Episode 14 Animal Park


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Episode 14

Ben Fogle and Kate Humble explore life behind the scenes at Longleat Estate and Safari Park. The bat cave needs a makeover, but first Darren and his troops must round up the bats.


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Transcript


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Hello and welcome to Animal Park. I'm Kate Humble.

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I'm Ben Fogle, and these are Longleat's Bactrian camels.

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Although there's quite a crowd here, they're actually quite rare in the wild.

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To find them, you would have to go to Mongolia or to China, where there are only a few hundred left.

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They survive in one of the most extreme environments in the world, where temperatures plummet to -20.

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Well, we've got lots of other remarkable animals on today's programme, including...

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White rhino bull Winston becomes a sperm donor.

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

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

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Got one. ..Oh! Dropped it.

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

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but Kabir's got there first.

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

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-Oh!

-Aaah!

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But first, for decades, Longleat has played an important role

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in preserving the white rhino from extinction.

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Though breeding rhino in captivity is notoriously difficult,

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in the 1980s, the park successfully bred eight calves.

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Adult male Winston moved here in 1993 from Windsor Safari Park.

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It was hoped that he would carry on the breeding tradition, but sadly Winston never mated.

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OK, let's see what he does.

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Recently, we saw keepers introduce him to a new female, Marashi.

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Here we go!

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Wow, what a reaction.

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But though they hit it off at first, so far romance has not blossomed.

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Now Winston's 39 years old, and his time is running out.

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To maintain genetic diversity amongst rhino, it's important to preserve Winston's bloodline,

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so Head Warden Keith Harris has decided to try a new experiment -

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artificial insemination for rhinos.

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It's quite important we do use genes or blood from him within the breeding population.

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So if this works, it will be very good.

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Winston will have left us with something

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when he goes to where all the rhinos go.

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Last year, a veterinary team from the Berlin Institute For Zoo And Wildlife Research,

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who are pioneering artificial insemination for rhinos,

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came to Longleat to see if Winston's sperm was healthy enough to use.

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To everyone's delight, tests showed that Winston's sperm is very potent indeed.

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Now the Berlin team has come back to take another sample, and try to implant it into a rhino cow.

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Vet Robert Hermes is hopeful that, using their new technique,

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Winston could become a father at last.

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A semen collection lasts about 20, 30 minutes.

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We'll look at what we have and then pack up as quickly as we can,

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and drive up to the West Midlands Safari where two females are waiting to be inseminated.

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But first, Winston must be sedated.

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It's a painless procedure, but the gun is needed to get the syringe through Winston's thick hide.

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To keep him calm while the drug takes effect, keepers muffle his ears and cover his eyes.

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Once Winston is unconscious, the team will have to move fast,

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so he remains sedated for as little time as possible.

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It's a rare opportunity to get a really close look at Winston.

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Last time he was sedated, a tumour was discovered on one of his testicles,

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and now Keith needs to find out if it's grown.

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They've just been scanning the testis that had the tumour on.

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I think the early thought is that it hasn't actually grown...

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in size any more than last time, so that is slightly encouraging.

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Can I get you here to hold this? Come on.

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In order to extract sperm, Winston must be unconscious, but not too deeply asleep.

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Moment by moment, vet Mark Combert monitors his condition.

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These spasms are normal. It's sort of a nervous reflex reaction.

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So it's not that he's waking up, it's just he gets a bit stimulated.

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It looks painful, but actually this procedure is far from unpleasant for Winston.

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The Berlin vets have successfully used artificial insemination with elephants in the past,

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but not, as yet, with rhino.

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If this new technique works, it will be a world first.

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He's a bit too awake.

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So we're gonna give him 0.05ml of Immobilon.

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It's going OK. We had to give him

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a little bit more to relax him.

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He's a bit more tense today.

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It could be a lot of reasons,

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but they're actually getting sperm as we speak, so it's all going according to plan.

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We'll catch up with Winston and the team later on.

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Many of the animals in the park breed regularly all by themselves.

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None are more prolific than the giraffes. Over 100 calves have been born here in the past.

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Just two days ago, Becky give birth to a beautiful baby girl.

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Luckily for us, staff are on hand with a camera

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to record the little giraffe's first tentative steps.

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Now that she's up and about, keeper Ryan Hockley has invited me down to meet her.

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This is my first chance to see it!

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I'm ridiculously excited.

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Oh! Look at her!

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-She's a beauty, isn't she?

-Oh, my word.

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-She's tiny.

-She is quite, um...

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I suppose I'd have to say a bit below that average height you'd expect.

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She's a female. Quite often, they come out a little bit smaller.

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-She's perfect in every way.

-Isn't she!

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She's still got that slightly crumpled up face, like she's been stuck inside Mum for a bit.

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I think they have to grow into their face, basically.

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-They all have this wrinkled look about them.

-She's very steady on her legs.

-Yeah. Very sure footed.

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Obviously, seeing her being born and that,

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and within a couple of hours... She was up inside an hour,

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but within two hours, she was steady, walking around the pen,

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bright, alert, taking an interest in her surroundings,

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-so really was textbook, from start to finish.

-Fantastic.

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-And she's continued feeding well and all the things you have to worry about?

-Yeah.

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Everything's going perfectly at the moment.

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-Which is tempting fate, but there you go.

-Touch wood, touch wood!

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Becky, she's obviously aware that we're here, and we're keeping our voices down,

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but she seems pretty calm and relaxed as well.

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-So far, so good.

-She's coming right up to us.

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Oh, this is lovely to see.

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-Look at this!

-She wants to explore.

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I can't believe how confident she is.

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-Yeah.

-Hello.

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Look at you.

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You're amazing!

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That's incredible.

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-Most of the grown-up giraffes won't do that.

-I know.

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It's like their born without that natural fear of us.

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It's almost something they learn.

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Not that we're doing things to make them fear us!

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Like I say, they seem to come out and be very inquisitive of us,

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and approach us, but then, over the weeks and months,

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they key off their mums and see how the rest of the group interact with us, which isn't very much,

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and they probably just follow suit, really.

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-Now, you've put them both in with Jolly and Century.

-Yeah.

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When was Century born? Two months ago?

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Just over, yeah.

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-Was Century significantly bigger than this one?

-He was.

-Was he?

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You don't expect that she'll be quite that big in two months' time?

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-He's enormous.

-He's a brute.

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He was born with these massive knees.

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-His knees were probably twice the size of hers at birth.

-Really?

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-You know, from looking at those knees, that's a big joint. It'll support a big animal.

-Yeah.

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And this is Jolly with Becky's calf now.

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This is lovely to see, as well.

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She's integrating herself in with key members of the group already.

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I don't think there'll be a problem when we mix her in with the rest.

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That sort of chewing - you see horses do that sometimes -

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-but is this just exploring different textures, surfaces...?

-Yeah.

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Exactly. It's exactly that.

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They don't have hands and fingers to feel things, like we do,

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so most of their exploring is done by their mouth.

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Obviously, that instinct to browse at things, pick away, constantly pick away,

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-they're born with that instinct.

-Even though she's suckling?

-Yeah.

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She won't take hard feed for a while but she'll suckle...

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Well, as long as Becky lets her, really,

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-but it could be several months.

-She's an absolute joy.

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Get your tongue out of your nose!

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Your eyes will fall out.

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KATE LAUGHS

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We'll be keeping track of this little lady throughout the series.

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Now we're off to Pets' Corner,

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where head of section Darren Beasley is on a difficult mission in the Bat Cave.

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Today, he has to move the Egyptian fruit bats so their cave can be given a makeover.

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There are 14 of them in here, so he's called in the troops to help.

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You've got the whole team, the whole posse of us.

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We're going to do some painting and cleaning in here, because bats are pretty messy creatures.

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We're going to mess around with the lights, so we're going to paint the ceiling.

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But it's a bit of a military operation, because these are Egyptian fruit bats.

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They're designed not to bump into things. We've got to catch 'em.

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Because bats use echo location, they fly and bounce sound off things,

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and can steer round everything.

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It's not easy to catch them. So we need the team to try and chase them.

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The bats will get a little bit tired, and hopefully they'll start,

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not flying into them, but making my life a bit easier.

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So, forward planning, a bit of military precision here, clear the decks.

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And you need everybody as fit as world-class athletes.

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So that's why I brought them along!

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Darren and the team will have to get their tactics right.

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Nets at the ready, they deploy in a pincer movement.

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Got one. Oh, dropped it.

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If you can...

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Ah, lovely.

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So, bat number one.

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Look at him.

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Lovely fella, isn't he?

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You don't often get many chances.

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We do like an MOT, where we grab random ones throughout the year.

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But we haven't had any problems with them.

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Look at those beautiful wings. I love them to bits. Absolutely love them.

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I tell you, I honestly don't think I could hit a barn door!

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As the bats are captured, Darren takes the chance to show his team how to give them a health check.

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You're looking for things like rips in the wings, maybe poor body weight condition.

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Take your glove off,

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and gently put your finger on his chest.

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There's plenty of meat coating, you can't feel the breastbone at all.

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Got one.

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Some people call them flying foxes.

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This one's not as friendly as the last one, so I've got to watch my hands a bit.

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They've got these nasty looking teeth, but really, these are totally fruit and flower eaters.

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But there can be tough skin on some of the fruit, and they've got to get through that.

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His little heart's beating, bless him. You see they've developed these...

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claws, for hanging upside down.

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Absolutely beautiful. All right, mate?

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Darren's bat catchers are winning the battle, but slowly.

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In you go. That's three.

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We're going to be here a little while!

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We'll come back to see how the team get on.

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Up in lion country, the cubs Malika and Jsira are growing bigger and bolder every day.

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As the weather gets warmer, they've been exploring the wide, open spaces of the enclosure,

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testing their limits all the time.

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Lion cubs earn the crucial skills of hunting and fighting

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by playing with each other, and with their parents.

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Even the larger lions could be playful beasts.

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Recently, they took a real shine to their brand-new scratching post.

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But today, there is another treat in store for Malika and Jsira.

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A happy lion family in the sun.

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I'm out in the lion enclosure with keeper Bob Trollope.

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Why are they shut in the compound today?

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It seems like a perfect day for Kabir and his pride to be out in big, open spaces.

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-We're doing a bit of DIY in their section and it's safer if they're not with us.

-OK!

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So what sort of DIY? It's just a big area of grass, surely?

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Well, we do sort of enrichment every now and again.

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We've done a scratching post with Charlie's pride,

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so we thought we'd try something in with Kabir's pride.

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-Seeing as they've got a natural climbing frame...

-This is fantastic!

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-..we thought we'd add something to it.

-Right.

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-A few toys for them to play with.

-Brilliant idea.

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-I can see the ropes hanging.

-We've dangled a few things.

-Fantastic!

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They're gonna love this!

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We're hoping they are.

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It's completely new to the cubs.

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They won't have seen anything like this. I doubt the big ones have.

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Hopefully, this is to encourage the cubs to play a bit more around here,

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-because it is such a lovely setting.

-It's absolutely brilliant.

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-It'll be great for the visitors, as well.

-Yeah.

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Presumably, this will play on natural hunting instincts, anyway.

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Hopefully, what we'll see is what your domestic cat would do with a new toy -

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-using their claws, biting it, all that sort of behaviour.

-Brilliant.

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I can see head of section Brian Kent, looking puzzled.

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Brian, do you want a hand?

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-I'm left doing all the work!

-Oh, I'm sorry.

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I'm on the last one.

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Right, OK. So what are you going to do with this one?

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-Try and get it wrapped round this position here.

-OK. Shall I throw that over the...

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over the top of there? How's that looking?

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-What do you think?

-I think...

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That's quite tough.

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What do you think, Brian? Do you think they're going to react quite favourably to having new toys?

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I think they'll really enjoy it. Especially the cubs.

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It's ideal for 'em.

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If we hammer it down...

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then join us a little bit later, when we've finished the cub playground, and see how they react to it.

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In the rhino house, Winston's still under sedation

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while his sperm is collected, ready to be taken 100 miles up the road to West Midlands Safari Park.

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West Midlands have had considerable success in breeding exotic animals.

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This year, they have a hippo calf, and even one rhino calf conceived naturally.

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But two of their female rhino have never bred.

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Head keeper Bob Lawrence has been giving them hormone injections, in preparation for the insemination.

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You get to the point with large animals, elephant and rhino, if they don't breed by a certain age,

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they probably never will, and these two old girls, we need to get them breeding urgently now,

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otherwise they never will and it'll be a terrible waste.

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The park does have a bull named Sharka,

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but so far, he hasn't been up to the job.

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It's a funny thing with rhinos, they always get too familiar with each other.

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It's significant that the bull came with these two girls, and it's almost like a brother-sister thing,

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rather than an up-and-running mating scenario.

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Now Bob is hoping that where nature has failed, the experimental insemination procedure will work.

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It's important that if we can do this with these relatively common species of rhino,

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it could perhaps be done on Indian rhino or black rhino, which are a lot rarer.

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When this place opened in 1973, there were hundreds of thousands of rhino, possibly, on the Earth,

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and in that intervening 33 years, 98% of those rhinos have gone,

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so it's very important that we retain the ability to do this sort of thing,

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and look forward, think forward, think of new ways of achieving the means to an end.

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Back at Longleat, the team of expert vets from Berlin have collected Winston's sperm

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and he's waking up. He doesn't seem too bothered by the experience, to head warden Keith Harris's delight.

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It's always nice to see him standing up, that's the main thing, because...

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2.5 tonnes of rhino is not easy to move.

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Obviously, for his sake and everybody else's, he has to get straight back up.

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He'll never know what happened.

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Vet Mark Combert is passionate about the work he does.

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What we're trying to do by

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breeding in captivity is guaranteeing that there

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will be animals to release into the wild if needed.

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If for reasons of population decline, whether it's

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disease or deforestation or hunting and poaching,

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we'll have places for these guys to go.

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Before they do anything else, Berlin team leader Robert Hermes

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must check that Winston's sperm is still healthy.

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Obviously the sperm have to move. In the rhinoceros, it's about 1 metre 50 from where

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the bull puts them to the cervix, then they have to travel all the way to the oviduct.

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The sperm movement is very important.

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Winston's sperm passes the test. It's important

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to use sperm as quickly as possible, so Robert immediately

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takes the sample and sets off for West Midlands Safari Park.

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-Hi, Rob. A good trip?

-Yes, thank you.

-Hi.

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Hi. The things we do on a Sunday afternoon, eh?

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Now Robert and the Berlin team will implant Winston's sperm into female rhino Mtuba.

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We'll come back to see how they get on.

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Back at Longleat's bat cave, Darren and his troops

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are still trying to round up the last three Egyptian fruit bats.

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I've got him.

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-All right.

-You can have the noisy one.

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You can bite all you want, I've got gloves on.

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All right, sweet, let's get your wings in.

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Here we go.

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Beautiful. Look at that. See all the veins and capillaries and things.

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That's my finger through there, look how delicate that is.

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OK, let's pop that one in.

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Yes, got it, all right.

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Something very interesting about the bat we noticed on one we MOTed back in the summer, was when they arrived

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we didn't know how old they were, and they were all adults of varying age. These guys can live, what?

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20, 25 years. The way to age them,

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look into his mouth. All the teeth are worn almost all the way down on the bottom layer.

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Can you see that? This is a very old bat and he's worn all his teeth, so he's an aged fellow.

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Also, if you gently pull that wing out, John, gently.

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Pull it out slightly. I've got this one.

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I actually think, if you look at the condition of the wing,

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-he looks older. See that?

-Yeah...

0:22:360:22:38

He might have trouble in a little while.

0:22:380:22:40

We have to keep an eye on him.

0:22:400:22:43

Can you fit dentures to a bat?

0:22:430:22:46

I don't know. But he's probably a very old bat.

0:22:460:22:49

He could be pushing 20... the 25 mark, who knows?

0:22:490:22:53

'That's 13 in the box, but there's still one bat holding out.'

0:22:550:23:00

There he goes.

0:23:000:23:03

This is a fast one!

0:23:030:23:05

Actually, if I let him go in...

0:23:060:23:08

All right, mate. I'll get him, I nearly got him last time.

0:23:120:23:15

People think bats get stuck in your hair.

0:23:150:23:17

Jo's got really long hair. They don't get stuck in your hair.

0:23:170:23:20

They bounce sound off of you.

0:23:200:23:22

-They'll avoid you.

-All right, darling, I've got you.

0:23:220:23:25

And just to prove it...

0:23:250:23:26

Jo, don't get it stuck in your hair. Here it comes.

0:23:260:23:29

Stay there, Jo, for us.

0:23:290:23:33

This one. Thanks, yeah. Well done.

0:23:330:23:37

Hello, beautiful.

0:23:390:23:41

Yeah, that's right.

0:23:410:23:43

Last, but not least.

0:23:430:23:45

Well done. Thank you.

0:23:500:23:52

Thank you. Thank you. Well done.

0:23:520:23:55

-So, if you can get it all painted, cleaned, revamped

-...

0:23:550:23:58

-By tonight.

-20 minutes(?)

0:23:580:24:00

I'll be having a cup of tea over there, all right?

0:24:000:24:03

'The fruit bats would normally roost in dark caves.

0:24:050:24:08

'The team's mission is to make their enclosure

0:24:080:24:11

'as much like their natural habitat as possible.

0:24:110:24:14

'It's going to be a long job.'

0:24:140:24:17

I'm with Derek Longway, the manager of the butterfly garden here at Longleat.

0:24:270:24:31

We're with some of your residents. Who have we got here?

0:24:310:24:34

These are the owl butterflies, so called because of their eye markings.

0:24:340:24:38

Which is incredible, because it really does look like an owl's eye.

0:24:380:24:41

Yes, it's used as a deterrent for predators.

0:24:410:24:45

They'll flap their wings and flash the eye, which is a false eye,

0:24:450:24:49

and the predators will either be discouraged,

0:24:490:24:53

or if they do attack, they'll attack the back end of the wing,

0:24:530:24:57

-thereby letting the butterfly escape.

-Incredible.

0:24:570:25:00

-The fruit that they are dining off looks quite old and manky.

-Yes.

0:25:000:25:05

As the fruit rots down, it releases the sugars and makes a sugary,

0:25:050:25:10

syrupy liquid, which is readily digested through the proboscis.

0:25:100:25:16

That's the thing just going into the banana there.

0:25:160:25:19

Are they sucking it up, like through a straw?

0:25:190:25:22

Absolutely, yes, like a hydraulic suction.

0:25:220:25:26

Presumably, where there are butterflies, there must be caterpillars.

0:25:260:25:31

Yes, I can see one not too far away, on the citrus here. That's a citrus swallowtail.

0:25:310:25:36

Oh, it blends in incredibly well to the leaf.

0:25:360:25:40

I can just make out its two little eyes.

0:25:400:25:42

-Otherwise I wouldn't have spotted that. Presumably it's a camouflage.

-Yes, nature's camouflage.

0:25:420:25:47

And what sort of butterfly will that turn into?

0:25:470:25:49

That will be a swallowtail.

0:25:490:25:52

Fascinating. Derek, thank you very much.

0:25:520:25:55

Here's what still to come on today's programme.

0:25:550:25:59

-We'll find out if Winston's sperm donation will make him a father at last.

-She's good, very good.

0:25:590:26:05

She should ovulate tonight.

0:26:050:26:08

They may be shy creatures, but this tortoise doesn't hold back when faced with a tasty treat.

0:26:100:26:16

And we'll see what the lion cubs make of their new climbing frame.

0:26:160:26:21

At West Midlands Safari Park,

0:26:290:26:30

the German veterinary team are preparing

0:26:300:26:33

to artificially inseminate rhino Mtuba using Winston's sperm.

0:26:330:26:37

First, they must check whether Mtuba is fertile enough

0:26:370:26:41

to receive the sperm.

0:26:410:26:42

Head keeper Bob Lawrence has been giving her hormone treatment

0:26:420:26:46

so her chances of getting pregnant should be at their highest today.

0:26:460:26:51

This is the point where we'll see whether the last 60 days or so of medication

0:26:510:26:55

has worked, whether she is cycling and just how receptive she might be.

0:26:550:27:00

If she's not quite ready, we'll probably inseminate anyway,

0:27:000:27:04

but revisit her again tomorrow.

0:27:040:27:06

But he'll know in a minute or two just how set she is.

0:27:060:27:11

She's good, very good.

0:27:110:27:13

Excellent follicle on the right ovary, 3.5 centimetres,

0:27:130:27:17

and that should ovulate tonight.

0:27:170:27:20

Vet Robert Hermes and his team have spent five years

0:27:220:27:25

developing the magic wand that will help artificially inseminate Mtuba.

0:27:250:27:29

It's made to replicate what a male rhino would do.

0:27:290:27:33

They have a very long genital tract.

0:27:330:27:36

The entire length is about 1 metre 50.

0:27:360:27:38

That's why we need special tools.

0:27:380:27:40

The arm of us is not long enough to reach.

0:27:400:27:43

The ovaries are right in the middle of a rhino,

0:27:450:27:48

but using their specialist tool,

0:27:480:27:50

Robert and the team are able to reach easily.

0:27:500:27:53

It looks very, very promising. Just about finished.

0:27:530:27:56

We want to get her up quickly

0:27:560:27:58

because she's lying on this right front knee,

0:27:580:28:01

but we're almost done and we'll keep everything crossed.

0:28:010:28:05

It may save populations, or may be a modern way

0:28:050:28:07

of introducing fresh bloodlines into existing populations.

0:28:070:28:11

At the end of the day, it's a lot easier to move semen around

0:28:110:28:14

than it is to move rhinos, isn't it?

0:28:140:28:16

The operation is over.

0:28:160:28:19

Mtuba's legs begin to twitch naturally, showing she's recovering well from the anaesthetic.

0:28:190:28:26

It's been a long day, but with the future of the white rhino at stake, no-one minds the effort.

0:28:260:28:32

If you see the other small calf in the other stall,

0:28:320:28:35

you'll really cross fingers and hope that we'll achieve another one.

0:28:350:28:39

Once you see one of these guys

0:28:410:28:42

and you know the problem throughout zoos in Europe and North America,

0:28:420:28:48

that they don't breed, you try to figure out a way t o have more running around. It keeps you going.

0:28:480:28:55

It's fantastic to work with animals like this

0:28:550:28:59

and you don't punch the clock at any time.

0:28:590:29:01

You just keep going as long as you can.

0:29:010:29:03

It's impossible to tell straight away if Mtuba is pregnant or not.

0:29:040:29:09

We'll find out later on.

0:29:090:29:11

Back at Longleat, the lions have been let loose.

0:29:230:29:28

I'm out in the lion enclosure with head of section Brian Kent

0:29:280:29:33

and keeper Bob Trollope,

0:29:330:29:35

and the lions, Kabir and his two wives and the cubs,

0:29:350:29:38

have just been let out.

0:29:380:29:40

A little earlier, we hung up toys for them,

0:29:400:29:44

on the dead tree here,

0:29:440:29:46

and waiting to see...

0:29:460:29:48

THEY LAUGH

0:29:480:29:50

..what reaction we have, but Kabir's more interested in us!

0:29:500:29:53

So we've got...is it Jsira on the left? The slightly smaller one?

0:29:560:30:00

She's the smaller one, then Malika.

0:30:000:30:03

They're not too sure about this!

0:30:030:30:06

Is this a typical reaction? A bit superstitious at first?

0:30:060:30:10

Oh! Oh! Kabir's having a go.

0:30:100:30:12

He likes that one!

0:30:120:30:15

-He's straight into that, isn't he?

-It's a good job we nailed them down.

0:30:150:30:19

We needed to, didn't we?

0:30:190:30:22

He would have been the last one I'd have thought would have played with them.

0:30:220:30:26

Oh, Jsira's thinking, "Can I come in and play?"

0:30:260:30:30

She obviously thinks it's food.

0:30:300:30:32

Will it stay there?

0:30:320:30:34

That'd be the test - whether it stays up to his strength.

0:30:340:30:39

Yeah. How heavy is a big male lion, like that?

0:30:390:30:42

He's anything in the region of £450 to £500, I'd have thought.

0:30:420:30:47

He's pulled it out the tree already.

0:30:470:30:50

You can just see those teeth, as well!

0:30:510:30:54

It's interesting that both Luna and Yendi, the females,

0:30:540:30:59

don't seem really that interested in playing. More just looking at what's going on.

0:30:590:31:04

I think they will do, eventually,

0:31:040:31:07

but they're obviously a little bit more cautious.

0:31:070:31:10

They are the hunters in the pride,

0:31:100:31:13

so they're taking it steady, I suppose.

0:31:130:31:15

THEY LAUGH

0:31:150:31:17

-Jsira with Dad.

-Jsira thinking, "I want a go but my dad won't let me."

0:31:170:31:21

-She'll have to watch out if he let's go.

-Oh...

0:31:210:31:25

Aw...

0:31:250:31:26

That's it. Lion skittles.

0:31:260:31:29

We can see Malika just off to the side here.

0:31:290:31:32

She's got the end of the other rope.

0:31:320:31:34

We put a big knot in the end so they could tug on that, play with it.

0:31:340:31:39

They're putting their full force into that, look. Obviously not as much power as Kabir.

0:31:390:31:46

Oh! And is that Jsira?

0:31:460:31:47

Go on, jump on it, then!

0:31:470:31:50

Frightened her a bit.

0:31:500:31:52

That's it.

0:31:520:31:55

THEY LAUGH

0:31:550:31:57

I mean, in the wild, they're not going to find beautiful rope fenders

0:31:570:32:03

hanging up from trees,

0:32:030:32:05

but presumably this is quite natural behaviour for them, discovering new things?

0:32:050:32:10

It is. They're obviously very inquisitive anyway,

0:32:100:32:13

and something new, like this, then they're going to suss it out first,

0:32:130:32:20

and play with it, as they're doing.

0:32:200:32:23

It looks like play, put there's hunting instincts coming out here.

0:32:230:32:29

There is, yeah. They're pretending to kill something, basically,

0:32:290:32:34

the way they're going at it.

0:32:340:32:35

So, as you say, although they look quite small and cute,

0:32:350:32:39

there's that strength that they've got, even in those early days, is really important for survival.

0:32:390:32:45

Incredible power. Their teeth are incredibly sharp, as are their claws.

0:32:450:32:50

They would do you an awful lot of damage.

0:32:500:32:53

Kabir is loving this, isn't he?

0:32:530:32:55

I think he's here for hours.

0:32:550:32:58

-Yeah.

-That's great. I think we can call that a success, don't you?

0:32:580:33:02

I think you've got a very happy family of lions. Bob, Brian, that you very much indeed.

0:33:020:33:07

At Pets Corner,

0:33:220:33:24

Jo Hawthorne is checking on the 14 Egyptian fruit bats.

0:33:240:33:28

They're waiting patiently in their box

0:33:280:33:30

while the bat cave gets a makeover.

0:33:300:33:33

Huddling together is normal behaviour for bats

0:33:330:33:37

and it's how they like to sleep in the wild.

0:33:370:33:40

They'll hang out in trees, actually, obviously,

0:33:400:33:43

because they're fruit bats,

0:33:430:33:44

so they'll just choose a bough or branch, and just hang about there.

0:33:440:33:49

But they tend to stick together.

0:33:490:33:51

They feel more security when they're actually hanging together.

0:33:510:33:55

I'm sure they can't wait to get out of there,

0:33:550:33:57

so I can't wait to let them out!

0:33:570:33:58

But, yeah, I think they'll be out tomorrow morning,

0:33:580:34:01

which will be great.

0:34:010:34:03

The team have spent hours painting and installing new lighting.

0:34:080:34:12

Finally, the finishing touches go on.

0:34:120:34:14

Oh, thank goodness for that!

0:34:170:34:20

It's done!

0:34:200:34:22

SHE LAUGHS

0:34:220:34:24

Time to see what the bats make of it.

0:34:240:34:28

Here we go...

0:34:280:34:30

Yo!

0:34:300:34:32

At first, it seems they can't see the box is open.

0:34:320:34:35

But, in fact, they're probably just cosy.

0:34:350:34:38

Bats actually have keen eyesight, to keep a lookout for predators,

0:34:380:34:43

though they only see in black and white.

0:34:430:34:46

There's lots of myths about bats being blind and everything.

0:34:460:34:51

I think that's basically due to the fact they are a creature that flies at night

0:34:510:34:56

and for all those people that go walking up the lanes, and they're flying and darting very near,

0:34:560:35:01

they don't know that they're using the echo-location,

0:35:010:35:04

getting that bounce of sound off of you, hence why they're flying so close.

0:35:040:35:08

But with their eyes, in this light, they can see as well as you or I.

0:35:080:35:13

I think what we'll do now is we'll probably go away and leave them now.

0:35:130:35:19

We'll leave you to it, chaps.

0:35:190:35:21

Soon the bats emerge and start enjoying their newly decorated cave.

0:35:270:35:32

Even if they can only appreciate it in black and white.

0:35:320:35:35

I've come up to the tortoise paddock with senior warden Bev Evans

0:35:540:35:58

and it's feeding time for Michelle and Thomas. Now, Michelle and Thomas are...?

0:35:580:36:02

-African spur tortoises.

-This is where they are?

0:36:020:36:05

-They are still in bed at the moment.

-Do they go in here every night?

0:36:050:36:08

They do, for security reasons, and because it's too cold at night for them.

0:36:080:36:12

-But it's a nice day today.

-It is and it's about time they got out.

0:36:120:36:15

How do we entice them out?

0:36:150:36:17

We're going to have to lift them out, to be honest,

0:36:170:36:19

because they are not very fast.

0:36:190:36:21

-Can I help you with that?

-Yes, you can. Put the food down on the side.

0:36:210:36:25

If you lift the roof, Ben.

0:36:250:36:26

-Just lift it up?

-Yep.

0:36:260:36:28

-That's it.

-Wow! There they are.

0:36:280:36:31

And then if we open both of the side doors.

0:36:310:36:35

And just pull these out. So how old are these two?

0:36:350:36:40

Tommy's this one here and he's about 12 years old.

0:36:400:36:44

Michelle's only five,

0:36:440:36:46

although she's already near enough the same size.

0:36:460:36:48

It's incredible. Shall we lift them out?

0:36:480:36:51

Is there a best way to pick up a...?

0:36:510:36:52

Just go for the sides, cos if you put your fingers in there,

0:36:520:36:56

he can pinch you between his shell and his feet.

0:36:560:36:59

Wow, he is heavy, isn't he?

0:36:590:37:01

-Incredibly heavy.

-Is this Thomas?

0:37:010:37:03

-Yes.

-OK, Thomas. Gosh, how much do you think he weighs?

0:37:030:37:06

He's about 20 kilograms.

0:37:060:37:08

That doesn't say much for my weightlifting.

0:37:080:37:10

Ah, there you go.

0:37:100:37:11

Fantastic.

0:37:130:37:15

Obviously, we've carried them out,

0:37:150:37:17

-but do they like spending the day outside?

-They do.

0:37:170:37:20

They do a lot of grazing throughout the day,

0:37:200:37:22

and this is a nice paddock, because as well as the grass,

0:37:220:37:25

you've got dandelions and clover.

0:37:250:37:27

We've picked some dandelions here

0:37:270:37:29

and, intriguingly, we've got some melon here.

0:37:290:37:32

Yes, we do. This is a treat.

0:37:320:37:34

OK, so this isn't their usual diet?

0:37:340:37:37

No, and if you fed them on melon or any kind of lettuce

0:37:370:37:40

or cucumber every day, it would be quite bad for them.

0:37:400:37:43

But it's good to have a treat every so often?

0:37:430:37:46

And also you can add mineral supplements, so...

0:37:460:37:48

So, how do you feed a tortoise?

0:37:480:37:50

-If you just grab a piece of melon.

-I'll take this one here.

0:37:500:37:54

Stick it in front of Thomas and see if he is hungry.

0:37:540:37:56

He's already started on the dandelions.

0:37:560:37:59

What do you think of this?

0:38:000:38:02

Wow, look at that.

0:38:020:38:04

Look at the chunks he's taking.

0:38:040:38:06

Because tortoises have a beak, don't they?

0:38:060:38:09

They don't have teeth, they have a sharp edge to their mouth,

0:38:090:38:12

and if they do actually accidentally catch your finger,

0:38:120:38:15

it does actually hurt quite a lot.

0:38:150:38:17

-Really?

-Yes.

-So I should hold it at the end.

0:38:170:38:20

That would be best.

0:38:200:38:21

I can't believe how quickly he's getting through that. I'm feeling sorry for Michelle.

0:38:210:38:25

Between the two of them, is there one that's greedier?

0:38:250:38:28

-Is Thomas here...?

-Thomas, he's more of a confident character anyway,

0:38:280:38:32

so he'll get straight in and eat.

0:38:320:38:34

Michelle's reasonably shy. She's still finding her feet here.

0:38:340:38:37

Thomas has been with us a lot longer,

0:38:370:38:39

so Michelle's still a bit shy.

0:38:390:38:41

Now, what shall I do with this last little bit? Shall I pass it to him? There we go.

0:38:410:38:46

I would like to keep my fingers just now.

0:38:460:38:50

-Well, Bev, that was a huge success.

-He did enjoy that.

-Thank you for letting me feed him.

0:38:500:38:55

-Can he have another one or is that too many?

-No, that would be lovely.

0:38:550:38:58

Why not try this type of melon? I think he'll like that one.

0:38:580:39:02

Some more, Thomas?

0:39:020:39:03

Today is a big day for bull rhino Winston.

0:39:190:39:24

Dung samples from West Midlands female Mtuba were sent for tests

0:39:240:39:30

to find out if the artificial insemination with Winston's sperm made her pregnant or not.

0:39:300:39:36

Head warden Keith Harris is anxiously standing by for a phone call with the results.

0:39:370:39:43

PHONE RINGS

0:39:430:39:46

Oh, dear, what a shame.

0:39:460:39:48

Oh, that's a bore.

0:39:480:39:51

Right, well, we'll see if

0:39:510:39:54

they want to try again then. Presumably you'd like to do it again.

0:39:540:39:58

Oh, well, I'm sorry to hear the bad news.

0:39:580:40:00

But hopefully we'll be more successful in the future.

0:40:000:40:04

OK, then. Bye, then.

0:40:040:40:06

The artificial insemination may not have worked this time,

0:40:110:40:16

but the good news is, that at the grand age of 39, Winston's sperm is still fertile.

0:40:160:40:22

Everyone hopes that artificial insemination for rhinos will continue to develop

0:40:220:40:27

and that Winston may still become a father in the future.

0:40:270:40:31

How are you doing, Winny?

0:40:310:40:33

Try, try and try again.

0:40:340:40:36

Certainly, from their future,

0:40:360:40:39

you can actually store the sperm and then, theoretically,

0:40:390:40:44

the conservation of rhinos will be a lot easier

0:40:440:40:47

because there will never be a time when we haven't got rhinos.

0:40:470:40:52

Extinction will not be a thing.

0:40:520:40:54

So that's very important, and there's a lot of benefits

0:40:540:40:57

to be able to do AI with these animals

0:40:570:41:00

because trying to move large animals like this isn't always easy.

0:41:000:41:05

So, if you can take the sperm rather than the animal, then again,

0:41:050:41:09

that's got to be better for the species.

0:41:090:41:12

So there's a whole lot of different things that will

0:41:120:41:15

hopefully improve the life of the rhinos across the board.

0:41:150:41:19

We're up in Monkey Jungle with deputy head warden Ian Turner,

0:41:410:41:45

and over here are the water buffalo, really living up to their name!

0:41:450:41:50

-I don't think I've ever seen them in the water before.

-The go in often.

0:41:500:41:54

-It's got to be warm, and today's a day when you want to join them.

-This is what they do in the wild?

0:41:540:42:00

Yes, water buffalo. You can see how they splash themselves to cool down.

0:42:000:42:04

And, presumably, if there were lots of flies or biting insects around,

0:42:040:42:08

-that's a good way of escaping them.

-That's right.

0:42:080:42:11

The only bit you'll see is the head.

0:42:110:42:14

And, occasionally, like that one's doing, just flicks it over the top of the head.

0:42:140:42:18

I'm very tempted to join them,

0:42:180:42:20

-but I don't think it would be a good idea.

-I'm not sure it would.

0:42:200:42:24

Ian, thank you very much.

0:42:240:42:25

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

0:42:250:42:30

Longleat's littlest lions are coming to dinner,

0:42:300:42:34

but who taught them their table manners?

0:42:340:42:38

This rare Pere David calf is the most precious baby in the park,

0:42:380:42:42

but can she survive with a broken leg?

0:42:420:42:45

And young Gertie is in danger of catching a fatal infection,

0:42:460:42:51

so now the keepers must take desperate measures.

0:42:510:42:55

That's all coming up on the next Animal Park.

0:42:560:42:59

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. White rhino bull Winston becomes a sperm donor; will artificial insemination allow him to become a father at last? The Pere David deer are hovering on the edge of extinction, but can Longleat help save the species? The bat cave needs a makeover, but first Darren and his troops must round up the bats. And there is also a stakeout to see the lions tucking into a special midnight feast.