Kate Humble and Ben Fogle host a special edition from Longleat Safari Park. A dangerous animal is on the loose, and there is a murder mystery to solve on Meerkat Mountain.
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Hello and welcome to Animal Park.
-I'm Kate Humble.
-And I'm Ben Fogle.
And this is the perimeter fence of the lion enclosure here at Longleat.
Now, it's 12-feet high
and designed to keep the large powerful cats safely inside.
But what if the worst case scenario were to happen and a lion DID escape?
Well, today in a special drill, Head Warden Keith Harris will be putting the keepers to the test.
But will they stay calm or will they lose their heads? We'll find out later.
In the meantime, here's what else is coming up on today's programme.
There's a murder mystery to solve on Meerkat Mountain.
And the investigation has uncovered a twist in the plot that's stranger than fiction.
We'll be getting up close and personal
with some of the most beautiful insects on Earth.
Wow, that's amazing.
And down on the farm, the student vet is going to find out what's what at lambing time.
But first, an emergency has been scheduled, and now the drama is about to begin.
Well, it's early morning outside the lion enclosure here.
As you can see, it's firmly closed up.
I'm waiting for keeper Bob Trollope so that we can go out on patrol,
within the lion enclosure, count them, and something tells me one of them is going to be missing.
The different areas and departments at Longleat are called sections.
And already the staff in each section have begun their first jobs of the day.
For some, that's feeding, while others start with mucking out.
The keepers who look after the large carnivores have different priorities.
A lot of their routine is concerned with safety.
But there's going to be nothing routine about today, though so far everything seems normal.
I've joined Bob Trollope as he does his usual rounds.
So, Bob, obviously you do this every morning. We've just counted the wolves.
-Yeah. The first thing we do every morning is a head count.
-Obviously, as we are driving around, we do a fence check as well.
See if any trees or branches that have come across
or any other unlikely thing that might have happened.
Is that the biggest hazard then? A tree falling and crushing the fence?
As you know,
-the safari park is built in a wood...
..and no matter how well you trim the trees up,
there's always a possibility that one might
fall over or a limb might come down.
That is always a worry, that's for sure.
While Ben's out with Bob, I'm in position to follow the action in the safari park's nerve centre -
the office of Head Warden Keith Harris.
So as not to arouse suspicion at this stage, we're pretending to be here to do an interview about something else.
You can tell it's the Head Warden's office because it's got the biggest chair.
'The lion-escape drill has been kept secret from all the other staff,
'so right now we're just playing along, waiting for the emergency to begin.'
I'm glad that cameras are here because I can now prove that I do do some work.
There's lots of paper and stuff about.
'In the outer office, Deputy Head Warden Ian Turner is blissfully unaware of the impending crisis.'
There's only three people that know about this and that's me, Brian and Keith.
I've noticed Craig is coming nearer.
-This is when I tell him what is actually going on.
-What we're doing is basically a lion-escape drill.
I'll let you know that all the lions are in.
If anyone asks you or gets in contact with you, you've got to act just as surprised as we are.
-So, the first thing is to double check all the lions are in?
-So, which pride is this we're going into?
-This is Charlie's pride.
Are they going to be surprised to see us?
The fact is that me and Brian sneaked in yesterday evening and actually put them all in.
-So, we know they're all there.
'Close up, you can really appreciate how dangerous these animals are.
'Thankfully, since the safari park opened 40 years ago not one has ever escaped.
'Now we're about to find out what would happen if one did.'
-Are we ready for this?
-I'm actually quite nervous, even though...
-A lot of planning's gone into this.
-We've been planning this for weeks.
-It's been so hard not to let things slip.
-Craig, you hadn't got a clue about it, had you?
-Not at until this morning!
That's good. That bodes well.
Shall we make the first call?
Er, 392, Brian.
'Bob's first call is to his Head of Section, Brian Kent.
'Brian is in on the secret, but all the correct procedures
'must be followed to keep the exercise as real as possible.
'And, of course, most of the other keepers have radios, too, so they can already hear what's going on.'
I've checked all the lions in the second and we have one missing.
Could you have another look round just in case
'one's got up a tree or something?
Yeah, I will do. We have had a pretty thorough search, but we haven't seen anything yet.
All right, have another look again and give me a shout back.
Give it five minutes and I'll make another call.
'OK. So far, the situation is still in the hands of the lion keepers.
'But very soon, it's going to turn into a full-scale emergency that will involve everyone in the park.'
Meanwhile, down at Meerkat Mountain, the keeper in charge, Darren Beasley, has his own drama to deal with.
Last year they brought in a new male meerkat to join
their group of females, in the hope that they would soon start breeding.
But for some unknown reason, that just didn't follow.
And now something dreadful's happened.
We've had a terrible time down here at Meerkat Mountain actually.
Um, a few days ago, the meerkats started fighting amongst themselves.
We thought it was a normal, hierarchical scuffle, cos they have these falling-outs.
The alpha male and the alpha female keep everybody else in line.
And it didn't stop. The fighting went on pretty much solid for well over an hour.
We split them up and they were fighting through the barriers inside
underneath the mountain in their night house.
And even though we administered a bit of first aid and antibiotics,
I'm afraid they basically murdered one of the meerkats - they killed one of their gang.
A gang of meerkats is properly known as a mob.
And although they look harmless, and even cute, these animals come from a tough neighbourhood,
the Kalahari Desert of southern Africa, one of the harshest environments on Earth.
But now Darren has a mystery to solve.
What was the motive for the murder, and will the killer strike again?
The victim was male, so perhaps it was a courtship or mating ritual gone horribly wrong.
When a little boy meerkat wants to chat up a lady meerkat, he basically will attack her.
He will try and overpower her,
if you like, to convince her that he's big and strong and she's got to do what he says.
It may be in this case that this male,
because it was a male that was killed, um... picked on the wrong girl.
Squabbling and fighting is a normal part of meerkat society, as animals jostle for position within the group.
The females are feisty, though it's usually the males who are the most confrontational.
So, when the new male arrived last year, Darren introduced him to the girls slowly and carefully
in order to avoid any trouble.
But the group settled down in no time, and everything seemed to be going perfectly.
So why did it come to end in a violent tragedy?
Could there be another explanation?
Darren has taken his investigation further to pursue a startling theory.
Well, the one that passed away and been killed was a boy. We saw that.
We caught all the others to check for injuries and check for wellbeing and stuff.
We think we've got another male in here.
That could prove to be a fatal error.
When they arrived from another collection, we sexed them and put them in.
Meerkats aren't the easiest things to sex, I know.
But we thought we had all girls and just this one boy.
So, what we do know is, we know that the one male that we know of had a transponder in,
which is a tiny little microchip.
It's a way of identifying animals. It gets injected under the skin at the back of the neck.
A lot of dogs and cats have it now. It's a really good idea. So, Duncan, the vet, is coming in.
We're going to use the transponder reader to see if any of the ones left have got a chip.
If they have, we know that the male in here is our original male
and the one that was actually murdered was an impostor or someone that shouldn't have been here.
If one of the remaining meerkats DOES turn out to be male, then the fatal fight
would have been natural behaviour to establish who was the alpha male.
It could all be down to a tragic case of mistaken identity.
We'll be back on Meerkat Mountain shortly when the vet arrives to solve the mystery.
Back in Lion Country, keeper Bob Trollope is about
to launch an emergency that could send panic across the safari park.
It's only Bob, his head of section, Brian Kent,
and Head Warden Keith Harris who know that this is a safety exercise.
Everyone else is about to be told that a lioness has gone missing.
Right now the deception is still brewing.
Bob's going through the motions of double-checking the area normally occupied by Charlie's pride.
What they call the "second section" of the lion enclosure.
-'Any luck yet?
-No, not a thing. Definitely not in the second.
'All right, I'll check the fence along by gate four in a minute.'
-Brian's just going to do a perimeter check.
BRIAN'S VOICE ON RADIO
-Who's he calling?
-He's calling Keith now.
Right. So this is when things are starting to get more serious.
-Yeah. As soon as Keith's involved, it's a full-scale emergency.
'Brian has called in to talk to Head Warden Keith Harris,
'but it's his deputy, Ian Turner, who comes on the radio.'
I got a shout from Bob. There's a lion missing in the second. He's had a good look round,
'and, um, can't find it. I'm just going along the fence by gate four at the moment.'
So, that was Ian. Ian won't have a clue about what's...
Ian doesn't know. Keith is making out he's being filmed just so it throws Ian a little bit.
-So, Ian is going to have to going there and tell Keith the news.
A big banana split, I think it's going to be, but raw.
-And then, um, it's...
-KNOCK ON DOOR
Sorry, but we've got a lion missing in the second section at the minute.
-Not this one that's...?
-Keep the radio on.
-What should we do at this point?
-We'll just hang on. He's going to call Brian.
'Because Ian doesn't know it's a drill, it's important for Keith and me to keep up the deception.'
I'd just got a call from Bob.
There's a lion missing in the second.
He's had a good look round, but can't find it.
I'm along the fence line from gate four at the moment, just having a look.
OK, well, give us a shout if there's a problem.
Surely there IS a problem if a lion's out.
-Only between the fences at the moment.
-OK. So, there's a double layer of fences?
A lion is a killing machine.
-They're born to kill.
-Um, and for one to escape, there's obviously going to be a lot of fear about.
It will be unnatural territory for the lion.
-So, it's going to be frightened.
-Um, for all we know, it could be hid up somewhere.
KATE: The safari park is now just one step away from a full-scale emergency.
Brian Kent must check the perimeter fence one last time.
If he finds a break or hole, the entire safari park will be told
that there's a deadly lion on the loose somewhere on the estate.
Meanwhile, there's a cloud of suspicion hanging over Meerkat Mountain.
A young male's been killed in a fight.
Head of Pets Corner, Darren Beasley, assumed that he was the new male
who was brought in last year to join the all-female mob.
But now the plot thickens, because they suspect that
the new male is actually one of the three meerkats who are still here.
The problem is that these meerkats look almost identical
but there is one sure-fire way to identify the new male.
They know he's got a microchip transponder inserted beneath the skin.
Now vet Duncan Williams has arrived with his microchip reader.
You're going to solve a real mystery for us.
So, we've separated the meerkats now.
It's like putting your hand into a tiger pit, really,
cos they're so vicious.
Hopefully, we won't find any chips on this one.
No, there's nothing there.
That's a female. That is a female. Look at those teeth!
They eat insects. Goodness gracious, what do you want teeth like that for?
Incredible. Let's put her in there.
Oh, I nearly fell in.
Now, there's just one left to try.
If this one turns out to be the new male, it would explain why the fatal fight was so intense.
In the wild, a conflict to determine the alpha male can easily turn into a battle to the death.
-You've got a chip already.
-You've got a chip already?
So, in a way, that is good news.
This means, this little feisty fellow is our original male.
That explains a lot. That explains, the other one was an impostor.
It obviously was a sub-adult when it arrived. We thought it was a female.
It's grown up to a male and he's seen it off, but in, I'm afraid, the ultimate way.
So, the mystery is solved.
The victim was only a youngster when he arrived,
which is what made it so difficult to spot that he was actually a male.
As long as he was still a juvenile there was no trouble.
But when he reached sexual maturity, he was driven to challenge the alpha male - with fatal consequences.
Fighting, most days, most weeks, is part of this hierarchical structure.
It's the two top ones that want to breed and want to rule the roost.
Everybody else is secondary. Nature says, as you get bigger and stronger, you're going to compete.
In the wild, you might drive someone away or you might just live in, not harmony, but live knowing your place.
Obviously here, the balance...
Somebody somewhere decided that these two,
they weren't going to live in peace and harmony and they both wanted to be top cat.
And there can't be two top cats.
But something good may come from these tragic events.
Now that the hierarchy of the mob is stable, there's nothing to stop them from finally starting to breed.
We have two unrelated females with an unrelated male, all of a good age.
There shouldn't be any infighting now.
They've balanced themselves out.
I'd like to be having this conversation with you in ten years' time,
saying we've got 40 meerkats here and we've a lovely colony. So, we'll just have to wait and see.
KATE: 'Back in the safari-park office only a few minutes have passed
'since keepers Bob Trollope and Brian Kent reported a missing lion.
'Head Warden Keith Harris is now waiting for news that will confirm
'everyone's worst fears - actual evidence of an escape.'
I found several holes along the fence line.
I'd imagine it's possible it could have got out of there.
OK, Brian. We'll come straight there.
'Could I have any available vehicles mobile?'
So, there probably will be some very real panic going on now.
There's going to be a lot of panic. People will be zooming in to an area.
Now, Brian is down at gate four
-where he's spotted a hole.
I would imagine people will aim for that direction.
Like everyone else, Deputy Head Warden Ian Turner
doesn't know that this is actually an elaborate safety exercise.
-A lion's gone missing...
-VOICE ON RADIO
..and there's a lioness.
Ian, can you grab the dart kit, please?
-Deputy Head Warden Ian Turner is going to be going to get a...?
He's the person that does most of the darting here.
You always nominate a certain person to go and do a job.
-I'm just picking up the dart stuff, really.
I'll take the pistol.
We've had ones between fences before.
Usually, it's if a tree's come down or something.
I hope she's just...
hiding somewhere, out of the way.
If she's been bullied, that could be a reason why she's gone over.
Which way do you think it's gone?
-I think it's gone up that way. I'm not 100% sure, mind.
Well, if you follow what you think are the tracks along there, I'll have to give the gardeners a shout.
-I'll go down to the junction in a minute.
-I haven't got out, being on my own.
But I'd imagine it's gone that way.
Bob, can you put the rest of the lions in, if possible, please?
I'll meet you down by gate four.
Yeah, me and Craig, we've already done that.
And there's definitely one missing?
The rest of the lions are in. Definitely one missing.
There's dog walkers out there. What does this mean?
Well, we've got to...
get everybody mobile and get people like that picked up.
Tommy, I need everything shut down, mate.
I've got a problem already. On the picnic area, there's a dog walker.
We need him evacuated.
I need to stop all traffic. One of the biggest dangers at the moment is, we know she's out, we don't know
where she is but there's people walking on the estate already.
About 4,500 acres of the estate is open for public access.
But now everyone has swung into action.
Keepers, gardeners, security and house staff are all working together to lock down the whole place.
Darren Beasley has left Pets Corner to get to his emergency station at one of the gates.
-Hiya. If you go up there, they are a little bit tense up there, so...
-What's going on?
-I'm not sure, really. It's an emergency of some sort.
Buster, Buster, this is Safari Base.
Um, we have an incident. I need...
immediate assistance, please.
We've got an animal that's escaped. We know it's a lion.
I need mobile, immediate assistance, please.
Be careful. We don't know where the lion is.
-If you can take a few people with you.
Can you organise somebody at the safari office to close the gate and not let anybody through, Mark?
OK, there's just somebody. Yeah, OK.
So, they've closed the safari park as well.
They're shutting the gates, so that no cars can come down.
You want the least amount of people as possible to be
-wherever this lion might be.
Bob, could you get to Heaven's Gate proper?
No, the top.
Make sure nobody comes through there.
I have to say, it's incredibly impressive.
This was only discovered about five minutes ago.
The whole park is mobilising very, very fast.
Yeah. The only thing is now, we've got to find the lion.
And when the lion is found, then the emergency will really go into top gear.
We'll be back to see what happens very soon.
The safari park may be on high alert,
but for the thousands of acres of farmland that make up the rest of the Longleat estate,
it's business as usual.
Right now it's lambing season.
Sheep farmer Simon Baggs is expecting about 2,800 lambs to be born,
and many of the ewes will need a helping hand.
It's an enormous task, and this year Simon's recruited
Naia Knight, a student from the Bristol Veterinary School, to help.
I'm in my first year, so I've done two terms.
And I've got four years to go.
As part of my extra-mural studies. We have to do 12 weeks in the first two years,
so I'm doing three weeks on a sheep farm here, and learning basically sheep husbandry.
Lambing time is not just a matter of letting the ewes get on with it.
A couple of months ago, all these sheep were scanned to find out how many lambs they're carrying.
The problem is that ewes have only two teats.
In the ideal world, every sheep we want to send out wants to have two lambs.
So we have the ones carrying triplets, which are the threes with the red dots in here.
And then the singles are in the other shed.
What we can do then, when the singles lamb and the triplets lamb,
we can take a triplet off and put it straight on to a single ewe.
As it's unlikely for all the triplets to be born at
the same time as the singles, there's a holding pen for the extra lambs awaiting mothers.
This is our shepherdess that we use to feed the orphan lambs.
It's much easier than bottle-feeding them.
We teach them to drink like this.
Hopefully, we'll orphan them off on to a single - a sheep that's only got one lamb.
It remains to be seen whether mothers can be found for all the orphaned lambs.
Their survival depends on it, and it has to happen soon.
Still to come on today's programme..
-Ian, where are you with that rifle?
-Just going past gate four
We'll find out if park staff can cope with the ongoing emergency.
We'll be getting a bug's-eye view of the world's most beautiful insects.
And down on the farm,
we'll find out if the orphaned lambs can settle in and bond with their new mums.
Back in the safari park, the staff are all at action stations.
They've been told that a lioness has escaped.
Only the lion keepers Bob Trollope and Brian Kent,
along with Head Warden Keith Harris, know that this is actually a safety drill.
Where are you with that rifle?
Yeah, just going past the hippo field now towards gate four.
Keith is in charge now. We have to take our directions from him.
Obviously, if we see things that will
help him out, then we obviously report that.
What's happening now, we are doing a sweep of this area.
-We've had a report that it was in what we call this hanging here, underneath the hill.
Quite good camouflage up here, in this lion-coloured...
Brian's coming in from our left, and he's going along that hanging.
OK, let's be optimistic here.
We find the lion.
-Then what happens?
-The first thing we have to is assess
whether it's either "dartable" or we've got to destroy the animal.
-When I say "dartable", it's got to be in an accessible area we can get to.
-In which case, we might chance darting it.
So, darting it would mean tranquillising it,
-and then you can move it back into the enclosure?
Worst-case scenario, if you had to put it down -
in what circumstances is that?
If we believe there's a risk of it escaping further,
-or a risk to the public, then the animal will be destroyed.
You wouldn't get out at this stage, still?
No. If you don't know where the animal is, then you don't get out.
It's as simple as that. Because, it could be down in that gully, and if we went marching off down there,
-guns in hand...
-..then you're making yourself vulnerable.
That's one thing you don't want to do.
It would be scared, frightened.
It would be more dangerous than normal, I'd have thought.
You just don't know where it would be.
It could be hid up, or run in sheer panic.
And keep running. And then suddenly stopping somewhere and hiding up. It could go for miles.
In fact, Brian knows exactly where the lion is hiding, because he put it there last night.
Now to find out how the team reacts.
Will they do the right things to recapture the animal?
Brian starts the next phase of the exercise.
Yeah, found the lion, Keith.
-It's up here.
-OK, is it "dartable"?
Just about see it, yeah.
Somebody's spotted something, they reckon.
It might be a false alarm, but we've got to check it out to make sure.
-The lion's been found.
-If you can withdraw a minute. Ian's behind you.
'If everybody else just stands still for a minute, please.'
-That's Brian up there, isn't it?
-Brian's spotted the lion.
Keith has directed everyone to stand still.
Because, now we've spotted it, we don't want it to run off any further and potentially lose it.
I've worked here for 31 years.
It's the first time we've physically had a lion out.
We've had them between fences, when we've had major storms.
These animals are used to vehicles. Does that make your job easier or more difficult?
Sometimes. It works both ways.
What we don't want is this lion to be scared and pushed away.
Brian is assessing the situation. We know we've got the darting equipment here.
Ian would have been making up a dart.
-'Is Ian on his way up?'
-Yep, Ian's just coming through now.
'So now the safari park is locked down, the lion is cornered
'and Ian is standing by in position to shoot it with a tranquilliser dart.
'Time for Keith to end the exercise.'
OK, Safari Base to a Safari Park.
OK, stand down now. We've caught the lion.
'Thank you very much for everybody's assistance.'
Let's reveal our lion.
It was exhausting...
and all...for that.
A cardboard lion.
Gets the old adrenaline going, doesn't it, eh?
-Did you know it was a drill?
-Not at all. No, didn't have a clue.
It seems like an elaborate joke, but, actually, this was a serious matter.
Yes, whether there are cameras here or not, this is the sort of thing we have to practise,
and this time we've involved everybody on the whole estate,
to see how the whole estate would cope in an emergency.
So, guys, can I quickly ask?
Did you all realise that this was perhaps an exercise, or were you...?
-No, not at all.
-We took it very seriously.
-Yes, of course.
Because I knew... We realised it was an exercise, but, even I...
-All the hairs stood up on my arms.
What went through your minds?
Still pumping away there.
We jumped in the trucks, and...
we just followed the procedures and orders, and here we are.
Deputy Head Warden, would you mind coming and having a word with us, please?
Probably not the ideal way to start your day!
How do you feel about Keith at this precise moment?
What's so funny is, it never entered my head it was a test.
Not once. Because we've got a little bit of trouble with lions. And I thought, no, no.
And, literally, it's still going now.
-You are trembling, aren't you?
-I said to the other lot,
"That's the only way to do it. You can't let everybody know."
So, are you both pleased, as Head Warden and Deputy Head Warden, with how the operation went today?
We're going to have a debrief now and talk it over.
As far as I can see from what I was looking at, it went very well.
'The emergency ends with the recaptured lion taken safely into custody.'
-What a morning!
'Now the staff all over the safari park can go back to their routine duties,
'safe in the knowledge that if the worst WAS ever to happen, they would all know what to do.'
After all that excitement, it's time for something more tranquil
over at the home of one of the park's least dangerous collections.
The tropical butterfly house is filled with exotic species
from all across the globe.
Because of their size, it can be difficult to appreciate these fabulous insects,
so we've invited wildlife cameraman Steve Downer to bring in his specialist lenses
and equipment to see if he can take us right into this miniature world.
In fact, we've set him a challenge, to show us the entire life cycle of the butterfly.
Fortunately, Longleat's own butterfly expert, Derek Longuet, has just spotted shot number one.
This is the first stage in reproduction, the mating of the owl butterfly.
Three or four days after this, they start egg-laying.
And then there'll be a series of eggs, they'll lay them in a chain down the rib of a banana leaf.
That's just what's happening nearby.
The owl butterfly gets its name
from the markings on the wings,
"eyes" to confuse predators.
We spotted her laying her first egg.
And now she's laying the second egg.
In many cases, she'll go on and lay a string of eggs
along the mid-section of the leaf.
We can get good shots with OUR camera,
but then Steve moves in to show what he can do.
These eggs are quite interesting.
Some are smooth, but these are ridged.
-May I have a look?
The detail on that - the banding is so clear.
Eggs come in many different shapes and sizes,
but they all hatch out
within two to four days to reveal small caterpillars.
The front pads or legs are for propulsion.
They have a couple of sticky pads at the back,
which they use for grip.
These are interesting, they're swallowtail caterpillars.
At this stage, they look like...
small bird droppings.
These caterpillars eat almost continuously and grow very fast.
If a human baby weighing about nine pounds grew at the same rate,
it would tip the scales at 11 metric tonnes as an adult.
After two to three weeks of stuffing themselves silly,
the growing caterpillars develop a hard outer case
as they enter the pupal stage.
This does happen naturally in the butterfly house,
but Derek boosts the numbers with more pupae from the Far East.
It's another delivery of pupae.
Twice a week, I get pupae coming in to supplement what I'm breeding here.
It's just like Christmas.
It never loses its appeal and I never know exactly what's coming in and the selection.
Some beautiful chrysalis here,
that mimic a leaf insect, complete with pretend legs
and little silver spots.
That warns predators to keep away.
And there we are, some of nature's jewels.
Pretty enough to be worn as earrings. Golden colour.
Nature's protection, that.
I think I can get some amazing detail from some of these,
some of these that look leaves.
I can try some back lighting
and maybe see what's inside.
Maybe we can see details of what's inside the chrysalis.
The next stage is for the fully formed butterfly to emerge
from the pupa, but we may have to wait a bit for that.
It's quite difficult to know exactly when a butterfly is going to emerge from its case.
And I've often had to wait for a couple of days
for the emergence.
But luck is on our side.
Soon after Steve sets up the camera by the butterfly emerging cabinet...
There's one butterfly which has just emerged and I'm going to get
some really tight close-ups of its head and its eyes and its tongue.
Once they've emerged, the wings are folded and what's going to happen
over the next hour, is that the blood is going to pump through the wings
and they'll gradually expand until they're this size.
I've set up on a big close-up of its eye and its proboscis, Derek.
Do you want to have a look through the viewfinder?
Wow! That's amazing.
Butterflies don't bite and chew their food like we do.
Instead, they have a long straw-like feature called a proboscis,
which they use to drink nectar and juices.
When they're not using it, it coils up just like a garden hose.
I've never seen detail like that.
I mean, I'm obviously looking at them each day, but I'm speechless.
You can see where they get the strength in the wing, allied to the lightness.
That really is amazing.
I find all stages interesting, from discovering eggs,
caterpillars splitting their skin
and going on to the next stage of the cycle.
Coming in each morning and spotting something just about to hatch,
watching it unfurl like a parachute. It's all magic.
Back at Simon Bagg's estate farm,
student vet Naia is looking after the lambs awaiting foster mothers.
Naia, we've just got a single given birth, so I think we can put one of these lambs on her hopefully.
Right, we'll tie his legs up.
The reason why we're tying them up now is so obviously when we've got the lamb all wet,
he doesn't run off, because he's older than the ones being born over here obviously.
So then she thinks it's sort of new-born.
We need to get all the fluids,
so we can wash the lamb we're going to orphan off.
Just leave that one over there.
What we do now is put this orphan on to her. Cheers.
Just lie down now. That's it.
She'll start licking now.
Now put her own...there as well.
Licking sort of cleans them because they're a bit slimy when they come out,
and she gets all that off their fur dries out and they warm up.
It's a bonding process. You can hear her making chuckling noises to them.
And she's smelling them, and they're getting to know her and that's how they bond.
She's quite a good one.
She'll be a good mum.
Basically, it's a really good sign that she's letting it suck
because if she wasn't going to accept it as her lamb,
she wouldn't be letting him suck from her,
like he's doing now.
Once it looks as though the lambs have been safely adopted,
they need to be protected against infection and disease with iodine and antibiotics.
The ewes are now left to recover for a day.
The lambs will get stronger, too, and bond with their new mothers,
with whom they now share a number, so they can be reunited if they lose each other.
All the lambs obviously that were in the pens 24 hours ago, they're in here.
So we're going to take these out to the field, so we've wrote down the ewe numbers
and we've got the lambs, put them in the top deck and we'll put the ewes in afterwards.
OK, so we've got to catch the lambs, then the ewes can go on up in.
But that could be easier said than done.
Only 24 hours after an orphan lamb is introduced to its new mother,
it joins the rest of its playmates on the hills above Longleat House,
just as its ancestors have done for hundreds of years.
Those lambs wouldn't last long if a lion DID get loose,
though that's very unlikely.
But if it were ever to happen,
today's exercise shows that park staff are ready to handle the emergency.
Well, that's the end of another day here at Longleat, but not any old day.
It was a fairly high-octane sort of day, wasn't it?
In all my years working at Longleat, I haven't seen such excitement,
but really impressive how everyone just pulled together basically.
I know, it was an incredible operation, given that, you know,
nobody knew what was happening apart from a few key people.
-It was a really impressive reaction. Everyone very quick, everyone working together.
-Makes you feel very safe.
-It really does. Let's just hope a real lion never escapes.
-Let's hope so.
Well, that is all on today's programme, but we've got lots more coming up on the next Animal Park.
It is time to declare the venue...open!
Lord Bath has a warm welcome for the vultures.
We'll see how they settle into their new home.
Lion cub Jasira has developed a limp.
We'll find out if her treatment is working.
TRAIN WHISTLE BLOWS
-That's fantastic, isn't it?
-You're enjoying this!
And I'll be fulfilling my boyhood dream at full steam ahead on Longleat's narrow-guage railway.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd - 2006
E-mail [email protected]
Kate Humble and Ben Fogle present a special edition from Longleat Safari Park.
It's every safari park's worst nightmare: a dangerous animal on the loose. Emergency measures at Longleat are tested to their limit. There's a murder mystery to solve on Meerkat Mountain - who is the culprit? On the rest of the estate, it is all hands on deck as lambing season gets under way. Kate looks at the butterflies to be found at Longleat.