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Hello, and welcome to Animal Park.
-I'm Kate Humble...
-..and I'm Ben Fogle,
and we're travelling on the train that was specially built for Longleat over 30 years ago.
And it's still going strong today.
In fact, it's so popular with visitors
they had to bring in a special diesel train to cope with passenger numbers.
While we continue our tour, here's what's coming up on today's programme.
This baby Bactrian camel was born with a dodgy leg.
Will he learn to stand up for himself?
It's breeding time at the aviary.
And not an ugly duckling in sight.
And Ben steps boldly into the line's den.
Oi! Oi! Go on!
-See, when you bend down you're vulnerable.
-I feel even more vulnerable now!
alongside Ankole cattle, deer, scimitar-horned oryx and white rhino,
live Longleat's six Bactrian camels.
Native to the Gobi Desert
and plains of central Asia, Bactrian camels have evolved
to withstand one of the most extreme climate in the world.
Their shaggy coats protect them from driving winds and extreme cold,
allowing them to survive in temperatures as low as minus 30 degrees.
Sadly, Bactrians are now critically endangered in the wild,
so keepers are eager to breed them in the park.
There are five females living here,
and one adolescent male called Khan.
Khan join the herd just two years ago, as a calf.
Keepers thought it would be a few years yet before he reached sexual maturity.
But today, to the keeper's surprise,
one of the females has started showing some unusually broody behaviour.
What we've noticed this morning is that Bali, one of out Bactrian camels,
has been going away from the group,
and she had been showing an enormous amount of restlessness.
She goes right away, and she appears to be looking for somewhere to give birth.
That, coupled with the size of her udder,
is really suggesting to me that she's very close to calving.
The baby could arrive any time now,
so Tim and deputy head of section, Kevin Nibbs,
set to work turning the stable into a comfy nursery.
With an imminent birth, we have to make sure we can get the pens prepared for her,
for comfort, and we have to watch her, to make sure that when she gives birth
she looks after it properly.
If she doesn't, we can step in and help her in any way we need to.
We're talking hours rather than anything else.
I think it's imminent, really.
Once the pen is ready, Bali is brought into the house with a her mum, Mrs Bruce, for company.
Now all we do is leave her quiet and let nature take its course.
Now, all Tim and Kevin can do is wait
and see if tomorrow will bring a brand-new Bactrian baby.
All over the park, the breeding season is underway, and baby animals are emerging into the sunshine.
Over at the aviary, the sacred ibis are getting broody.
Last year, they successfully raised four chicks, even though they made their nests on the ground
and ignored the specially built nesting platforms.
Come on, guys, come and get your nests!
'Not long ago, I won't down with keeper Michele Stephens
'to make sure they had enough sticks to make their nests again this year.
'A few weeks have passed and now I want to see if our hard work has encouraged the ibis to breed.
'So, on a windy spring day I've come down to check on their progress.'
I'm in the aviary with the head of section Mark Tye, and spring has definitely come.
-This is peak breeding season, so have they done anything?
Up in the tree up there,
-two ibis nests.
They've sensibly, this year, built up the tree.
It's difficult to tell whether they've got eggs or not.
I've seen eggs in the first nest, the lower one. There's two eggs in that one.
So I should imagine there's two eggs in the other one.
-They reared successfully last year, so I don't see why they shouldn't this year.
-That's great news.
I feel quite proud of my hand in their nest-building, then.
What about the others? Obviously, the spoonbills won't be breeding.
-No, four males.
-That won't be happening.
But you have got some really, really pretty little ducks.
We've got the white-faced whistling ducks.
-They really do make that lovely whistling call.
They're from South America through to Africa, below the Sahara.
-And look, a duckling!
-And that is a Carolina duckling.
And the Carolinas, which ones are they?
The female's the...for want of a better word, the boring brown one...
-It's always the way.
-..and the male is the fancy black with white stripes.
Oh, it's beautiful.
-Just one duckling?
-Just one, yes, unfortunately.
But we have got two other females sitting up in the nest boxes,
which are probably due out in the next few days.
It seems like you've got a big collection in here, a big number of birds.
Birds from all over the world.
Obviously, they seem to be mixing quite well.
We don't really have any problems, apart from with the whistlers.
They seem to get quite agitated
-when any of the others bring ducklings out.
-Yeah. They can be quite aggressive.
-They can get almost territorial?
-Yes, they do.
But the nice thing is, we brought four more in this last winter, of the whistling ducks,
and they seem to have all paired up, and that may help.
Quite a lot of water birds do pair up, it's thought, for life.
Do you see evidence of that amongst this collection?
I've seen it with the whistlers.
They definitely seem to have stayed with the same mates so far.
And the ringed teal have definitely stayed together.
It's difficult to know with the Carolinas, they're a bit of a mob.
We've got a few too many males.
We can't leave out the flamingos,
which are, I have to say, over the two, three years they've been here,
they've gone from being... I hate to say it, but they were slightly dowdy,
not terribly exciting-looking birds, to really magnificent proper pink flamingos now.
When we first brought them in,
most of them were between one and three years old.
They were all juveniles with this browny colour to them.
Now they're all coming up to sexual maturity, they're all adult birds.
Does that mean there's a chance that they will breed this year?
I think maybe it's a bit much to expect of them this year.
They have to be breed, really, as a whole group.
I think some of them are too young for that.
Right. They look beautiful.
It's the most joyous thing, just to sit here
in the sunshine, looking at birds with Eland in the background.
-You do have the nicest section in the park.
-I think I do.
Mark, thank you very much.
The most dangerous animals in all of Longleat are the lions.
Weighing up to 450lb and able to run up to 35mph,
these great cats are some of nature's most fearsome predators.
They're armed with 30 teeth for cutting and tearing,
and claws sharp enough to rip through any animal hide.
No-one knows them better than their keepers,
who usually prefer to keep a solid barrier between themselves and their charges.
Sometimes, though, they've no choice but to get up close and personal.
And lucky me, today, I'm going with them.
I'm out in the lion enclosure with keeper Bob Trollope,
who has a rather unusual task today.
Bob, what are we doing in middle of the enclosure?
We're picking up samples.
Obviously, it's something we have to do from time to time.
It's purely for worming purposes.
So you're going to examine their faeces, basically?
All we have to do is collect them and they're sent off to the vet's to examine, and we get the results.
That's not as easy as going out in your garden and picking up after your dog or cat, is it?
We are out here.
-This is Charlie's pride, is it?
-This is Charlie's pride.
Charlie and six females, just a short distance away from us.
They are a matter of 30ft away.
Yeah, it's a bound away.
They could obviously get us.
So we probably don't want to hang on too long.
We've got deputy head warden Ian Turner here. Ian, I don't want to distract you,
but you're keeping a close eye on them.
Are there any things we should look out for? Any warning signs?
You can see, that one,
the one walking across, she isn't too worried.
But there's one that's half sprung.
-Yes, you can see her haunches up.
She's getting bit closer now.
-Who is that?
-Yes, that's Skye.
We should probably move on quite quickly.
Stand back a minute, just in case she does decide to...
Where are you going?
Go on, go away.
We've got all the doors open so we can jump into any of the vehicles.
We've two extra patrol vehicles here.
Because we are right near them.
OK. I suppose we have to find some first.
We know that Charlie did leave us a little something earlier.
-So there it is. It's just down there.
-It's a little bit closer.
I've got some gloves on. Am I OK going a bit closer?
Yeah, you're fine. I'll keep an eye on them while you're picking up.
-You only want a piece...
-If you get back...
-Oi! Go on!
OK. This is rather a tense moment.
One of the lions has just got up. She was the one that was waiting.
It's curiosity, a lot of it.
Obviously, when you bend down, you're vulnerable.
So that's why we've got all this security.
I feel even more vulnerable now!
-You'll be fine.
-Are we still safe doing this? You must say if...
Yes. We've got to pick it up so we might as well do it now.
-Shall I just grab...?
-Just grab a piece.
-Just put it in the pot.
-It's quite stinky stuff!
It's really fresh.
That was the quickest collection I've ever done.
Quickly, so we don't have to spend longer than we need here,
this will go off to the lab, and what are you looking for?
They'll try and find worm eggs. They count them.
Anything below 50 is safe.
50 is a good count. Anything above that we worm for.
We do worm on a regular basis, anyway.
So this is just to check their overall health and well-being?
-Just to see what else might be in this?
It's mainly for worms, so we can keep them fit and healthy.
I think it's time to beat a hasty retreat.
We have to do this in the next pride as well?
-Yeah. We have to pick some from each section.
-As if that wasn't enough!
Thanks, Bob. Thanks, Ian.
Back at the camel barn, there's excitement in the air.
Yesterday, Bactrian Bali started showing signs
that she was ready to give birth.
First thing this morning, head of section Tim Yeo went to check,
and found what he was hoping for.
I heard, as I was approaching, and looked in
and there was the little one.
Mum standing over him.
I think it was actually sucking the wool at the time.
The little boy looks healthy but there's a problem.
I don't think he wants to get up!
He should be on his feet and feeding by now.
That animal has to drink the vital colostrum,
the first milk that comes through from the mother.
That milk holds the antibodies which help to build up an immunity
to different ailments that a camel may be subjected to.
So it's vitally important that they do,
and I think it's probably
within the first three hours that they need to have that colostrum.
Worryingly, Tim notices a weakness in one of the calf's hind legs,
which is making him unsteady on his feet.
The calf, having been folded up, miraculously, inside the uterus,
it's rather crooked when it comes out.
It's not fully straightened up.
That can hamper the calf from standing up properly.
Tim wants to interfere as little as possible,
but the baby must get up and feed soon.
He decides to support the leg with a bandage.
Tim tries again to encourage the calf to suckle.
But even with the support the little camel is just not steady enough on his feet to manage it.
He's still going out a bit on that.
With the calf still unsteady on his feet and weak from hunger,
Tim decides he's going to have to take matters into his own hands.
I'll just try and take some milk off her, see if I can.
If the calf doesn't begin to suckle, keepers may have to step in and hand-rear him.
But the baby will need to be fed every three hours for months to come.
Hand-rearing would be a huge task and could lead to more problems
down the road, as Tim knows from bitter experience.
The last calf born in the park was Alema.
She had to be hand-reared because her mother rejected her.
Although she grew up strong and healthy, she was a bit confused about her identity.
For a while she bonded with the Ankole cattle and used to follow them around.
Tim's done all he can to help the young camel bond with his mother and begin to feed by himself.
Now he can only hope that hand-rearing won't be necessary.
Now we just go and leave her alone.
But I would like to see very much a situation
where we look in and we see the little one feeding from mum.
We know then that everything we've done this morning has been OK and we haven't mucked anything up
and it's helped and...that's it. We'll be happy then.
We'll be back to see if the new baby Bactrian
will begin to feed from mum, or whether he'll end up on the bottle.
Longleat's great house was built in the late 16th century
by Sir John Thynne, an ancestor of the current Lord Bath.
For more than 400 years since then, the Thynne family have collected
an astonishing array of antiques and artwork.
There are more than 500 paintings here, including
portraits of many of the great and the good throughout English history who had connections with the house.
I'm on the grand staircase with curator Kate Harris and we've come
to look at a portrait which has recently come back from restoration. This is the portrait here?
Yes. It's a portrait of Ambrose Dudley, Earl of Warwick.
-It's been away for just over two years.
The Dudleys were one of the most important families in England during the reign of Elizabeth the First.
Ambrose Dudley was Earl of Warwick.
The young man is his brother's illegitimate son.
As neither of the Dudleys had surviving legitimate sons,
it was decided that this boy would be heir to the family title and fortunes.
The Earl and his young successor are portrayed standing on a battlefield, ready for action.
So this painting is saying "I am big, I am brave..."
and is it also recognising this boy as a potential heir?
I think that is very true.
He has a stunning little state-of-the-art pistol there.
This is not just a page, this is the heir.
-It's very patriarchal, isn't it?
-Indeed it is.
You said, the way the portrait is NOW - what do you mean by that?
In the course of restoration, we made several major discoveries.
X-rays showed that the major figure, Ambrose, was very differently presented in the original picture.
-So you've had the whole painting x-rayed?
We've had 24 x-rays done during restoration.
-We can go upstairs and have a look.
-That would be great!
-Uncovering a mystery!
The painting came to Longleat in the 17th century
when heirs of the Dudleys married into the Thynne Family.
It's hung here for centuries.
Until recently, no one suspected it might have hidden secrets.
The key thing about the restoration
and the x-rays is to show this major change in the picture.
The X-rays reveal that underneath the surface
is another layer of paint which made up an earlier image.
Basically, what you've discovered is that there was an original portrait
of Dudley and this one is a new one that has been painted over the top.
Not entirely new but an adapted version to present a very different, much stronger image.
Here, you've got a third hand and a stick.
So rather than holding the spear
in this strong and aggressive fashion,
he was shown with a spear in the background, leaning on a stick.
The background has also been changed from an interior scene to show Ambrose Dudley and his heir standing
in front of a military tent, probably at the siege of Newhaven,
a battle at which Ambrose had been injured.
So he was gravely wounded at Newhaven. He was shot in the leg
and was never right afterwards. He never commanded in the field again.
-So showing him leaning on a stick is quite realistic.
-It's unusual, isn't it?
Don't people usually try to make themselves look much more beautiful or grand?
That's what they decided to do in the second version.
He was then the sole representative of the Dudley dynasty with his
younger brother's illegitimate son next to him, as their sole hope now.
So he's shown in this much more gung-ho fashion.
Wouldn't it have been more sensible, for someone as rich as this,
just to have thrown that old portrait away and had a completely new one done?
We are trying to make up our mind. There are two possibilities that we're playing with.
One is that they needed the picture very quickly...
-So they had the bare bones of it and could just do a quick...
So for some occasion they needed to have this new dynastic picture.
Or that Ambrose was so ill that he was not available to sit for a new version.
So they just had to make it up.
They are only hypotheses. We don't know. But there must be some explanation.
That was absolutely fascinating.
Incredible to think that after all these years you've discovered this whole new story about this painting.
Thank you very much indeed.
Back at the camel barn, a week has passed since the first Bactrian calf born here for three years
came into the world with a weak hind leg.
The calf could not feed properly.
Head of section Tim Yeo was worried that his mother might reject him.
Thankfully, over the last few days, the situation has improved dramatically for the young camel.
Mother and calf have been allowed outside into a temporary paddock.
To his keeper's delight, the baby has been seen suckling properly.
Today, it's time for safari park vet Duncan Williams to give him his first check-up.
So did you put a bandage on, to give it some more support?
-She was flipping over...?
-He was right over.
-Or he, sorry.
-Yes. He was right over.
-Shall we take it off and..?
What Tim is describing is just a weakness in the ligaments.
I think this joint was just collapsing forward
as the baby was putting weight on it.
That tends to strengthen as the calf gets stronger.
The ligaments and the tendons firm up a bit as the calf gets stronger.
Thankfully, the leg has healed well.
Otherwise, he is fit and healthy.
MUSIC: "All Shook Up" by Elvis Presley
Now that he has survived the tricky first week, the keepers have decided to give him a name.
I understand you're going to call him Elvis?
Well, the other members of staff are
keen on the name. I'm not quite sure.
You're not an Elvis fan?
Oh, I am.
Young Elvis is already showing a different character to the shaky newborn of a week ago.
Now, the little calf is ready for his next big step.
He is making his debut in the enclosure.
Once the baby goes out, he is going to be very inquisitive of other animals.
He will want to go up and approach them. Some of those animals may not want to be approached.
It's going to be a hair-raising event, I think!
Tim will have to keep a close eye on the calf so he doesn't try to
get too friendly with the heavyweights of the enclosure,
like the white rhino or the Ankole cattle.
Come on then. Come on, girls!
Once the baby is out, Tim takes up his position nearby, ready to intervene if he heads into danger.
It really is a serious matter when he goes in,
particularly as he just takes off into the middle of those cattle
and all that one has got to do is give a sharp hook with a horn.
We've had it happen before.
The baby took them into trouble and the mother tried to...
to protect the baby
and one of the bull Ankole just, as the mother went by,
flicked his horn and disembowelled her, literally.
She did survive, miraculously,
but it was nasty.
Suddenly, young Elvis heads straight towards the Ankole herd, forcing his mum to follow.
Tim jumps into action.
It's a nightmare, because you don't know where he's going to go next.
To manoeuvre a vehicle, you often don't get it right first time and you're praying that nothing happens.
The scare is over. It's been a bumpy first week for Elvis,
but now he is safely out in the enclosure with the herd.
Tim can look forward to watching him grow up.
It's a joy to see them out on a day like this.
The weather makes everything, and the time of year.
All in all, I think it's fine.
It's a good picture at the moment.
We'll catch up with Elvis's progress later in the series.
We're down in Pets Corner with head of section Darren Beasley
and one of the enormous African pouch rats
-we're trying to take for a walk, but...
-He wants to go that way!
He wants to walk me rather than the other way round!
They are amazing looking animals.
But this is fairly new for them, this walking.
We've only done this a few times, getting them used to the soft halter.
We will start bringing them out and hopefully let the visitors walk them around as well.
Is this the one that seems to be responding better?
Are they both equally good?
We have one which is very feisty, which is this fella.
It's all very new coming out and they're not very friendly at the moment.
They have massive teeth.
-So they could give you a nasty bite?
-I have special gloves just in case!
-We need to keep our feet and legs a bit clear?
Fantastic. Thank you very much.
-Shall we continue?
-Do you want to have a go?
Sadly, that's all we have time for.
Here's what's coming up on the next Animal Park. Come on, Ratty!
The rare Pere David stag has got its antlers in a twist...
Oh, I hit him, did I?
Tim Yeo has to take drastic action.
We catch up with the new arrivals.
At the camel barn, Bactrian baby Elvis has bounced onto the scene,
while out in the paddock there are three new kids on the block.
And I have a rare opportunity
to get a close look at the new wolf cubs at just five days old.
That's all coming up on the next Animal Park.
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