Episode 13 Animal Park


Episode 13

Ben Fogle and Kate Humble explore life behind the scenes at Longleat Estate and Safari Park. Jess and Jethro have given birth to Gomez – a beautiful baby tapir.


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Transcript


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-Hello and welcome to Animal Park. I'm Ben Fogle.

-And I'm Kate Humble.

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And as you can see, we're in Monkey Jungle with the rhesus macaque monkeys.

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There are even little babies like this one just here!

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They are amongst the most entertaining animals here at the safari park,

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although you might have to donate a bit of your car to keep the show on the road!

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We will of course bring you stories from all over the safari park today,

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-including...

-It is time

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to declare the venue...open!

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The vultures are gathering at Longleat. We'll see how they settle in to their new home.

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The lion cubs have been playing rough...

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Now little Jasira's been injured. We'll find out if her romping days are over.

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Ben fulfils a boyhood dream

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with a full head of steam out on Longleat's narrow-gauge railway.

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And Jessie the South American tapir's due to give birth any day now.

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But will she deliver on schedule?

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But first, the park boasts many colourful birds among its residents

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including Chilean flamingos,

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sacred ibis and African spoonbill.

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But now a new species with a heavyweight reputation has come to the park.

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These African white-backed vultures are nature's ultimate airborne scavengers.

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But, sadly, they are now classed as vulnerable in the wild.

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There are five males and five females, which the team hope will breed.

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For now, they're being kept in temporary winter quarters

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while, outside, feverish work is going on to finish their enclosure.

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Head of section Mark Tye is in charge of the birds.

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He wants to make sure they have enough space to fly freely.

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For ten birds with wingspans of up to ten feet, that's a lot of space.

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In just over a week, we've managed to put up all the line wires

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that will hold up the roof and the supports for the main nets.

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We've put all the nets up around the back of the enclosure and now we're finishing off along the front.

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The only thing after that is the roof.

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The roof is one big section that has to be pulled up and over,

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which will be quite tedious and time-consuming.

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The new enclosure is going to be the size of six tennis courts and as tall as a three-storey building.

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With the sides finished, it's time to heave the roof into place.

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Keepers from all sections of the park have come together to help.

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The netting weighs almost a tonne - more than all the construction team put together.

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It's made using heavy-duty fishing net,

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heavy enough, Mark hopes, to resist the vultures' sharp beaks.

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Until we let them out, we won't know what's going to happen.

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The net's thicker than the flamingo net.

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But they've got a big, hooked beak - if they want to chew through it, they will.

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So it's going to be a bit of an experiment.

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If they want out, they'll get out.

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So we'll just hope they'll be happy enough in there and they won't attempt it.

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One of the challenges for Mark is to provide the vultures with a home that's as close

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to their natural habitat as possible and full of interesting features to keep them occupied.

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Trees in there, with perches. We're going to put a lot more up.

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This is not the finished product as regards perching just yet.

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A pond for them to bathe in. They like washing and sunning themselves afterwards.

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And the only other thing, really, is a house we're going to have built over there

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which will double up as a winter quarters.

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If weather gets bad, we can hopefully get them into there.

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Also, when we first bring them up, we'll be able to put them in there

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and let them out a couple at a time.

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I'm looking forward to seeing them out in a big enclosure like this.

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I just hope they use it and fly around a lot in it.

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We'll be back to see what the vultures make of their new home.

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The last few weeks in Lion Country

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have been full of fun for the two young cubs, Malaika and Jasira.

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With the warmer weather, they've been out exploring the enclosure

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and testing their own limits. They learn the key skills

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of hunting and fighting by playing with each other

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and with their parents.

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But sometimes the playful rough and tumble takes its toll.

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A few days ago, the keepers noticed something wrong.

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Young Jasira had developed a limp and everyone was worried that she might be badly hurt.

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Oh, shush!

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Safari park vet Duncan Williams was called out to see if she'd broken any bones.

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She's pretty lame on her left fore.

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I think it is probably just a soft-tissue injury, as opposed to a fractured leg or anything like that.

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To stop the limp becoming worse, Duncan prescribed a course

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of anti-inflammatory medicine for the little cub.

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Come on. Oh, yeah. Good girl.

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That's it. Way-hey!

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Now the injury has had time to heal, I wanted to see how Jasira is getting on.

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And when better than at feeding time?

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So, this is Kabir, just out here. I'm also with keeper Bob Trollope.

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We've come to check up, mainly, on the the cubs, Bob.

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-I can see one cub behind us, pattering along.

-They're both there.

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There they are, they're both there, tearing along!

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Well, that really answers my question.

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Just remind me what happened. One of them had a problem with a paw.

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Jasira, running alongside us now, had some soft-tissue damage.

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As you can see, she's a lot better now.

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-It was most probably through a bit of boisterous play.

-Right.

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-Look!

-Wa-hey!

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Kabir trying to get at the camera tied to the top.

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You don't think that it could have been him that caused the damage to Jasira, the cub, do you?

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It's possible.

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They are extremely boisterous, as cubs.

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I would have thought it was more so tumbling about with Malaika. Because they do have some little scraps.

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-But it's all playful.

-Typical cub play?

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Yeah, just playing. And it's all to do with learning, I suppose.

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Here you are, mate. There you go.

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-Are the cubs taking any meat at the moment?

-Oh, yeah.

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They've got quite a voracious appetite.

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Going after Dad, look.

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-Look at that!

-Hooray!

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That is something, presumably, Dad wouldn't tolerate -

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-a young whippersnapper taking his meat?

-No, he's very much a foodie, is Kabir.

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He'll normally grab something and run off with it, as you can see.

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I'm quite surprised... That's Malaika, isn't it, the bigger cub?

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She's got her piece before this adult female here.

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Yeah. They tend to sort of...

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Mum will go and grab a piece and if cubby's run up, they'll relinquish it to them quite often.

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Really and truly, they can't be bothered with cubby pestering them.

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So they let them have it, get another piece and go off and peacefully eat it.

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I suppose the difference here from in the wild is that they know there's plenty to go round.

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Yeah, we're lucky in the way that we can cut it into chunks

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so that Kabir or one of the females doesn't sit on it and not let any of the others have it.

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That's why we do it like this.

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-Look at him running across.

-He is a foodie.

-He looks like...

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That is the absolute epitome of a happy lion, isn't it?

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-He's a bit of a hoarder, this one.

-And so what happens now, Bob?

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You've got two healthy cubs,

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two obviously successful mothers - will they breed again this year?

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They shouldn't do. But it's not impossible.

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Really and truly, the female shouldn't come into season

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-much before the cubs are about 18 months old.

-So nature, basically, prevents

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having too many young cubs at once?

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Yeah. At 18 months, though, young males or young females

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may be pushed out of the pride and then you get the next generation coming up.

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Well, I'm delighted that Jasira is obviously doing so well and that both the cubs are thriving.

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Great to see them, Bob. Thank you very much indeed.

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Spring is a special time of year all over the park,

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as the animals come out to enjoy the sunnier weather and the breeding season gets underway.

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The park's two South American tapirs, Jessie and Jethro,

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have been here for nine years, and over that time have produced four calves.

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Recently, park staff were delighted to discover Jessie was pregnant again.

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Ben joined vet Duncan Williams, Head of Section Andy Hayton and keeper Bev Evans as they gave Jessie

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an ultrasound scan to make sure all was going well.

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Duncan, I know you're busy doing that.

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You're looking for movement with the machine?

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Yeah, we're just trying to have a look at the baby

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through the abdominal wall with the ultrasound scanner,

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much as you would do when you go to hospital.

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You put some jelly on it. Why do you do that?

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The jelly is basically just to get a good contact

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between the skin and the scanner.

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I can't quite make it out. Is it there on the screen?

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Yes, that's it, there.

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And what sort of signs are you looking for, Duncan?

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We're just basically making sure everything's OK, making sure there's a bit of movement,

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and she's pretty imminent - she's got a huge udder.

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-She's already showing signs of restlessness.

-Yeah!

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I would be surprised if it does drag on more than a day or two.

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With the birth due any time now, Bev is in charge of getting everything ready for Jessie's new arrival.

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Since Jess is getting close to a due date, we've started to separate them.

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Normally, we wouldn't. They love being in a pair.

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But with a week to go, it's one of our procedures before the birth.

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It's not just for the baby's benefit that Jessie and Jethro are apart.

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Hey, Jeth, what you doing? Being a good boy?

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'He's quite a laid-back adult male. He wouldn't do anything to the baby.

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'But he's being overprotective and beating him round, and we don't want that.'

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And it's nice for the mum and baby to bond before we do any mixing.

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He can see them, so it should be fine.

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Tapirs carry their young for 13 months.

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With such a long gestation period, it's almost impossible to predict

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when Jessie'll give birth, but Bev suspects it'll happen tonight.

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Her udder's dropping quite a lot, and there's a lot of change.

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We've got to look out for behaviour changes, cos she will tell us when she's starting.

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Now all Bev can do is wait.

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We'll be back to see if Jessie delivers on schedule.

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Over in Pets' Corner live some of the park's most reliable performers.

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The 17 parrots.

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Experts believe that parrots have the intelligence of a 4-year-old child.

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So to keep them stimulated, keepers teach them interesting tricks.

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Parrots also love being the centre of attention,

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so every day during the summer, they put on shows for the visitors.

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Another spin? Very nice! Give her a little round of applause!

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Performances will be starting soon, so time to get the stage ready for the squawking superstars.

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I'm down at Pets' Corner with keeper Rob Saving, helping out

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-with a changeover of the perches for the parrots.

-Absolutely.

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-SQUAWK!

-The very noisy parrots!

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-Yes, we are re-perching.

-So, why are we doing this?

-Couple of reasons we do this, really.

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When they get worn, we need to replace them for the birds' sake, for many reasons.

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Basically, their beaks and their claws are always growing,

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a bit like our fingernails, very slightly.

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So the birds need to rough them and wear them down on bark.

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That's why it's ideal to get really rough bark - usually oak's quite a good one.

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-This one's been redone, has it?

-We've done all of these. We've got two left here.

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And what parrot have we got here?

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Bobby, getting quite excited because his perch desperately needs doing.

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So, all that bark that's been taken off, has he taken that off with his beak?

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That's all him.

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And it didn't take him long to do. We are constantly doing this.

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Before we put the next one on, I just want...

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-It's important to keep it clean, so we just want to give that a scrub.

-So how often would you do this?

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As often as needed, really.

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It's very good for them, not only for their beaks, but also for enrichment.

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They love chewing it, Bobby especially. He rips his up in probably the space of a week.

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Ideally, if I can, I'll do it every couple of weeks.

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-Presumably, you get all the wood from the estate.

-Yeah.

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If we hear something's fallen down, an old tree, ideally we want to find some nice rough oak,

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or even things like apple.

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The rougher the better. That bark, if it's really rough

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and they can get their claws right into it, it's like a nail file.

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Unfortunately, some of these perches... We'll scrub these as well.

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-Are we going to scrub the wood?

-Just lightly. Because, when we get them from the woods,

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it might have a little bit of muck and a little bit of bird poo on it.

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We want to make sure they're not going to get anything off the wood.

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We'll move on to Bobby now. If I just move him out the way, because he's a bit grumpy this morning.

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-Do you want to just try and get that one off for me?

-Yeah.

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The thing with Bobby, part of his show - you'll see in a moment if I can show you -

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he likes perches with a nice long, thin piece.

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I was talking about the different sizes and the different shapes we can get.

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Because he does this little thing where he hangs upside down.

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-Can we see that?

-We'll see it in a minute. He started doing it on his own.

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I was doing a show once and I looked behind me and all of a sudden, Bobby was upside down.

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-Right.

-It was quite funny. It got such a reaction, such a laugh, I encouraged him to do it.

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-Just come over here.

-Is he a little bit...?

-He's all right.

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But he's a bit grumpy this morning.

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Bobby, do your bat impression. Will you show us your bat?

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That's it. So he always loves a perch where he's able to do it.

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-Brilliant!

-Well done, boy.

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He's always able to do that and he likes a perch he can do that on.

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I know what we're looking for now.

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Bobby, I will try to do the same again with some proper wood.

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We haven't got the best here, but we'll have a go.

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-Excellent.

-There is a thin piece.

-Rob, thank you very much. Let's crack on with this.

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Longleat's ten African white-backed vultures are waiting to be transferred

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to their brand-new enclosure, which has finally been completed.

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But first, they have to be rounded up. It could be a dangerous job.

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The enclosure's all finished. Nothing more needs to be done.

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It's just now the dodgy task of catching hold of them and putting them in boxes.

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So it's look out for your fingers time.

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Once the birds are released into the enclosure, it won't be easy to get hold of them,

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so Mark has asked vet Duncan Williams to give them a final health check.

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We'd just like Duncan to give them a visual check -

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check their feet, because they are prone to feet problems, through perching for too long.

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We're also going to leg-band them and worm them at the same time.

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They're tetchy things and they don't like being grabbed hold of.

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So, you know, we do have to be a bit careful.

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The task of catching them falls to keeper Luke Priddle,

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using a net and special lightproof bag.

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He takes a nip for his trouble.

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In the dark, they tend to just stay still.

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That's the main reason we use the black net.

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Trying to keep their head in it isn't always easy!

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It's hard to tell a male vulture from a female vulture.

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One of the only ways to know for sure is to test a feather sample.

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Vet Duncan also administers the worming injection and takes a close look at the birds' condition.

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We've had a couple of problems with their feet.

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So I'm making sure their feet are nice and healthy - there's no bumblefoot infections

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or anything going on before they're released into the big pen.

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When the birds are out and flying free,

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Mark will need to know who's who, so they fit each with a leg band.

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It's important for us to be able to identify which bird's which,

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particularly out in a big enclosure.

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If you saw one that perhaps was a bit off-colour, without that kind of identification, it's going to be

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very difficult the next day, maybe, to see which one it was or whatever.

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It's always useful to be able to positively ID your animals.

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Next, it's into the crate and ready for transport.

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One down, nine to go.

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The vulture's beak is powerful enough to rip into any African animal carcass it finds.

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With so many birds to handle, the team must not let their guard down.

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As you can see, one wrong move and the beak's out

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and you're going to lose a finger.

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If they grab hold of you, they won't let go.

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He's caught on the net.

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Hang on, don't put your hand in there.

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I've got the tail up here.

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Thankfully, the staff survive with all their fingers intact.

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Now the birds are taken to the vulture house inside the new enclosure.

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They'll be kept there for a little while to settle in, before being allowed out into the open.

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They've been comfortable in the house and now they've been

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shoved in a box and unceremoniously driven up the road and pushed out in a new environment.

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Initially they're going to be very stressed, very unaware of what's going on.

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We just want to get them out of the box and come away and let them take

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their surroundings in in their own time without any disturbance.

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This is just going to be pretty much a sick bay and a shelter in case of bad weather.

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The majority of the time, they're going to actually be out in the enclosure.

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This is purely just somewhere we can segregate birds if they're ill,

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or if we need to get them in through adverse weather, then that's where they'll go.

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Soon, these mighty birds will be ready to take flight.

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We'll be back to see if the net holds up.

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Part of the park's mission is to educate the public about the whole animal kingdom.

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At Pets' Corner, staff encourage visitors to get as close as possible

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to the residents, even some of the more scary-looking ones.

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I tell you, this is the thing to do on a cold day.

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You have to hold a snake, you have to have a hot-water bottle to keep it warm

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-and it's keeping me beautifully warm! I'm here with Jo Hawthorn. Who's this?

-This is Khan.

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-Khan.

-He's a royal python.

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-And he's one of your Meet The Creatures, isn't he?

-Yes, he is.

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How does Meet The Creatures work?

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Basically, what we do, Kate, when the weather's nice and sunny, we bring him outside and we kind of,

0:21:530:22:00

we use him for the children and the adults to meet them and let them have an opportunity to have a stroke,

0:22:000:22:06

you know, have a touch, have a hold and learn that, really, these guys are not out to get you.

0:22:060:22:12

They're beautiful to touch, as you can probably feel.

0:22:120:22:15

-Yeah.

-And they're not scary at all.

-No. And do you find that it works?

0:22:150:22:19

Do people come here who really are very scared of snakes?

0:22:190:22:22

Definitely. Everyone has this preconceived idea that they're slimy,

0:22:220:22:26

you know, they're wet and cold and they're horrible, you know.

0:22:260:22:30

When they touch them, they're really surprised and shocked at how they feel.

0:22:300:22:34

-They are incredibly silky and smooth...

-They are.

0:22:340:22:38

..and not at all slimy. Totally dry.

0:22:380:22:42

-Beautiful feel.

-That's right.

0:22:420:22:43

And what about snakes as pets? Does it then encourage people to think, "I'd really like a snake as a pet"?

0:22:430:22:49

Well, hopefully, what we're trying to do is we're trying to let people

0:22:490:22:53

have the opportunity to get a feel for them

0:22:530:22:56

-but, at the same time, making them realise that this is going to grow to about 5ft long.

-Wow!

0:22:560:23:03

They do need the correct heating, lighting, correct food.

0:23:030:23:07

They're a big maintenance, you know.

0:23:070:23:09

So we're trying to give them the opportunity of having a touch and a hold without...

0:23:090:23:14

and maybe realising that they do need specialist care.

0:23:140:23:17

-So not the ideal pet to have.

-Well, Jo,

0:23:170:23:21

it's a huge privilege to be this close to such a gorgeous animal,

0:23:210:23:25

and we've got lots more gorgeous animals coming up on today's programme.

0:23:250:23:30

Beautiful they may be, but these white rhino have a case of the trots.

0:23:300:23:35

Maybe a lump of charcoal will help.

0:23:350:23:38

We'll take off with these grim reapers in the new vulture venue. But will the net be strong enough?

0:23:400:23:47

And I'll be putting on cap and overalls for the trip of a lifetime

0:23:470:23:51

out on the Longleat line.

0:23:510:23:53

-Fantastic, isn't it?

-Yeah!

0:23:530:23:56

But first, up at the tapir house, there's some happy news.

0:24:010:24:05

Overnight, Jessie delivered a healthy baby boy.

0:24:070:24:11

Keeper Bev Evans was up at dawn to check on the pair,

0:24:170:24:20

and captured this amazing footage of the tapir calf at just a few hours old.

0:24:200:24:26

We did expect he was coming,

0:24:340:24:37

as Jess had shown all the signs - labour signs - the pacing around,

0:24:370:24:42

so we all kind of knew,

0:24:420:24:45

but I was sent up on morning check specially just to check,

0:24:450:24:50

but he was already there, and really cool. Good to see.

0:24:500:24:53

Did you have something to eat this morning?

0:24:530:24:57

Little stripes!

0:24:590:25:01

A lovely coat. Yes!

0:25:010:25:04

'There is always a worry. She's had four really good births,

0:25:040:25:07

'so probability is something might go wrong.

0:25:070:25:13

'You never know. Nothing's always 100%.'

0:25:130:25:15

But we do have that faith in her. She's such a good mum. Such a natural, just gets on with it,

0:25:150:25:22

so, you know. There is that worry, but everything went well.

0:25:220:25:24

Unlike his parents, this little boy has striking markings,

0:25:240:25:29

which would be camouflage in the wild. His coat will fade to brown as he gets bigger.

0:25:290:25:36

To be honest, he looks really small,

0:25:380:25:40

but I think it's that we haven't had a baby for 1.5 years,

0:25:400:25:43

and you forget how small they are.

0:25:430:25:47

Yeah, he's very lively, actually, and very strong on his feet. We're pleased.

0:25:470:25:53

After a few days in the house to build his strength,

0:25:530:25:57

the youngster's ready to take his first tentative steps outside.

0:25:570:26:02

It's a whole new world of sights and smells.

0:26:040:26:07

He's feeding all the time, doing really well.

0:26:070:26:11

That will last till 6 months old. And that's when he's weaned and his stripes and spots fade as well.

0:26:110:26:17

It's cold for him, but we need to get him out and about,

0:26:170:26:22

sunshine, exercise his legs.

0:26:220:26:25

We'll be following the progress of this new tapir toddler

0:26:290:26:34

throughout the series.

0:26:340:26:36

I'm up at the rhino house with keepers Kevin Nibbs

0:26:580:27:01

and Adrian Lanfear and, er, well, I'm a little bit confused.

0:27:010:27:06

We've got a barrow full of charcoal

0:27:060:27:09

and three rhinos. What has this, Kevin, got to do with them?

0:27:090:27:14

This time of year, we're coming from giving them hay throughout the day to let the grass come through.

0:27:140:27:19

The new grass tends to upset their tummies a little bit.

0:27:190:27:23

-Yeah.

-They get a little bit... poor digestion, really.

-OK.

0:27:230:27:26

-A lot of wind and stuff.

-They get a slightly... All this rich grass coming through. A bit of diarrhoea?

0:27:260:27:31

Diarrhoea, yeah. It's not very good in rhinos, because there's a lot to shovel up.

0:27:310:27:36

-We want to contain it as much as we can.

-So, why charcoal?

0:27:360:27:39

Well, actually, the idea came from my dad.

0:27:390:27:43

He used to farm the land here and he used to give it to the cows.

0:27:430:27:46

-The ground's very poor in the elements...

-Right.

-..charcoal being one of the natural elements.

0:27:460:27:51

So there's not really good nutrients in this land.

0:27:510:27:55

No, it's very clay-ey and so it's very poor.

0:27:550:27:58

-We've checked with Duncan and he said it's very good...

-Duncan the vet.

-Duncan the vet, yes.

0:27:580:28:03

And he says it can't do no harm and it's good for absorbing toxins

0:28:030:28:07

in the body and good for the digestion.

0:28:070:28:09

-So, a bit of a rhino detox.

-Exactly. The thing is, we've never done it before, so this is a first.

0:28:090:28:14

-All right. What do you think we should do?

-Just post it through and see what happens.

0:28:140:28:20

-Have you been busily making this charcoal?

-Yeah.

-Yeah.

0:28:200:28:25

All winter, we've had lots of fires.

0:28:250:28:27

All the boys have been really happy, standing around.

0:28:270:28:30

Would white rhinos like these normally eat wood anyway?

0:28:300:28:36

Would they chew at wood and kind of...?

0:28:360:28:40

A lot of the trees in Africa, when they rot down, they'll take some of the bark off and eat the rotten pulp.

0:28:400:28:45

-Now, who's this coming up here?

-This is the bull...

-Right.

-..showing some interest.

0:28:450:28:50

Having a sniff there. He's sort of suspicious of it, isn't he?

0:28:500:28:54

It's a new thing for him.

0:28:540:28:55

He's maybe not seen it before. He's a bit curious.

0:28:550:28:59

He'll give it a good sniff and then, hopefully, he'll start chewing on it.

0:28:590:29:03

The girls are coming up.

0:29:030:29:04

Do they tend to follow his lead?

0:29:040:29:06

Do you see them kind of working like that?

0:29:060:29:10

With these three, it's normally the other way round.

0:29:100:29:13

-So the girls will lead him, will they?

-In this situation, yeah.

0:29:130:29:17

Normally, the boys are solitary.

0:29:170:29:20

They're very suspicious of it.

0:29:200:29:22

When you put something new in a rhino enclosure, do you find that they are naturally curious, Adie?

0:29:220:29:29

Do they tend to kind of explore things?

0:29:290:29:31

They are naturally curious but I expected them to be a bit more stand-offish to start with.

0:29:310:29:36

-But they've come straight over. I think the throwing of it in freaked them a little bit.

-Freaked them out.

0:29:360:29:41

-They've come right in.

-We did expect the girls to come over.

0:29:410:29:45

Especially Razina, she's the most curious and playful and inquisitive.

0:29:450:29:49

But Njanu was the first one over. That was a surprise.

0:29:490:29:52

-It seems to be going down well, doesn't it?

-Yes.

0:29:520:29:54

They're eating it quite nice.

0:29:540:29:56

That's really good, really positive.

0:29:560:29:59

So, I suppose, really,

0:29:590:30:01

we've got to wait and see if it has the desired result for you.

0:30:010:30:05

We'll check in the morning and see what they leave with us.

0:30:050:30:08

But hopefully, that'll settle their tummies.

0:30:080:30:10

As spring progresses and more grass comes through, does that mean

0:30:100:30:16

you feed them less hay and less of the hard food?

0:30:160:30:19

Exactly. We'll knock the hard food down by maybe half and maybe cut out

0:30:190:30:24

a lot of the hay during the day and they'll rely mainly on the grass.

0:30:240:30:29

But this time of year, it's nice and green, very lush, and it's going to really upset their tummies.

0:30:290:30:35

They're just loving this.

0:30:350:30:37

I think your dad might have come up with a great solution here.

0:30:370:30:40

-I think he has, yes.

-They're really enjoying it.

0:30:400:30:43

This is great. This is really good.

0:30:430:30:46

-This is what we wanted.

-Well, I'm delighted that it's been such a...

0:30:460:30:49

Well, we'll keep our fingers crossed that it's a successful experiment.

0:30:490:30:54

Kev, Adie, thank you. You've got three extremely happy rhinos,

0:30:540:30:57

hopefully with more settled stomachs.

0:30:570:31:00

Hopefully.

0:31:000:31:01

The safari park is home to more than 400 animals, but that's not all.

0:31:060:31:12

It also has its very own narrow-gauge steam railway.

0:31:120:31:15

And today, I'm going to fulfil a boyhood dream.

0:31:150:31:20

I've come down to Longleat Central for a lesson in steam train driving

0:31:200:31:26

from railway manager John Hayton. Morning, John, can I step aboard?

0:31:260:31:29

You can indeed. Hello, Ben.

0:31:290:31:31

OK. Now, I've got all my gear.

0:31:310:31:33

I've got my hat, I've got my top.

0:31:330:31:35

So, how do we drive a steam train?

0:31:350:31:37

Right, OK. Well, briefly, we've got a nice big boiler full of water, which gives us all the steam we want.

0:31:370:31:44

-Right.

-That's our gauge to tell us how much water's in the boiler at any one time.

0:31:440:31:50

-We mustn't let that get down, otherwise, big problems.

-We'll run out of steam.

0:31:500:31:54

Er, fairly simple to get going.

0:31:540:31:56

We put it into forward gear, we open that gently, making sure the brakes are off, and away we go.

0:31:560:32:02

OK. And do we need to stoke her up?

0:32:020:32:04

-Is that the furnace in there?

-Yeah, you can chuck a couple of rounds on there.

0:32:040:32:09

OK. So this is just coal, is it?

0:32:090:32:11

-It's coal, yeah.

-OK. I'll pop a few of those on there so that we, um, can pick up some speed.

0:32:110:32:16

We'll need that for a bit more steam.

0:32:160:32:18

And to pull all these carriages.

0:32:180:32:20

-Yeah, we've got eight coaches and 150 people on.

-OK.

-Right,

0:32:200:32:26

-we're almost ready to go.

-All set. I'll put my hat on.

-That was a bit

0:32:260:32:30

of a quicker lesson than you would normally have had. But never mind. Let's see if we're ready.

0:32:300:32:36

OK, off we go, then.

0:32:360:32:38

WHISTLE BLOWS

0:32:390:32:41

Pull that gently towards you.

0:32:450:32:48

How much? All the way?

0:32:480:32:49

Not all the way, no. No.

0:32:490:32:51

-A bit more?

-That's enough.

0:32:510:32:54

So, basically, the heat from the furnace heats up the water to create steam.

0:33:100:33:17

How does steam then move the train?

0:33:170:33:20

Well, the steam... Once you open this regulator, the steam collects.

0:33:200:33:24

When you open the valve, the steam then goes down to the cylinders which then move the wheels back and forth.

0:33:240:33:30

-It pumps the wheels so they go back and forth.

-Exactly that.

-It's quite a simple technique.

0:33:300:33:35

Very simple. Yeah. You can't get anything more simple than steam.

0:33:350:33:39

Fantastic. Is this the sort of speed we do?

0:33:390:33:42

We're going downhill now. We don't want to go too fast.

0:33:420:33:45

Give a whistle - we're coming to a crossing.

0:33:450:33:47

-Do I pull it?

-No, just turn it over.

-Turn it.

0:33:470:33:50

WHISTLE BLOWS TWICE

0:33:500:33:53

Is it two whistles for a...?

0:33:530:33:56

-Just a gentle rub on the brake, just to about there.

-Is that enough?

0:33:560:34:00

Yes. You can feel us slowing down now.

0:34:000:34:02

That's when we go downhill, just to slow us down a little bit.

0:34:020:34:06

-That's right, yeah.

-What's her top speed?

0:34:060:34:08

-I don't know. We've never tried.

-You've never opened her up totally.

0:34:080:34:12

-I should imagine it would do 30-40 miles an hour.

-Really?

-Oh, yeah.

0:34:120:34:16

Oh, yeah.

0:34:160:34:18

John, what is it about steam trains that is so romantic to people?

0:34:180:34:23

-Well, you're giving it life, aren't you?

-Yeah.

0:34:230:34:26

When you light the fire in the morning,

0:34:260:34:28

you're giving it life.

0:34:280:34:30

-A couple of toots on the whistle as we go into the tunnel.

-OK.

0:34:320:34:37

TOOT! TOOT!

0:34:370:34:40

That's fantastic, isn't it?

0:34:560:34:57

-Yeah, you're enjoying this.

-I am.

0:34:570:35:00

John, how many more rides today?

0:35:000:35:03

Er, we'll be very busy today.

0:35:030:35:05

Probably another 20, something like that.

0:35:050:35:08

-Yeah.

-20 more, wow!

-Not for me. I've got some paper to push around.

-OK. Not for you.

0:35:080:35:13

I think I could be quite busy.

0:35:130:35:17

Back at the East African Reserve, the big day arrives for the park's new African white-backed vultures.

0:35:370:35:43

They're about to be released into their purpose-built aviary.

0:35:430:35:47

Well, we're really chuffed to say that the enclosure's ready and it's the big release day.

0:35:490:35:53

We're all really looking forward to it.

0:35:530:35:55

The birds have been kept indoors for a while now.

0:35:550:35:59

We have to let them out and see what happens.

0:35:590:36:02

We're a little bit concerned, because when they've been kept in a confined area, if you like,

0:36:020:36:08

and all of a sudden they're going to go out the door and see freedom,

0:36:080:36:13

they may well crash into the fence, which we don't know how it's going to stand up to a vulture hitting it.

0:36:130:36:18

It's quite strong, but they've got sharp beaks, as well, and we're worried they might chew through it.

0:36:180:36:24

To mark the occasion, a distinguished guest has come down

0:36:270:36:30

to help with the release - Lord Bath himself.

0:36:300:36:34

Hello.

0:36:340:36:36

-Do they like each other or hate being put in together?

-They bicker and squabble.

0:36:390:36:43

-They have their spots on the perches, and if someone moves too close, they're a bit...

-Quite human!

0:36:430:36:49

They do flap about a bit.

0:36:490:36:51

I've been to places where vultures are flapping around the road, in Colombia and Venezuela and things,

0:36:530:37:00

so I have seen, but whether they were this kind, that I'm not sure.

0:37:000:37:05

Building the enclosure was a team effort, so keepers from different sections

0:37:050:37:09

have come to take part in Lord Bath's grand opening.

0:37:090:37:13

The special thing about this one is it was conceived by

0:37:130:37:17

those who actually work here, and constructed by, so it's a home-made product.

0:37:170:37:23

The official name for the aviary will be The Venue.

0:37:230:37:28

So it is time it to declare The Venue...

0:37:280:37:33

open.

0:37:330:37:35

That's a relief! I thought it wasn't going to open.

0:37:370:37:40

The vultures need no encouragement to take to the air.

0:37:420:37:47

Happily for Mark, they head straight for the perches he's built.

0:37:550:38:00

So which part of Africa do these come from? Is it Africa?

0:38:010:38:05

Yes, they are an African species. Mainly a plains bird.

0:38:050:38:08

Will you find a mass of them, or...?

0:38:080:38:11

Yeah, probably. They're nature's scavenger.

0:38:110:38:15

They're the cleaner, if you like.

0:38:150:38:16

Wherever there's dead animals, there'll be vultures in their hundreds.

0:38:160:38:21

When I was in South America, I remember seeing a dead donkey,

0:38:210:38:25

and driving by, suddenly a flock of these great big vultures were taking to the air.

0:38:250:38:32

What about an amorous vulture? How do they behave?

0:38:320:38:36

That's something I know nothing about, because they're new to us.

0:38:360:38:40

Until they establish themselves and we see some sort of mating and pairing up,

0:38:400:38:45

I don't really know what to expect for that.

0:38:450:38:48

Despite their fearsome looks, Lord Bath hopes they'll be an asset to the park.

0:38:480:38:54

We want to give everyone nice dreams at night.

0:38:540:38:57

I'm not sure if this is the right way but, anyway, we must do this as an experiment to see.

0:38:570:39:02

And there's plenty of things to have nice dreams about, so a little blend of both -

0:39:020:39:08

the spice of excitement as well as the cuddly ones.

0:39:080:39:13

Mark Tye helped design the enclosure and supervised the build.

0:39:130:39:18

Now he can enjoy watching the vultures settle in.

0:39:180:39:21

It's been nice to see them actually get up and get control of their wings and see them moving around.

0:39:210:39:27

They look so much bigger when they're actually out flying around than when they're up on the perch.

0:39:270:39:33

They've got a very nice character.

0:39:330:39:35

They're not just a bird that sits there and looks a bit bland.

0:39:350:39:40

They have got a facial expression, if you like. They do look different.

0:39:400:39:44

They're enjoyable to watch, especially when they feed.

0:39:440:39:47

It's quite something else.

0:39:470:39:49

We'll be back later in the series to see what happens when the vultures are given their first full feed.

0:39:490:39:56

Kate and I have come up to the giraffe house

0:40:010:40:04

to meet two of Longleat's dromedary camels, Vera and Caroline.

0:40:040:40:08

Not forgetting head of section Andy Hayton. Andy, they're fantastic, these camels.

0:40:080:40:15

What are we feeding them now?

0:40:150:40:18

This is just their evening feed - bran and some nuts that we feed the majority of the hoof stock here.

0:40:180:40:23

-How are you getting on over there, Kate?

-I've got a very hungry camel. Which one's this?

-This is Vera.

0:40:230:40:28

-Dromedaries differ from the Bactrian camels because they've got one hump.

-That's right.

0:40:280:40:34

-What are the other differences?

-Basically, where they live.

0:40:340:40:37

-The Bactrians will come from Asia, really cold climes.

-Yeah.

0:40:370:40:42

These - Arabia, North Africa.

0:40:420:40:45

These are the ones that are used for racing and things like that.

0:40:450:40:49

Am I right in thinking there are actually no camels left in their indigenous places?

0:40:490:40:54

No, all the dromedaries are pretty much domesticated now,

0:40:540:41:00

apart from the Australian ones that were taken out there when they were trekking around Australia.

0:41:000:41:04

These were the best things to take around there.

0:41:040:41:07

Animals escaped or were released, and now there's a good wild population out in Australia.

0:41:070:41:12

-But they wouldn't have occurred in Australia naturally?

-No, no.

0:41:120:41:15

They're just one of those things that gets dumped on Australia.

0:41:150:41:19

Cane toads and camels!

0:41:190:41:22

They're clearly incredibly adaptable and cope amazingly well with very, very dry conditions.

0:41:220:41:27

Yeah, absolutely. And they do really well here.

0:41:270:41:30

You don't want them having too much food because,

0:41:300:41:33

like most of our animals, they're designed to live on not a lot.

0:41:330:41:36

But these two are a real couple of characters.

0:41:360:41:39

Vera is pretty soppy, and Caroline's like the bully out of the two.

0:41:390:41:44

I love their eyelashes.

0:41:440:41:46

-Huge!

-Yeah. They're just totally adapted for sand.

0:41:460:41:49

They've got a third eyelid.

0:41:490:41:51

These things can live out in sandstorms and stuff like that.

0:41:510:41:55

These eyelashes would protect the eye from getting any sand in them if there was sand blowing about?

0:41:550:42:00

Yeah, there's a third eyelid, as well, which acts a bit like your windscreen wiper.

0:42:000:42:05

You're about to be invaded by a rogue llama.

0:42:050:42:07

I'm sorry, this isn't for you. Andy, thank you very much indeed.

0:42:070:42:11

We shall leave these two girls to their dinner.

0:42:110:42:13

That's all we've got time for today, but here's what's coming up on the next Animal Park.

0:42:130:42:19

White rhino bull Winston becomes a sperm donor.

0:42:200:42:24

Will artificial insemination allow him to become a father at last?

0:42:240:42:28

At the giraffery, Becky is giving birth all by herself.

0:42:280:42:33

The bat cave needs a make-over, but first Darren and his troops must round up the bats.

0:42:350:42:40

Oh! Dropped it!

0:42:400:42:43

And the lion cubs are keen to play with their new toy,

0:42:450:42:49

but Kabir's got there first.

0:42:490:42:51

Jasira's thinking, "I want a go, but my dad won't let me!"

0:42:510:42:55

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd - 2006

0:43:030:43:06

E-mail [email protected]

0:43:060:43:10

Ben Fogle and Kate Humble explore life behind the scenes at Longleat Estate and Safari Park. The vultures are gathering at Longleat - will the ten African white-backed vultures take to their brand new enclosure? The white rhino have got a case of the trots, so Kate tries an unusual homeopathic cure. And Jess and Jethro have given birth to Gomez - a beautiful baby tapir.


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