In her studies she's heard of an experiment
that was done to see if primates recognize images of themselves.
Researchers found that gorillas were sometimes fascinated by their reflection in a mirror.
So this morning Michelle's trying it with Nico, to see if it gets him thinking.
That sort of noise is what he makes very rarely, when he watches chimpanzees on TV.
So whether he's thinking, "This is another silverback looking at me, I'm territorial," or, my guess is,
that he knows it is him, and he's just reacting to it.
It might wind him up as well if he could see himself all the time, so...
that's a reaction...
That's kind of an aggressive reaction, showing the teeth, making
himself look really big, so I think he's probably getting a little bit agitated.
Showing who's boss at the moment, I think.
'But he has come back for another look...
'he's really quite interested.'
'So Michelle's trying something else.
'Nico sees the sea lions every day,
'but what will he make of them on video?
'No reaction. What about other animals?
'But he sits up when Longleat's Rhesus Macaque monkeys come on.'
It just looks like he is really concentrating on the TV.
It just sort of...
he's really focusing on something, trying to work it out, I think.
Trying to make out what it is.
It seems to me that he knows it's a primate.
Because he seems to respond to this and not to sea lions or the horses.
'So, what will the gorillas make of a video of themselves?
'Hopefully, they will find it stimulating viewing.'
I took a video of the gorillas and showed it back to them and they were quite receptive to it.
They did actually what it quite intently, especially Nico again.
He sat with arms crossed and watched the whole thing.
I showed him other videos of other things and he has not shown
any interest. He has actually walked away. So I think he knows it's him.
It is hard to know what Nico's thinking, but he is glued to the telly.
That's the same noise that we were hearing when we showed him the mirror.
He's probably just interested to see what he looks like.
He probably recognises the logs and everything as well and the actual island.
'But suddenly, something breaks the spell.'
HE HITS THE WALL
That was a good reaction.
He's just basically getting a bit agitated and little bit...
unnerved and he wants it to end, I think.
In fact, it's time to go out for the day anyway.
The gorillas were fascinated with themselves on video,
even if Nico decided in the end that he didn't like that show.
It's a really good response, especially with the mirror as well.
I didn't think they'd be that interested, to be honest.
I knew they'd have a look but didn't think it would keep their attention for that long.
They are creatures that do recognise their own reflection and they're very intelligent.
It's everything I thought it would be, actually.
For Michelle it's been an interesting experiment,
and for the gorillas it may well have given them something to think about for the rest of the day.
For some of the residents just having a grassy patch
and a few friends around is all the enrichment they need.
The guinea fowl is a ground-dwelling bird from Africa,
and at Longleat, they range free all across the East Africa Reserve.
And as they go, they lay free-range eggs.
Ben's gone to find out what happens to them.
I've come up to the incubation house was Senior Warden Bev Evans.
And a collection of eggs. What are these actually for...?
-These are from our guinea-fowl.
-Wow. So they were laid...
-Around the giraffe area.
-I had to search everywhere for them.
-And why are we here?
-We've brought them to be incubated.
Hiding in here is head of section Mark Tye. Good morning, Mark.
What is Mark going to do with these?
Hopefully incubate them if you've got some room?
-We've got plenty of room.
-What are you looking for with these eggs and what does incubation involve?
Firstly, what we need to look for straight away is that they're clean and not deformed at all.
Sometimes you can get calcification not all over the shell which would indicate a poor quality egg.
These all look pretty good to me.
And then we need to put them in the machine and 28 days later,
out pop some chicks.
So we have a few things there, 28 days is the period it will take
for a chick to hatch. But why can we not just leave these out and about around the estate?
One of the reasons is they get predated by crows.
What a game bird like this will do is lay eggs, one a day over X amount of days.
The trouble is that crows are really good at finding nests and they just seal the eggs.
Is this an incubation machine? Is this where they would be put?
Yes, this is one of the specialist machines.
This one does turning and controls the humidity as well.
We can keep that at a set point.
It turns the eggs every hour. With these eggs...
I don't know, if you can turn the light out we can see...
All you can see is just a clear shell with a dark patch in the middle which is the yoke.
So there isn't a chicken there yet?
There's not an embryo in there at all at this stage.
That's what you are looking for initially.
Just a nice, dark yolk shape.
-But with some eggs over here which is a partridge and doing for Tim...
Wow, you really are... you are the egg man!
I am. You might be able to see, all these veins.
-You can see the dark bits...yes!
-See these veins?
So is that that the chick forming inside?
Yes, that's the embryo growing inside.
What happens is, the first thing you'll see at about 44 days in a partridge is a little heart beat.
-You will be able to see that?
-You'll see the heart pumping away.
And from that heart beat all these blood vessels start spreading out.
The blood vessels have to grow all around the outside and inside the shell.
And that is then their outer blood supply.
It's a bit similar to a mammal being connected to the centre.
-How many eggs do you have?
-We have about 12.
I don't know how many we are likely to get out of that.
I would hope about 80%.
-That's not bad.
-You will always find, particularly with birds that lay lots of eggs, some don't work.
-Bear in mind, these are guinea-fowl. They are not native to the UK.
-No, these are African.
How many do you have now?
-We have 34.
-Do you need more?
They do spread out a lot because they are good at free-ranging.
So 34 now, but how many of those eggs will hatch?
We'll be back later to find out.
But now, back up in the East African Reserve there's an emergency with the pygmy goats.
The vet, Duncan Williams has just arrived, and Bev Evans has been called back to help.
Lily, one of the pregnant nannies, began to go into labour yesterday.
They think she's got twins.
But almost 24 hours later, she still hasn't given birth.
There must be something wrong.
With a pygmy goat, my hand is a bit too big to get in there.
If it was a sheep or something you'd be able to lamb it quite easily.
But I can't do it. I think we will have to do a caesarean.
So it looks like the only chance to save Lily and her babies
is to perform an emergency caesarean section.
There's no time to take Lily to the surgery, so the operation will have to be performed right here.
The vet needs light, and the brightest place is actually outside in the yard.
Andy Hayton is here to help.
He's the keeper in charge of the pygmy goats.
The problems we've been having this year is that they are all inexperienced mums.
These are all their first kids. They are not pushing.
This is a uterine relaxant which makes the caesar a bit easier to do.
I think if you pop her up there... A bit of antibiotic.
Duncan's going to use a local anaesthetic because it would
be very risky to knock Lily out with a general anaesthetic.
Apart from the increased risk to her, the babies inside would also receive a dose of the drug,
and if they're already weak, that could be very dangerous.
I'm going to just do this under a local block which is fine.
We've given her a little bit of a sedative as well.
So she's a little bit dopey but not much.
Lily is a very popular goat, and Bev's the keeper who knows her best.
Lily's one of our friendliest goats.
She's always quite pleased to get a bit of attention.
She looks fine. She's quite calm.
A little bit dopey because of the sedative.
But she seems fine.
But now, Duncan's ready to make the incision.
OK, just feeling in there for the uterus.
I'll grab the inside of the uterus.
It takes just moments to get the first baby out.
There's no sign of life.
-It's dead, isn't it?
-Swinging the baby is to clear fluid from the lungs.
Massaging is to encourage the heart to start.
Now the second baby is out.
Still no signs of life.
But there was never any hope. By the time he starts to do the sutures, Duncan has discovered what happened.
Unfortunately, the placenta was detached already, so the kids had died in the uterus.
Probably some time during the night, because she didn't get on with it.
What we're doing now is just sewing her up.
We'll sew up the uterus first and then we'll sew up the skin.
Mothers don't normally die from a caesarean but it can happen
if they get peritonitis or something but she's perfectly healthy.
An hour later, Lily is back indoors.
Bev is sitting with her.
She's looking surprisingly well considering what she has just been through.
She was only on a light sedation anyway.
So she had already stood up and we put her in this giraffe box for now
to give her a bit of time on her own.
We've been able to save Lil,
and she's fine in herself, so that is a bonus.
So Lily survived, and she was soon on the mend.
A week later she was well enough to go out, and rejoin the rest of the herd.
Down in Pets' Corner, Jo Hawthorne is preparing a new kind of enrichment,
aimed at stimulating what is for many animals the most interesting of all the senses - smell.
Jo is putting some of our favourite scents, various herbs and spices,
into a basket to see what the marmosets make of them.
They've got three Geoffroy's tufted-eared marmosets here -
a rare species from Brazil.
Mike and Michelle came to Longleat four years ago
and now have their two-year-old daughter Mandu living with them.
Marmosets are part of the monkey family,
so having something new to keep their minds busy is very important.
Kate's gone to see if Jo's basket gets them thinking.
-You've got lavender here.
-Yes, we've got lavender growing in Pets' Corner, and it's got quite a strong smell.
Nutmeg, which we use for cooking.
I've tried to stick to things that aren't too...
..that would actually put them off.
Like a peppery thing that would make them sneeze.
Yeah, that you and me wouldn't want to get a noseful of, I tried to stay away from.
Ginger. Again, that's quite a nice smell - to you and me. I don't know...
Cinnamon, again going for a really nice natural smell.
And sage, which is also natural, from plants.
-So, who knows?
-That's Dad, Mikey.
-He's having a good look at the sage on the end there.
-He is, isn't he?
He can obviously smell it, because he's having a good look.
Do you think he's rejecting it because there's no food in there?
It is literally just the powders.
He might well do.
There's nothing visibly edible there.
It might be that he's thinking, "Mm..."
-Who's this coming up now?
-This is Mandu now.
-This is baby.
Mandu always comes in after Dad.
-She's having a look.
-She's definitely having a sniff.
She's taking the paper!
Ooh, no, she's...
-She's definitely curious.
Much more than Dad, actually.
Oh, she's got some on her nose!
Oh, she's licking it!
-Ooh, what's that?
-That's the ginger.
She's trying to get that off her nose. Poor little thing.
-She's had a taste.
-She's tasted it.
Oh, she's going back for more!
Nope, leapt it.
Oh, no, she is, she's having a look.
She's definitely intrigued by this, isn't she?
She kind of went to get it off her nose.
-She didn't recoil in disgust, did she?
Mum is staying resolutely inside.
She's not interested at all.
She's a bit of a grump like that. She's kind of, whatever they're doing, I don't want to know.
I tend to find with her, if I'm doing something and I leave it out for days, she'll come in days after
and come out and look, and go, "That's the deal, is it?"
Initially she's a bit fearful of things like that.
She's the sensible one of the three.
It doesn't surprise me that she hasn't gone anywhere near it.
-A bit of a result.
It was a bit of a result. It was very interesting.
Mikey having a look...
but not having a taste.
Mandu getting her face in it.
-Mandu was thinking, "OK, I'll just do it."
-Jo, thank you very much.
That was fascinating. Go on, Michelle. You can have a try.
'The scent basket may not have been an instant hit
'with the whole family, but it has given the marmosets something new to investigate...
'and that's what enrichment is all about.'
Over the last four centuries, 13 generations of the Thynne family
have been doing home improvements on Longleat House.
Today we're going to investigate the one who's left the biggest mark
on the interior of the house.
His name was Alexander Thynne, and he was the fourth Marquess of Bath.
He inherited Longleat in 1837,
the same year that Queen Victoria came to the throne.
After a proper education at Eton and Oxford, Alexander set off
on what had become de rigeur for the well-bred Englishman,
the Grand Tour of Europe.
It had a profound affect on him.
The present Lord Bath, who has the same name, knows all about it.
Once he'd done his Grand Tour,
he saw the magnificent ceilings, the Renaissance ceilings
in Venice and other places, and he suddenly felt,
"That is the decor that should be here,"
because the house was inspired from that period.
So on the public side the ceilings all changed.
The public, or state, rooms take up about a third of the house,
and the lavish ceilings often get comments from the visitors.
So the house guides, like Rachel Appleby, feature them prominently on their tours.
Starting with the ceiling above us, we have a very grand ceiling in here.
The paintings up there came from a Venetian palace,
they're by the School of Titian,
bought by the 4th Marquess, instructed by his designer,
who was a man called Crace, a very important designer.
Crace helped the 4th Marquess in all these interiors.
He had a passion for Italy.
John Dibblee Crace helped the 4th Marquess
turn nine of the grandest rooms of Longleat
into a kind of Victorian version
of some great palace from Renaissance Italy.
Above us, the ceiling is another of Crace's ceilings.
The inspiration for this was a palace in Rome. The Palazzo Massimo.
It was important that the house should make a big impression
because the 4th Marquess mixed in very grand circles.
The Prince of Wales and Princess Alexandra are seen here
when they came for a shooting weekend in 1881.
Alexander, the 4th Marquess, is the tall one on the right.
And when they all sat down in the state dining room
the guests were always suitably impressed with the new interiors.
I think it sums up the Victorians.
it's very dramatic, it was meant to cause a stir.
And I think it probably did.
What we don't have,
that the Victorians saw,
was the atmosphere that this room would have been seen in.
All those wonderful candles that would have lit this room.
I think, if we could see it like that today,
that would be the icing on the cake.
Alexander, the 4th Marquess, died in 1896,
and since then the state rooms have remained largely unchanged.
The next marquess to have as keen an interest in interiors
was the seventh, also called Alexander.
But the present Lord Bath's renovations have been limited
to the private apartments.
The artwork he's put on the walls
and ceilings has come not from abroad but from his own mind.
So far, he's painted murals to decorate almost 20 rooms.
Recently he's been getting some extra help
from yet another relative with the same name.
Well, this is
what I do in terms of ceilings.
I'm trying to do them
in the spirit of the other side that has a lot a Baroque work
on the ceilings, making them in an ornate Italian style.
I've been getting my nephew, young Alexander, to do a mosaic
wherever I have done a mural within the nursery suite and elsewhere.
All of the ceilings are different.
They've all been done according to the theme I've suggested.
I think young Alex has made a very fine job of it.
I do the actual mural but he does the mosaic work.
Of course, the best judge of any artistic endeavour is posterity.
So in a century's time what will people think
of Lord Bath's contributions to Longleat House?
I think they certainly will feel that the different generations
have made their own marks on the decor of the house,
and decor of the garden and the decor of the park in general.
I think we've all left our fingerprints around the place.
I don't think any of us need be worried.
They're all the same sort of
messy fingerprints that knit well together.
A little over a month ago we brought a dozen of these eggs to Head of Section Mark Tye.
And now, 35 days later, I'm back with Senior Warden Bev Evans and a very smiley face!
And some of these. Have a look.
These baby chicks. Of the guinea fowl.
So how many were eventually born?
I think we have nine. Out of 12 eggs.
If the camera just pans down there in the corner, there are the new litter.
-That's not the term, is it?
A clutch of guinea fowl.
Are you happy with 80 per cent? How many...
We had 12, so to get nine out is pretty reasonable.
Were they all born over...what sort of gap between each chick?
They all started hatching...
well, one hatched two days early and all the rest were all at the same time.
Is that a problem, premature chicks?
No, it could have been that, when the eggs were brought to me, one may have been sat on already.
So it could have been slightly more developed than the others.
Or, sometimes, you just get that odd one that will be different to the rest.
Talking of different to the rest,
there are two little chicks that really stand out in there.
There's two little grey ones and then all the other colours.
Why are they different colours?
To be honest, I don't know. Probably genetics of some description.
I've had it with pheasant chicks as well.
You get 99% of them all the same colour and then you get a couple of different-coloured ones.
And how much maintenance has to go on with the chicks? Is there a lot of hands-on stuff?
No, to be honest, once they have hatched out and we can see
they've all dried out nicely, because they're very wet when they first come out,
once they've dried out we can put them out under a lamp.
So, Bev, it must be very exciting for you.
-You have 35...
-34 wild guinea fowl.
To have a whole clutch of extra ones to add to that...
Definitely. And all sorts of colours, which will bring variety.
They range like a lot.
So even 34 is quite a large number, because they're so wide-ranging it doesn't seem that much.
-It is very much hands-off, isn't it?
-Oh, yes. We feed them in the morning, and they get up to their own devices.
What sort of age will these chicks be able to...head out?
Really once they're getting up to full size and able to roost as well.
-Once they're able to get up into the trees away from predators then we let them free-range.
Well, Bev, Mark, congratulations, if that's the word.
Let's hope that these guinea fowl thrive here in Wiltshire.
We're up in Monkey Jungle with Deputy Head Warden Ian Turner.
And just over here are the water buffalo, really living up to their name, Ian!
I don't think I've ever seen them in the water before!
It has to be warm. Today's a day when you want to go in and join them because it is hot.
And this is how they get their name, is it?
Yes. The water buffalo. They like to splash and keep cool.
Because it's so hot.
Presumably, if there were lots of flies or biting insects around, that's a good way of escaping them?
That's right. It keeps all the flies off, yes. The only bit you can see is the head.
He just flicked it over his head!
-I'm very tempted to join them but I don't think it would be a good idea.
-I'm not sure it would!
Ian, thank you very much.
Sadly, that's all we have time for on this programme but here's what's coming up on the next Animal Park.
Up at the Wolf House Freda's had a new litter of cubs
but will all of them survive when she brings them outside?
The Eland herd is growing at quite a pace - we'll be meeting the new arrivals.
And we visit Howlett's Safari Park in Kent,
where Longleat's Michelle Stevens gets up close and personal
with their over-friendly elephants.
So don't miss the next Animal Park.
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Ben Fogle and Kate Humble explore life behind the scenes at Longleat Estate and Safari Park. The vet has to perform an emergency operation on Lily the pygmy goat. Lord Bath portrays his ancestor, the 4th Marquis, who left the biggest mark on Longleat. Kate discovers what the marmosets make of the world's favourite pongs, while Ben reports on Longleat's mass incubator and sees eggs turn into chicks!