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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-Hello and welcome to Animal Park. I'm Ben Fogle.
-And I'm Kate Humble.
And as you can see, we're in Monkey Jungle with the rhesus macaque monkeys.
There are even little babies like this one just here!
They are amongst the most entertaining animals here at the safari park,
although you might have to donate a bit of your car to keep the show on the road!
We will of course bring you stories from all over the safari park today,
-It is time
to declare the venue...open!
The vultures are gathering at Longleat. We'll see how they settle in to their new home.
The lion cubs have been playing rough...
Now little Jasira's been injured. We'll find out if her romping days are over.
Ben fulfils a boyhood dream
with a full head of steam out on Longleat's narrow-gauge railway.
And Jessie the South American tapir's due to give birth any day now.
But will she deliver on schedule?
But first, the park boasts many colourful birds among its residents
including Chilean flamingos,
sacred ibis and African spoonbill.
But now a new species with a heavyweight reputation has come to the park.
These African white-backed vultures are nature's ultimate airborne scavengers.
But, sadly, they are now classed as vulnerable in the wild.
There are five males and five females, which the team hope will breed.
For now, they're being kept in temporary winter quarters
while, outside, feverish work is going on to finish their enclosure.
Head of section Mark Tye is in charge of the birds.
He wants to make sure they have enough space to fly freely.
For ten birds with wingspans of up to ten feet, that's a lot of space.
In just over a week, we've managed to put up all the line wires
that will hold up the roof and the supports for the main nets.
We've put all the nets up around the back of the enclosure and now we're finishing off along the front.
The only thing after that is the roof.
The roof is one big section that has to be pulled up and over,
which will be quite tedious and time-consuming.
The new enclosure is going to be the size of six tennis courts and as tall as a three-storey building.
With the sides finished, it's time to heave the roof into place.
Keepers from all sections of the park have come together to help.
The netting weighs almost a tonne - more than all the construction team put together.
It's made using heavy-duty fishing net,
heavy enough, Mark hopes, to resist the vultures' sharp beaks.
Until we let them out, we won't know what's going to happen.
The net's thicker than the flamingo net.
But they've got a big, hooked beak - if they want to chew through it, they will.
So it's going to be a bit of an experiment.
If they want out, they'll get out.
So we'll just hope they'll be happy enough in there and they won't attempt it.
One of the challenges for Mark is to provide the vultures with a home that's as close
to their natural habitat as possible and full of interesting features to keep them occupied.
Trees in there, with perches. We're going to put a lot more up.
This is not the finished product as regards perching just yet.
A pond for them to bathe in. They like washing and sunning themselves afterwards.
And the only other thing, really, is a house we're going to have built over there
which will double up as a winter quarters.
If weather gets bad, we can hopefully get them into there.
Also, when we first bring them up, we'll be able to put them in there
and let them out a couple at a time.
I'm looking forward to seeing them out in a big enclosure like this.
I just hope they use it and fly around a lot in it.
We'll be back to see what the vultures make of their new home.
The last few weeks in Lion Country
have been full of fun for the two young cubs, Malaika and Jasira.
With the warmer weather, they've been out exploring the enclosure
and testing their own limits. They learn the key skills
of hunting and fighting by playing with each other
and with their parents.
But sometimes the playful rough and tumble takes its toll.
A few days ago, the keepers noticed something wrong.
Young Jasira had developed a limp and everyone was worried that she might be badly hurt.
Safari park vet Duncan Williams was called out to see if she'd broken any bones.
She's pretty lame on her left fore.
I think it is probably just a soft-tissue injury, as opposed to a fractured leg or anything like that.
To stop the limp becoming worse, Duncan prescribed a course
of anti-inflammatory medicine for the little cub.
Come on. Oh, yeah. Good girl.
That's it. Way-hey!
Now the injury has had time to heal, I wanted to see how Jasira is getting on.
And when better than at feeding time?
So, this is Kabir, just out here. I'm also with keeper Bob Trollope.
We've come to check up, mainly, on the the cubs, Bob.
-I can see one cub behind us, pattering along.
-They're both there.
There they are, they're both there, tearing along!
Well, that really answers my question.
Just remind me what happened. One of them had a problem with a paw.
Jasira, running alongside us now, had some soft-tissue damage.
As you can see, she's a lot better now.
-It was most probably through a bit of boisterous play.
Kabir trying to get at the camera tied to the top.
You don't think that it could have been him that caused the damage to Jasira, the cub, do you?
They are extremely boisterous, as cubs.
I would have thought it was more so tumbling about with Malaika. Because they do have some little scraps.
-But it's all playful.
-Typical cub play?
Yeah, just playing. And it's all to do with learning, I suppose.
Here you are, mate. There you go.
-Are the cubs taking any meat at the moment?
They've got quite a voracious appetite.
Going after Dad, look.
-Look at that!
That is something, presumably, Dad wouldn't tolerate -
-a young whippersnapper taking his meat?
-No, he's very much a foodie, is Kabir.
He'll normally grab something and run off with it, as you can see.
I'm quite surprised... That's Malaika, isn't it, the bigger cub?
She's got her piece before this adult female here.
Yeah. They tend to sort of...
Mum will go and grab a piece and if cubby's run up, they'll relinquish it to them quite often.
Really and truly, they can't be bothered with cubby pestering them.
So they let them have it, get another piece and go off and peacefully eat it.
I suppose the difference here from in the wild is that they know there's plenty to go round.
Yeah, we're lucky in the way that we can cut it into chunks
so that Kabir or one of the females doesn't sit on it and not let any of the others have it.
That's why we do it like this.
-Look at him running across.
-He is a foodie.
-He looks like...
That is the absolute epitome of a happy lion, isn't it?
-He's a bit of a hoarder, this one.
-And so what happens now, Bob?
You've got two healthy cubs,
two obviously successful mothers - will they breed again this year?
They shouldn't do. But it's not impossible.
Really and truly, the female shouldn't come into season
-much before the cubs are about 18 months old.
-So nature, basically, prevents
having too many young cubs at once?
Yeah. At 18 months, though, young males or young females
may be pushed out of the pride and then you get the next generation coming up.
Well, I'm delighted that Jasira is obviously doing so well and that both the cubs are thriving.
Great to see them, Bob. Thank you very much indeed.
Spring is a special time of year all over the park,
as the animals come out to enjoy the sunnier weather and the breeding season gets underway.
The park's two South American tapirs, Jessie and Jethro,
have been here for nine years, and over that time have produced four calves.
Recently, park staff were delighted to discover Jessie was pregnant again.
Ben joined vet Duncan Williams, Head of Section Andy Hayton and keeper Bev Evans as they gave Jessie
an ultrasound scan to make sure all was going well.
Duncan, I know you're busy doing that.
You're looking for movement with the machine?
Yeah, we're just trying to have a look at the baby
through the abdominal wall with the ultrasound scanner,
much as you would do when you go to hospital.
You put some jelly on it. Why do you do that?
The jelly is basically just to get a good contact
between the skin and the scanner.
I can't quite make it out. Is it there on the screen?
Yes, that's it, there.
And what sort of signs are you looking for, Duncan?
We're just basically making sure everything's OK, making sure there's a bit of movement,
and she's pretty imminent - she's got a huge udder.
-She's already showing signs of restlessness.
I would be surprised if it does drag on more than a day or two.
With the birth due any time now, Bev is in charge of getting everything ready for Jessie's new arrival.
Since Jess is getting close to a due date, we've started to separate them.
Normally, we wouldn't. They love being in a pair.
But with a week to go, it's one of our procedures before the birth.
It's not just for the baby's benefit that Jessie and Jethro are apart.
Hey, Jeth, what you doing? Being a good boy?
'He's quite a laid-back adult male. He wouldn't do anything to the baby.
'But he's being overprotective and beating him round, and we don't want that.'
And it's nice for the mum and baby to bond before we do any mixing.
He can see them, so it should be fine.
Tapirs carry their young for 13 months.
With such a long gestation period, it's almost impossible to predict
when Jessie'll give birth, but Bev suspects it'll happen tonight.
Her udder's dropping quite a lot, and there's a lot of change.
We've got to look out for behaviour changes, cos she will tell us when she's starting.
Now all Bev can do is wait.
We'll be back to see if Jessie delivers on schedule.
Over in Pets' Corner live some of the park's most reliable performers.
The 17 parrots.
Experts believe that parrots have the intelligence of a 4-year-old child.
So to keep them stimulated, keepers teach them interesting tricks.
Parrots also love being the centre of attention,
so every day during the summer, they put on shows for the visitors.
Another spin? Very nice! Give her a little round of applause!
Performances will be starting soon, so time to get the stage ready for the squawking superstars.
I'm down at Pets' Corner with keeper Rob Saving, helping out
-with a changeover of the perches for the parrots.
-The very noisy parrots!
-Yes, we are re-perching.
-So, why are we doing this?
-Couple of reasons we do this, really.
When they get worn, we need to replace them for the birds' sake, for many reasons.
Basically, their beaks and their claws are always growing,
a bit like our fingernails, very slightly.
So the birds need to rough them and wear them down on bark.
That's why it's ideal to get really rough bark - usually oak's quite a good one.
-This one's been redone, has it?
-We've done all of these. We've got two left here.
And what parrot have we got here?
Bobby, getting quite excited because his perch desperately needs doing.
So, all that bark that's been taken off, has he taken that off with his beak?
That's all him.
And it didn't take him long to do. We are constantly doing this.
Before we put the next one on, I just want...
-It's important to keep it clean, so we just want to give that a scrub.
-So how often would you do this?
As often as needed, really.
It's very good for them, not only for their beaks, but also for enrichment.
They love chewing it, Bobby especially. He rips his up in probably the space of a week.
Ideally, if I can, I'll do it every couple of weeks.
-Presumably, you get all the wood from the estate.
If we hear something's fallen down, an old tree, ideally we want to find some nice rough oak,
or even things like apple.
The rougher the better. That bark, if it's really rough
and they can get their claws right into it, it's like a nail file.
Unfortunately, some of these perches... We'll scrub these as well.
-Are we going to scrub the wood?
-Just lightly. Because, when we get them from the woods,
it might have a little bit of muck and a little bit of bird poo on it.
We want to make sure they're not going to get anything off the wood.
We'll move on to Bobby now. If I just move him out the way, because he's a bit grumpy this morning.
-Do you want to just try and get that one off for me?
The thing with Bobby, part of his show - you'll see in a moment if I can show you -
he likes perches with a nice long, thin piece.
I was talking about the different sizes and the different shapes we can get.
Because he does this little thing where he hangs upside down.
-Can we see that?
-We'll see it in a minute. He started doing it on his own.
I was doing a show once and I looked behind me and all of a sudden, Bobby was upside down.
-It was quite funny. It got such a reaction, such a laugh, I encouraged him to do it.
-Just come over here.
-Is he a little bit...?
-He's all right.
But he's a bit grumpy this morning.
Bobby, do your bat impression. Will you show us your bat?
That's it. So he always loves a perch where he's able to do it.
-Well done, boy.
He's always able to do that and he likes a perch he can do that on.
I know what we're looking for now.
Bobby, I will try to do the same again with some proper wood.
We haven't got the best here, but we'll have a go.
-There is a thin piece.
-Rob, thank you very much. Let's crack on with this.
Longleat's ten African white-backed vultures are waiting to be transferred
to their brand-new enclosure, which has finally been completed.
But first, they have to be rounded up. It could be a dangerous job.
The enclosure's all finished. Nothing more needs to be done.
It's just now the dodgy task of catching hold of them and putting them in boxes.
So it's look out for your fingers time.
Once the birds are released into the enclosure, it won't be easy to get hold of them,
so Mark has asked vet Duncan Williams to give them a final health check.
We'd just like Duncan to give them a visual check -
check their feet, because they are prone to feet problems, through perching for too long.
We're also going to leg-band them and worm them at the same time.
They're tetchy things and they don't like being grabbed hold of.
So, you know, we do have to be a bit careful.
The task of catching them falls to keeper Luke Priddle,
using a net and special lightproof bag.
He takes a nip for his trouble.
In the dark, they tend to just stay still.
That's the main reason we use the black net.
Trying to keep their head in it isn't always easy!
It's hard to tell a male vulture from a female vulture.
One of the only ways to know for sure is to test a feather sample.
Vet Duncan also administers the worming injection and takes a close look at the birds' condition.
We've had a couple of problems with their feet.
So I'm making sure their feet are nice and healthy - there's no bumblefoot infections
or anything going on before they're released into the big pen.
When the birds are out and flying free,
Mark will need to know who's who, so they fit each with a leg band.
It's important for us to be able to identify which bird's which,
particularly out in a big enclosure.
If you saw one that perhaps was a bit off-colour, without that kind of identification, it's going to be
very difficult the next day, maybe, to see which one it was or whatever.
It's always useful to be able to positively ID your animals.
Next, it's into the crate and ready for transport.
One down, nine to go.
The vulture's beak is powerful enough to rip into any African animal carcass it finds.
With so many birds to handle, the team must not let their guard down.
As you can see, one wrong move and the beak's out
and you're going to lose a finger.
If they grab hold of you, they won't let go.
He's caught on the net.
Hang on, don't put your hand in there.
I've got the tail up here.
Thankfully, the staff survive with all their fingers intact.
Now the birds are taken to the vulture house inside the new enclosure.
They'll be kept there for a little while to settle in, before being allowed out into the open.
They've been comfortable in the house and now they've been
shoved in a box and unceremoniously driven up the road and pushed out in a new environment.
Initially they're going to be very stressed, very unaware of what's going on.
We just want to get them out of the box and come away and let them take
their surroundings in in their own time without any disturbance.
This is just going to be pretty much a sick bay and a shelter in case of bad weather.
The majority of the time, they're going to actually be out in the enclosure.
This is purely just somewhere we can segregate birds if they're ill,
or if we need to get them in through adverse weather, then that's where they'll go.
Soon, these mighty birds will be ready to take flight.
We'll be back to see if the net holds up.
Part of the park's mission is to educate the public about the whole animal kingdom.
At Pets' Corner, staff encourage visitors to get as close as possible
to the residents, even some of the more scary-looking ones.
I tell you, this is the thing to do on a cold day.
You have to hold a snake, you have to have a hot-water bottle to keep it warm
-and it's keeping me beautifully warm! I'm here with Jo Hawthorn. Who's this?
-This is Khan.
-He's a royal python.
-And he's one of your Meet The Creatures, isn't he?
-Yes, he is.
How does Meet The Creatures work?
Basically, what we do, Kate, when the weather's nice and sunny, we bring him outside and we kind of,
we use him for the children and the adults to meet them and let them have an opportunity to have a stroke,
you know, have a touch, have a hold and learn that, really, these guys are not out to get you.
They're beautiful to touch, as you can probably feel.
-And they're not scary at all.
-No. And do you find that it works?
Do people come here who really are very scared of snakes?
Definitely. Everyone has this preconceived idea that they're slimy,
you know, they're wet and cold and they're horrible, you know.
When they touch them, they're really surprised and shocked at how they feel.
-They are incredibly silky and smooth...
..and not at all slimy. Totally dry.
And what about snakes as pets? Does it then encourage people to think, "I'd really like a snake as a pet"?
Well, hopefully, what we're trying to do is we're trying to let people
have the opportunity to get a feel for them
-but, at the same time, making them realise that this is going to grow to about 5ft long.
They do need the correct heating, lighting, correct food.
They're a big maintenance, you know.
So we're trying to give them the opportunity of having a touch and a hold without...
and maybe realising that they do need specialist care.
-So not the ideal pet to have.
it's a huge privilege to be this close to such a gorgeous animal,
and we've got lots more gorgeous animals coming up on today's programme.
Beautiful they may be, but these white rhino have a case of the trots.
Maybe a lump of charcoal will help.
We'll take off with these grim reapers in the new vulture venue. But will the net be strong enough?
And I'll be putting on cap and overalls for the trip of a lifetime
out on the Longleat line.
-Fantastic, isn't it?
But first, up at the tapir house, there's some happy news.
Overnight, Jessie delivered a healthy baby boy.
Keeper Bev Evans was up at dawn to check on the pair,
and captured this amazing footage of the tapir calf at just a few hours old.
We did expect he was coming,
as Jess had shown all the signs - labour signs - the pacing around,
so we all kind of knew,
but I was sent up on morning check specially just to check,
but he was already there, and really cool. Good to see.
Did you have something to eat this morning?
A lovely coat. Yes!
'There is always a worry. She's had four really good births,
'so probability is something might go wrong.
'You never know. Nothing's always 100%.'
But we do have that faith in her. She's such a good mum. Such a natural, just gets on with it,
so, you know. There is that worry, but everything went well.
Unlike his parents, this little boy has striking markings,
which would be camouflage in the wild. His coat will fade to brown as he gets bigger.
To be honest, he looks really small,
but I think it's that we haven't had a baby for 1.5 years,
and you forget how small they are.
Yeah, he's very lively, actually, and very strong on his feet. We're pleased.
After a few days in the house to build his strength,
the youngster's ready to take his first tentative steps outside.
It's a whole new world of sights and smells.
He's feeding all the time, doing really well.
That will last till 6 months old. And that's when he's weaned and his stripes and spots fade as well.
It's cold for him, but we need to get him out and about,
sunshine, exercise his legs.
We'll be following the progress of this new tapir toddler
throughout the series.
I'm up at the rhino house with keepers Kevin Nibbs
and Adrian Lanfear and, er, well, I'm a little bit confused.
We've got a barrow full of charcoal
and three rhinos. What has this, Kevin, got to do with them?
This time of year, we're coming from giving them hay throughout the day to let the grass come through.
The new grass tends to upset their tummies a little bit.
-They get a little bit... poor digestion, really.
-A lot of wind and stuff.
-They get a slightly... All this rich grass coming through. A bit of diarrhoea?
Diarrhoea, yeah. It's not very good in rhinos, because there's a lot to shovel up.
-We want to contain it as much as we can.
-So, why charcoal?
Well, actually, the idea came from my dad.
He used to farm the land here and he used to give it to the cows.
-The ground's very poor in the elements...
-..charcoal being one of the natural elements.
So there's not really good nutrients in this land.
No, it's very clay-ey and so it's very poor.
-We've checked with Duncan and he said it's very good...
-Duncan the vet.
-Duncan the vet, yes.
And he says it can't do no harm and it's good for absorbing toxins
in the body and good for the digestion.
-So, a bit of a rhino detox.
-Exactly. The thing is, we've never done it before, so this is a first.
-All right. What do you think we should do?
-Just post it through and see what happens.
-Have you been busily making this charcoal?
All winter, we've had lots of fires.
All the boys have been really happy, standing around.
Would white rhinos like these normally eat wood anyway?
Would they chew at wood and kind of...?
A lot of the trees in Africa, when they rot down, they'll take some of the bark off and eat the rotten pulp.
-Now, who's this coming up here?
-This is the bull...
-..showing some interest.
Having a sniff there. He's sort of suspicious of it, isn't he?
It's a new thing for him.
He's maybe not seen it before. He's a bit curious.
He'll give it a good sniff and then, hopefully, he'll start chewing on it.
The girls are coming up.
Do they tend to follow his lead?
Do you see them kind of working like that?
With these three, it's normally the other way round.
-So the girls will lead him, will they?
-In this situation, yeah.
Normally, the boys are solitary.
They're very suspicious of it.
When you put something new in a rhino enclosure, do you find that they are naturally curious, Adie?
Do they tend to kind of explore things?
They are naturally curious but I expected them to be a bit more stand-offish to start with.
-But they've come straight over. I think the throwing of it in freaked them a little bit.
-Freaked them out.
-They've come right in.
-We did expect the girls to come over.
Especially Razina, she's the most curious and playful and inquisitive.
But Njanu was the first one over. That was a surprise.
-It seems to be going down well, doesn't it?
They're eating it quite nice.
That's really good, really positive.
So, I suppose, really,
we've got to wait and see if it has the desired result for you.
We'll check in the morning and see what they leave with us.
But hopefully, that'll settle their tummies.
As spring progresses and more grass comes through, does that mean
you feed them less hay and less of the hard food?
Exactly. We'll knock the hard food down by maybe half and maybe cut out
a lot of the hay during the day and they'll rely mainly on the grass.
But this time of year, it's nice and green, very lush, and it's going to really upset their tummies.
They're just loving this.
I think your dad might have come up with a great solution here.
-I think he has, yes.
-They're really enjoying it.
This is great. This is really good.
-This is what we wanted.
-Well, I'm delighted that it's been such a...
Well, we'll keep our fingers crossed that it's a successful experiment.
Kev, Adie, thank you. You've got three extremely happy rhinos,
hopefully with more settled stomachs.
The safari park is home to more than 400 animals, but that's not all.
It also has its very own narrow-gauge steam railway.
And today, I'm going to fulfil a boyhood dream.
I've come down to Longleat Central for a lesson in steam train driving
from railway manager John Hayton. Morning, John, can I step aboard?
You can indeed. Hello, Ben.
OK. Now, I've got all my gear.
I've got my hat, I've got my top.
So, how do we drive a steam train?
Right, OK. Well, briefly, we've got a nice big boiler full of water, which gives us all the steam we want.
-That's our gauge to tell us how much water's in the boiler at any one time.
-We mustn't let that get down, otherwise, big problems.
-We'll run out of steam.
Er, fairly simple to get going.
We put it into forward gear, we open that gently, making sure the brakes are off, and away we go.
OK. And do we need to stoke her up?
-Is that the furnace in there?
-Yeah, you can chuck a couple of rounds on there.
OK. So this is just coal, is it?
-It's coal, yeah.
-OK. I'll pop a few of those on there so that we, um, can pick up some speed.
We'll need that for a bit more steam.
And to pull all these carriages.
-Yeah, we've got eight coaches and 150 people on.
-we're almost ready to go.
-All set. I'll put my hat on.
-That was a bit
of a quicker lesson than you would normally have had. But never mind. Let's see if we're ready.
OK, off we go, then.
Pull that gently towards you.
How much? All the way?
Not all the way, no. No.
-A bit more?
So, basically, the heat from the furnace heats up the water to create steam.
How does steam then move the train?
Well, the steam... Once you open this regulator, the steam collects.
When you open the valve, the steam then goes down to the cylinders which then move the wheels back and forth.
-It pumps the wheels so they go back and forth.
-It's quite a simple technique.
Very simple. Yeah. You can't get anything more simple than steam.
Fantastic. Is this the sort of speed we do?
We're going downhill now. We don't want to go too fast.
Give a whistle - we're coming to a crossing.
-Do I pull it?
-No, just turn it over.
WHISTLE BLOWS TWICE
Is it two whistles for a...?
-Just a gentle rub on the brake, just to about there.
-Is that enough?
Yes. You can feel us slowing down now.
That's when we go downhill, just to slow us down a little bit.
-That's right, yeah.
-What's her top speed?
-I don't know. We've never tried.
-You've never opened her up totally.
-I should imagine it would do 30-40 miles an hour.
John, what is it about steam trains that is so romantic to people?
-Well, you're giving it life, aren't you?
When you light the fire in the morning,
you're giving it life.
-A couple of toots on the whistle as we go into the tunnel.
That's fantastic, isn't it?
-Yeah, you're enjoying this.
John, how many more rides today?
Er, we'll be very busy today.
Probably another 20, something like that.
-20 more, wow!
-Not for me. I've got some paper to push around.
-OK. Not for you.
I think I could be quite busy.
Back at the East African Reserve, the big day arrives for the park's new African white-backed vultures.
They're about to be released into their purpose-built aviary.
Well, we're really chuffed to say that the enclosure's ready and it's the big release day.
We're all really looking forward to it.
The birds have been kept indoors for a while now.
We have to let them out and see what happens.
We're a little bit concerned, because when they've been kept in a confined area, if you like,
and all of a sudden they're going to go out the door and see freedom,
they may well crash into the fence, which we don't know how it's going to stand up to a vulture hitting it.
It's quite strong, but they've got sharp beaks, as well, and we're worried they might chew through it.
To mark the occasion, a distinguished guest has come down
to help with the release - Lord Bath himself.
-Do they like each other or hate being put in together?
-They bicker and squabble.
-They have their spots on the perches, and if someone moves too close, they're a bit...
They do flap about a bit.
I've been to places where vultures are flapping around the road, in Colombia and Venezuela and things,
so I have seen, but whether they were this kind, that I'm not sure.
Building the enclosure was a team effort, so keepers from different sections
have come to take part in Lord Bath's grand opening.
The special thing about this one is it was conceived by
those who actually work here, and constructed by, so it's a home-made product.
The official name for the aviary will be The Venue.
So it is time it to declare The Venue...
That's a relief! I thought it wasn't going to open.
The vultures need no encouragement to take to the air.
Happily for Mark, they head straight for the perches he's built.
So which part of Africa do these come from? Is it Africa?
Yes, they are an African species. Mainly a plains bird.
Will you find a mass of them, or...?
Yeah, probably. They're nature's scavenger.
They're the cleaner, if you like.
Wherever there's dead animals, there'll be vultures in their hundreds.
When I was in South America, I remember seeing a dead donkey,
and driving by, suddenly a flock of these great big vultures were taking to the air.
What about an amorous vulture? How do they behave?
That's something I know nothing about, because they're new to us.
Until they establish themselves and we see some sort of mating and pairing up,
I don't really know what to expect for that.
Despite their fearsome looks, Lord Bath hopes they'll be an asset to the park.
We want to give everyone nice dreams at night.
I'm not sure if this is the right way but, anyway, we must do this as an experiment to see.
And there's plenty of things to have nice dreams about, so a little blend of both -
the spice of excitement as well as the cuddly ones.
Mark Tye helped design the enclosure and supervised the build.
Now he can enjoy watching the vultures settle in.
It's been nice to see them actually get up and get control of their wings and see them moving around.
They look so much bigger when they're actually out flying around than when they're up on the perch.
They've got a very nice character.
They're not just a bird that sits there and looks a bit bland.
They have got a facial expression, if you like. They do look different.
They're enjoyable to watch, especially when they feed.
It's quite something else.
We'll be back later in the series to see what happens when the vultures are given their first full feed.
Kate and I have come up to the giraffe house
to meet two of Longleat's dromedary camels, Vera and Caroline.
Not forgetting head of section Andy Hayton. Andy, they're fantastic, these camels.
What are we feeding them now?
This is just their evening feed - bran and some nuts that we feed the majority of the hoof stock here.
-How are you getting on over there, Kate?
-I've got a very hungry camel. Which one's this?
-This is Vera.
-Dromedaries differ from the Bactrian camels because they've got one hump.
-What are the other differences?
-Basically, where they live.
-The Bactrians will come from Asia, really cold climes.
These - Arabia, North Africa.
These are the ones that are used for racing and things like that.
Am I right in thinking there are actually no camels left in their indigenous places?
No, all the dromedaries are pretty much domesticated now,
apart from the Australian ones that were taken out there when they were trekking around Australia.
These were the best things to take around there.
Animals escaped or were released, and now there's a good wild population out in Australia.
-But they wouldn't have occurred in Australia naturally?
They're just one of those things that gets dumped on Australia.
Cane toads and camels!
They're clearly incredibly adaptable and cope amazingly well with very, very dry conditions.
Yeah, absolutely. And they do really well here.
You don't want them having too much food because,
like most of our animals, they're designed to live on not a lot.
But these two are a real couple of characters.
Vera is pretty soppy, and Caroline's like the bully out of the two.
I love their eyelashes.
-Yeah. They're just totally adapted for sand.
They've got a third eyelid.
These things can live out in sandstorms and stuff like that.
These eyelashes would protect the eye from getting any sand in them if there was sand blowing about?
Yeah, there's a third eyelid, as well, which acts a bit like your windscreen wiper.
You're about to be invaded by a rogue llama.
I'm sorry, this isn't for you. Andy, thank you very much indeed.
We shall leave these two girls to their dinner.
That's all we've got time for today, but here's what's coming up on the next Animal Park.
White rhino bull Winston becomes a sperm donor.
Will artificial insemination allow him to become a father at last?
At the giraffery, Becky is giving birth all by herself.
The bat cave needs a make-over, but first Darren and his troops must round up the bats.
Oh! Dropped it!
And the lion cubs are keen to play with their new toy,
but Kabir's got there first.
Jasira's thinking, "I want a go, but my dad won't let me!"
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd - 2006
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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.