Ben Fogle and Kate Humble explore life behind the scenes at Longleat Estate and Safari Park. The white-backed African vultures are settling in. The Pere David deer have a new calf.
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Hello and welcome to Animal Park. I'm Ben Fogle.
And I'm Kate Humble. We're here with one of Longleat's newest arrivals.
This tiny little thing is a baby tapir,
the fifth calf born to proud parents Jessie and Jethro.
-Isn't he just so adorable?
-I can't tell you how sweet he is.
He's still got all his spots and stripes that tapirs are born with.
This is to help camouflage them in the wild
and protect them from predators.
It's extremely tempting to stay here with him all day,
but we've got lots of other animals coming up on today's programme.
This rare Pere David calf is the most precious baby in the park.
But can she survive with a broken leg?
Longleat's littlest lions are coming to dinner.
But who taught them their table manners?
And young Gertie's in danger of catching a fatal infection.
So now the keepers must take desperate measures.
In the heart of the Wiltshire countryside,
the Longleat Safari Park is home to over 50 different species.
But of all the exotic animals in the park,
none are more rare than these Pere David deer,
listed as critically endangered.
In the 1980s,
the species declined to just 18 animals living in captive herds in Britain.
Thanks to breeding programmes, numbers are rising
but there are still just a few thousand Pere David deer in the whole world.
The park is home to six of them, five does and one stag.
To help sustain the species,
keepers have been trying their best to expand the herd.
Last year saw the successful birth of one healthy calf
and, to Head of Section Tim Yeo's delight,
this year they've had another.
But just days after the baby was born,
Tim saw something which gave him cause for concern.
The calf was lying down by itself and not moving.
Immediately, he called in vet Duncan Williams.
The baby Pere David
has got a really serious fracture of its left foreleg.
It's not just a simple break, which would heal really easily,
it's a split and a segment and it's a bit loose.
In the wild, a broken leg would mean certain death.
But with Duncan's veterinary care,
this calf has a chance of recovery.
We've stabilised it as best I could
and put a plaster cast on it, a very lightweight one.
The question is, these young animals heal up really quickly
so long as there's not too much complications.
It's a question of how many complications we've got.
Tim and Duncan have done their best for her.
Now they must leave her alone
and hope that her mother will quickly return to look after her.
But Pere David are shy creatures
and so far, the mother seems to be keeping her distance.
Do you think the calf's too close to the road?
Will it go that close to the road when it's so busy?
It's a good question, really. I think...
-Those rhinos are there. Everyone's stopped to see them.
-That might be holding her back a bit, Tim.
Tim is worried that the mother might abandon the calf altogether.
It's important to reunite the family as soon as possible.
The cars are putting the mother off coming to the calf.
I think she desperately wants to.
So I'll move the calf. I didn't want to,
but I feel the time's come where we need to get mum and calf together.
So I'll move the calf deeper into the park there
and hope she comes over to it then.
Tim wears gloves to handle the calf
because if the mother detects the scent of humans on her baby,
she may not accept it as her own.
No-one knows how the leg was broken so badly.
But with each calf being so important to the survival of the Pere David species,
Tim's taking every precaution.
The slight worry is when you move a calf,
does Mum know where it is when you move it? Can she still find it?
Hopefully it's on the same line that it was.
I haven't diverted from that.
The quicker that Mum and calf can be together, the better, I think.
We'll be back to find out if the calf recovers from her broken leg
and if the mother accepts her back into the herd.
No animal is more emblematic of Longleat than its famous lions.
Dominant male Barbary lion, Kabir,
arrived at the park in 2005.
He quickly mated and sired two beautiful female cubs,
Malaika and Jasira.
At 12 weeks old, the cubs were given their inoculations.
Then they were finally allowed out into the open together.
At first, Kabir was a bit of a grumpy father.
But soon, the whole family were getting on famously.
The cubs have been growing stronger and more adventurous every day,
learning the crucial skills of hunting and fighting
through playing with each other and their parents.
Now the cubs have almost as much of an appetite as their father
when the feeding truck comes round.
But there's one crucial rite of passage they have yet to experience.
I'm out in the lion enclosure with Head of Section Brian Kent
and deputy head, Bob Trollope.
Bob, today we're feeding the lions
but it's not a normal, typical feed.
It's slightly different.
Normally we drive around with the tractor and cage and throw chunks out the back.
We're gonna go back as far as we can as a normal feed
but use a carcass instead.
Of course, in the wild, they wouldn't get little chunks each.
No, they would hunt something this size or maybe bigger.
And the whole pride would feed off it in one go
as opposed to dotted about all over.
Brian, this is just as important for you guys to see how they eat.
It not only keeps them on their toes
but it's good for you to observe.
It's nice to see the whole pride having a carcass.
With chunks of meat it's completely different.
It's better to see them all on the carcass and what they're doing.
-The cub's going in for food.
-Because this is Kabir's pride.
-So the two young cubs.
-Two youngsters, yes.
It's new to them. They might even go inside the carcass. You never know.
What we have actually done as well,
is with the carcass we've hidden a very small camera.
It's within the carcass there.
-They can't swallow the camera? It's in a box.
-A wooden box. It's safe.
What we've also done is hidden some wires from there to here.
There's our Animal Park truck. Everyone's busy putting cameras up
so we have lots of ways of observing the lions as they eat.
We've got to finish covering this pipe that hides the wires.
Are you pretty confident that as soon as they're let out
they'll go straight to this carcass?
I imagine they will.
They may have a sniff round first, where we've been walking round.
What amount of meat would the lions here consume per year?
At Longleat, over 40 tonnes a year, easily.
-Over 40 tonnes?
-The equivalent of six double-decker buses!
That is incredible. How much do we have here?
-Something like that!
We'll get into the safety of the vehicles.
Join us a little later
when we'll find out just how the lions of Longleat
consume 40 tonnes of meat every year!
The East Africa Reserve is home to some of the park's most striking residents.
The Rothschild giraffe.
Over the years, the park has had a tremendously successful record of breeding the giraffes
with more than 100 calves born here in the past.
Last year, 13-year-old Becky had a beautiful calf named Evelyn.
Giraffes bond with their calves by licking them
but Becky would not stop licking Evelyn's ears
and the calf developed an infection.
Because the ears were so badly affected,
mother and calf had to be separated.
Vet Duncan Williams was called in
and gave the baby giraffe a course of antibiotics.
But despite all their efforts,
Head of Section Andy Hayton came in one morning
to find his worst nightmare.
Little Evelyn had died.
It's a disaster, really.
It's a shame.
It is such a crying shame
that we had a lovely female giraffe that would give us calves in future
and she was a nice addition to the group.
And you lose her.
You question what you've done, whether you've done the right thing.
Vet Duncan carried out a post-mortem
to find out exactly what had killed the baby giraffe.
Basically, we found out what we'd expected.
She died from septicaemia.
It probably got into her body, into her heart and stuff
before the antibiotics were first administered.
So while we kept her alive for a week with the antibiotics,
it just caught up with her
and unfortunately, that's what finished her off, really.
To lose a two-month-old giraffe is very abnormal.
Once they get past the first week, you generally think they'll be OK.
So it's very abnormal to lose one of that age.
I'm disappointed, really, yeah.
This year brought better news in the girafferie.
Becky was pregnant again.
Staff kept a close watch throughout her pregnancy
and were on hand with a camera to film the first few hours
of her new baby's life.
Now Gertie is three weeks old.
To make sure all's well,
keeper Ryan Hockley monitors her progress every day.
The last thing we want is to go back into that boat we were in before
because it really did annoy us that we lost that calf.
We don't like, certainly wouldn't like to fail a second time along the same lines.
The only other option we've got, if we find her starting to mummy away at those ears
is to take the calf away and hand-rear it.
That's not really our ethos here in the girafferie or at Longleat.
We like mother-reared animals. They're much better adjusted.
Hand-reared animals never really seem to be the full ticket!
So, yeah, we want her to rear it.
But despite Ryan's best efforts,
he's now spotted some swelling on the calf's ears.
Because last time the infection was fatal so quickly,
Head of Section Andy Hayton immediately calls in vet Duncan.
-It's slightly swollen.
-When did the swelling come up?
In the past three or four days, I guess.
From a personal point of view, I'd like to have a closer look.
If Gertie's ears have become infected,
her life, too, could be in danger.
We'll be back later in the programme.
Over at the aviary, alongside the Chilean flamingos
and African spoonbills,
these Sacred Ibis from Egypt are thriving.
There were just 12 birds initially but last year saw the arrival of three new chicks.
Now keepers are hoping for more
because the nesting season is here again.
I'm out in the aviary with keeper Michelle Stevens.
This seems to be a very strange thing to be doing, Michelle,
throwing out sticks! Why?
These are lime twigs. We scatter them in the enclosure for the ibis.
-It's really good nesting material.
What does an ibis nest look like?
It's just a big gathering of lots of twigs and things.
Grasses, leaves, anything they can find.
They interweave it. It's a compact nest
but a complete mess at the same time.
-To anyone else, it looks like a compost heap.
Do they nest on the ground or do they build this up in the trees?
-How does it work?
-They will nest on the ground, on rocks, in trees,
anywhere they think is suitable.
I'm just looking across at them now.
To my eyes, looking at these black-and-white birds,
they all look identical.
Do you know which is male and which is female?
It is very difficult. Males can be slightly bigger than females.
However, to be really sure, we DNA sex them.
We take a feather, and at the root is some DNA, or blood.
The laboratory will process that and tell us whether it's a male or female.
How does it work? Will the males build the nest or the females?
The male will pick up any nesting materials
-and the female will make the nest.
Do you get that lovely behaviour you see sometimes with birds
where a male will present nesting material and say "Is this good enough?"
Part of the courtship is to present nesting material to make sure he's good enough for her
and it's quite a complex courtship ritual as well.
You had a successful year last year. How many chicks did you end up with?
We had three chicks altogether and the parents incubated really well.
Great parents. They swap over so the female can get food.
So they'll both brood,
the male will go on so the female can feed and then swap over.
And when the chicks are born, are both responsible for feeding?
-Yes, it's a partnership.
Flamingos and spoonbills you've also got here.
What's happening with regards to their breeding?
-The flamingos are still too young.
Most are not quite ready.
It might be a couple more years yet.
Right. And the spoonbills?
The spoonbills, we sexed them as well.
Unfortunately, they're all male!
So you're on the lookout for a female!
Anyone got a female spoonbill, send it in!
We hoped it was two and two, but someone tricked us!
Let's hope all this twig spreading really works with the ibis
and you get another good year. Come on, guys! Get your nests!
Back in the deer park,
keeper Adrian Lamfear is on tractor patrol with the rhinos.
He's also keeping an eye on the Pere David calf with the broken leg.
She's still lying down by herself,
at some distance from her mother and the rest of the herd.
It seems as though they're not interested in the calf at all,
but this is natural protective behaviour.
It's precisely what they'd do in the wild
to keep a newborn baby safe from predators.
It's very normal behaviour not to draw predators to the baby.
If the predator's there and can smell maybe the afterbirth
then the closeness of the herd
would give its presence away.
Its camouflage will hide the baby, it's lying low.
A couple of times mother will come and the baby will put its head up
then put its head back down again
so Mum's keeping an eye on it.
Off she goes again, grazing, but she's very watchful,
keeping an eye on what's going on.
With the mother showing so much interest,
the calf has got over its first big hurdle.
It is early days, but we're very hopeful.
Mother and the group are showing protective signs towards the baby
so that's very good.
We're very hopeful. Fingers crossed!
Head of Section Tim Yeo oversees the Pere David breeding programme.
He's not concerned to see the calf still lying down.
It's almost instinctive, to a degree,
that the calf knows that it needs to go away
and stay still and not draw attention to itself.
Because obviously it could be preyed on.
It's more vulnerable at that stage.
There might not be any predators in the enclosure,
but Tim's concerned that other animals could interfere with the injured baby.
Because the calf has this cast on its leg,
a lot of the animals, if they spot anything different,
it draws attention to an animal
and they'll come and investigate.
We certainly do have to watch out for other species in the park
because at this stage the calf is very vulnerable.
Now a herd of massive Ankole cattle have surrounded the young calf.
Seeing the threat, the Pere David herd move towards the baby deer.
But her mother is way ahead of them
and bravely tries to protect her offspring.
Sensing she's in danger of being trampled,
the calf struggles to her feet.
It's a good sign, but still no-one knows how well the leg is healing.
We'll come back to find out.
Still to come on today's programme:
We'll be helping to move a couple of giants,
Tommy and Michelle.
Trevor and Honey have been very busy
and now they've got a lot of eggs.
And the lion cubs are going to get their first taste of dinner
on the wild side.
But now, back over at the girafferie,
Head of Section Andy Hayton has called in vet Duncan Williams
to examine Gertie.
They're worried because the baby's ears are swollen
from being licked by her mother, Becky.
Without treatment, they could become infected.
Nobody's really seen Becky nibbling the ears.
We think she's coming in at night and when the calf sits down
she's licking the calf's ears then.
Because if she does go for them when she's upright and we're all here,
the calf walks away unceremoniously and doesn't want it done to her.
I think Becky's taking her opportunity when she can
which is even more annoying.
This is the first time Gertie has been handled.
It takes five keepers to restrain her
so that vet Duncan can examine her
and administer treatment.
I'm going to spray that and give her an antibiotic.
She's split the two sides of the cartilage.
There's a gap in it. At the moment it's just leaking serum.
It's not infected yet, but that'll be the next stage.
OK, I've finished.
On three. One, two, three.
We cleaned it up as best we could,
put some local antibiotic on it
and given her a long-acting antibiotic injection.
Her last baby, Evelyn, she did the same with her.
Both ears we lost the tips of them
and it got so infected, she went into septicaemic shock and died.
It's a real nightmare. We can't take the baby off her
because she's got a natural bond there with her mother.
But if her mother keeps doing this, we could have problems.
At the moment we're being very, very vigilant.
It's a big worry. It's history repeating itself.
It's infuriating more than worrying.
"Why do you have to do this to your baby?"
We're going to treat it far more intensively than we did last time.
We're just gonna really go for it.
The unfortunate circumstances that happened last time
when we lost the baby,
we held back cos we didn't want to stress the calf
by constantly grabbing it and pulling her around. It didn't work.
During the day, the giraffes live outside in the East Africa Reserve,
where keeper Kathryn Kendal is on patrol.
Becky takes every opportunity to try to lick the calf's ears
with her 18-inch tongue.
But Gertie is learning to be nervous of her mother's attentions.
She's really feisty. She's very headstrong.
She'll only do what she wants to do when she wants to do it.
It's brilliant. She's put Mum in her place already.
Mum will try to groom her and maybe lick her ears
and she'll shake her off straight away. Brilliant.
At night, the giraffes move back into their house.
The staff want to keep mother and calf together, if at all possible,
but this is when Gertie is in most danger.
We'll be back to see if she can escape her mother's unwanted attentions.
Over in lion country, Kabir's pride are getting hungry.
It's very important when caring for animals in captivity
to enrich their lives with experiences they'd have in their natural environment.
That's why the lions are usually fed from a moving vehicle.
It simulates the experience of the hunt.
But in the wild, a pride of lions would always feed together,
something that reinforces family ties and social bonds.
So today, Kabir's pride are going to get the chance of a communal feed.
For the youngsters, Malaika and Jasira,
this will be an important educational experience.
And, so that we can observe the group dynamics close up,
we've installed a miniature camera in the carcass.
Now it's dinner time
and the lions have been let out.
I'm with Head of Section Brian Kent and deputy head, Bob Trollope.
They're surrounding us.
Who's this first to the carcass?
-This is Luna.
-Look at her pulling at it.
We've got here a little monitor
that's picking up the camera. Here's Kabir. He's not sure about us being here.
They're a little worried about us.
We can just see his nose creeping in.
Is there a strict hierarchy within the pride about who goes in first?
You normally find that the male will get prime position
purely because of his size.
What's she doing at the back with the tree? Is it excitement?
She's sharpening her claws, I think.
-Now we've got one of the cubs.
-This is little Jasira.
-A tentative look.
-Not really sure what to make of it.
It's very interesting because the cub has gone in from behind.
It's a soft spot as well.
-Now you've got the male in a typical position
where he'll get all the best parts, all the offal.
Also by the time the others have broken through the hide
-all he'll do is...
-There you go.
You can see the tongue. Is it true that the tongue is like sandpaper?
-Is that how they get the meat?
-There's a roughness to it.
Like a rasp.
They're literally ripping the meat off the bones. Is that how they consume it?
The teeth aren't designed for chewing, as you'd imagine.
They're basically cutting teeth.
And they will obviously have to puncture the carcass.
Then, with the other teeth, bite through the flesh.
When they get to the bones, they'll use their tongue to strip the meat.
Just an extraordinary image.
Have you ever seen a perspective like this?
-I can't say I have.
-This is absolutely brilliant.
I know that they're a pride and they do live together,
but they're happy to eat side-by-side like that.
They're very content with it, to be honest.
In the wild, where they don't get fed as often,
you'd find the cubs would be the last ones to feed.
-The survival of the pride...
-Look at that!
I think that's a youngster eating from...
No, it's still pulling on the hide.
There's three or four there now.
Look at the claws going in.
With this camera we've got a microphone hidden.
You can hear, even from here, the crunching of the bones.
Are they eating the bones as well as the meat?
They'll get a certain amount.
The bones have marrowbone inside.
But with the skin and the hide,
they'll eat a certain amount of that as well.
Basically, they get the hair to help digestion
-and also to clean the pipes after feeding.
Incredible. So they really are using every single part of the carcass.
They'll get all the goodness from that.
Because they don't produce their own vitamins, they get it from the carcass.
As with water, as well.
They get water from the carcass? Is that through the blood?
Well, if the animal had been drinking recently,
it would still be in the system and they could get it from there.
They can live for ages on solely getting it from the carcasses.
Occasionally they will eat grass to make themselves sick
and get any badness out of them.
-Just like a domestic...
-A bit like a domestic cat will do that.
Hasn't taken them long to get through half this carcass.
We may have to wait some time to retrieve our camera.
It's safe to say that carcass-cam was a success! Thanks, guys!
Three days have passed since the Pere David calf was found with a broken leg.
Before the park opens to the public,
Head of Section, Tim Yeo,
heads out to check on her.
The first job I have in the morning
is to go out and have a look and see if I can find the calf
because we don't know what's happened during the night
so it's very important for me to find the calf
and then see if things are looking OK or not.
Over the years,
you find that the deer like to leave their calves
in certain sites in the park.
So year in, year out, there are likely places that you would look.
Sometimes it's very obvious - it could be close to the road,
it could be extremely obvious to you.
But if I don't see anything then,
then I will walk the boundary of the park
along the park fence and it's going to be somewhere.
Finally, Tim spots the young calf.
She's well concealed from the other animals.
It's certainly better than being out in the middle of the park.
Less animals walk the fence. Less animals do that
so hopefully it won't get disturbed today.
At night time, the Pere Davids have the run of the park
while the rhinos and most other animals go into their houses.
For two nights in a row, the calf has moved position.
So Tim assumes she must be using the leg to stand and follow her mother.
Mum's overcome her fear of the cast
and the mucking about that we humans have done to the calf,
which we tried to limit, but she's got over that.
I'm very pleased that she's actually rearing it.
Everything looks good in that way.
Now the keepers can only wait and hope that underneath the cast
the broken leg is healing well.
We're hoping that the healing process is going to happen.
We feel there's going to be lameness,
possibly for the rest of its life.
How severe that is, we've yet to see,
but we're taking each day as it comes, really.
But sadly, there's no guarantee that the young Pere David will recover.
We'll update you on her progress later in the series.
Across the park in the East Africa Reserve,
Trevor and Honey have a new clutch of eggs.
A few weeks ago, I was helping to make a nest
to fill it with the eggs that Honey had been laying all over the park.
But when we'd finished, there was no guarantee the ostriches would sit.
Now Kate's gone up to find out the latest.
I'm in the East Africa Reserve with Head of Section, Andy Hayton.
We've come to see Honey the ostrich. She doesn't look very well, Andy!
She's sat on about 22 eggs.
-She's been laying like crazy. We get an egg every other day.
She's sat on them properly now and starting to incubate them.
How long does that incubation take?
But 22 chicks. That sounds like a lot.
No, I think in the wild it's five or ten per cent hatch out
and five or ten per cent of those chicks that hatch survive.
So it's a very high mortality rate.
But even here where there aren't any predators, or are there dangers for them here?
You'll get the giraffes coming here and occasionally get an egg smashed
where the giraffes paddle round in the nest
and Trev and Honey are demented trying to protect their eggs.
These two are doing all the proper stuff
and it's lovely to watch.
It seems strange looking at her lying that way.
You can understand her body being spread out to cover the eggs,
but why the neck down?
You'd think she'd want to look around.
It's where the myth of ostriches hiding their head in the sand comes from.
If we ever have to shove eggs in
cos she stirs all the eggs up and turns them round and so on,
and kicks eggs out from underneath her,
when you go to shove them back, she'll lay her neck straight out across the floor.
So if there's anything she perceives as a threat,
she'll lay her head flat out
so it doesn't make a silhouette.
-From a distance, she...
-It just looks like a rock or bush.
It's a kind of defence thing. That's where the thing of burying their head in the sand comes from.
So they don't actually do that at all.
Not even an ostrich is that daft!
Now, it looks like Honey does all the sitting
and Trevor, who was right here,
disappears completely uninterested over there.
Does he not do any of the brooding of the eggs?
Yeah, the males do the night shift
cos that's the really dangerous time.
It's dark and predators may come to take them.
So you have the big bad lad sat on the eggs at night.
He's more protective and far more of a threat
cos he can defend himself better.
So they swap over around five o'clock every evening.
Trevor does the night shift and Honey wanders off and starts feeding.
Nice to hear chivalry isn't dead!
Trev's a modern man. He takes his turn.
And the males, when the eggs hatch,
they do most of the protection and looking after the chicks.
The females are done then. When the eggs hatch, it's mid summer
so you've got these bumble bees, almost, running round.
A couple of years ago we had two baby giraffes and two baby ostrich
and there were more cars for the ostriches than the giraffes.
People absolutely love them. They're fantastic.
We'll keep our fingers crossed that there are more this year. Thank you.
While Andy's optimistic about Honey's progress,
it's been a different story back at the girafferie.
Over-affectionate mum Becky is still licking her calf too much.
Gertie's ears are swollen
and they risk becoming infected.
Now Andy's been forced to take a difficult decision.
We've actually split her away from her mum in the evenings now.
They're separated. She's in the next box to Becky.
We believe Becky was doing most of the ear nibbling at night.
So we have to come in every night at ten
and let Mum in with the baby for half an hour.
Baby feeds and fills up and Becky's happy to come away from the calf.
It seems to be working really well.
Last time we did that too late.
To make sure the ear doesn't get worse,
vet Duncan Williams needs to give her more antibiotics.
But the staff must be careful.
A fully-grown giraffe can kill a lion with one kick.
Even a baby can cause a nasty injury.
Being restrained might be stressful for Gertie,
but it is necessary.
Every member of staff knows exactly what they have to do.
-Are you all right?
-Yeah, we're happy.
Her nostrils are flaring. Did anyone get caught by the front legs?
No, not too bad.
-I wrapped mine around her.
-You've all got steel toe-caps.
I'll do this under the skin behind her shoulder.
I can do it where you are if you move back a wee bit.
Hold her up.
Did you get any swelling after the last one?
That's it. Done.
OK. Ready to let her go?
After the injection, Gertie is allowed back with Mum to feed.
Now that Duncan's had a closer look, he's pleased with her progress.
I gave her antibiotics against the infection
but the biggest thing is the change in management.
No-one's seen her licking it during the day, so it happens at night.
So what they're doing is by separating them at night
and in the middle of the night letting the baby feed,
it's making a big difference.
It's preventing the constant trauma
which is what happened with the last baby,
which we were unable to prevent. It caused her death.
But if things carry on as they are,
she'll have a slightly gnarled, thickened ear,
but it'll be virtually imperceptible.
And obviously we've got a healthy baby.
It's the news keepers have been waiting to hear.
Gertie is out of danger.
It's a relief to know we're doing the right thing.
None of us like splitting babies from mums at this early age.
It's infuriating that Becky does this to her calves
and you have to take measures like this.
After last year's tragedy,
all the staff are delighted that Gertie is doing so well.
Evelyn was so quiet.
This one, she's a real fighter. She's got real attitude, this one.
The next one may be different.
Everybody takes illness and pain differently.
I think Evelyn kind of almost gave up.
This one's better. We're doing well.
Kate and I are out and about in the safari park
with senior warden Bev Evans.
And two very, very heavy tortoises!
I can't believe how heavy they are, Bev!
-How much do they weigh?
-About 20 kilograms.
Really? What are we actually doing with them today?
We're bringing them down to their summer paddock.
-The weather's a lot better now. You can put them down now.
There. Is this a particular breed of tortoise that grows very big
or are they just the familiar tortoises that we see,
pet tortoises that have been well fed?
These are African Spurred tortoises, the third largest tortoise in the world.
-They get bigger than this?
-These are only a third of their size.
-You'd need a tractor to move them!
How did they end up here?
They were donated by people, both from London.
They had them as pets and didn't realise how big they'd get.
They're very expensive to look after. They need heat and light all winter
-because they don't hibernate.
So you've got to set up tropical African conditions in your garden.
-They'll be out all summer now?
-They will, yes.
-Bearing in mind we have a lot of rain in England,
-they have some shelter?
-They have a little house
and shelters round the paddock.
-And they graze?
-70% of the time they graze.
but we add broccoli, melon, apple and things.
You've got a male and female here.
-This one is...
-I get it!
-Very good! Very good!
Are you hoping they'll breed?
They might breed and she might even lay eggs
but in this weather they won't incubate naturally
and we wouldn't take them away because there are so many surplus tortoises
and people trying to re-home them.
So you don't want any more out on the pet market.
Not at all. We'd rather have them come to us.
They look a bit stunned to be outside.
"Wow, look at all this space!"
We should leave them to explore. You enjoy your new paddock.
Bev, thanks very much.
That's all we've got time for today.
But we've got lots more on the next Animal Park.
This baby Bactrian camel was born with a dodgy leg.
Will he learn to stand up for himself?
The lions are released for their smelly surprise.
But will our camera survive to tell the tale?
I wonder if he could hear the camera rolling?
And it's the moment of truth for the rare Pere David calf.
Oh! Oh, right.
We'll find out if she's managed to recover from her broken leg.
That's all coming up on the next Animal Park.
Subtitles by Moira Diamond Red Bee Media - 2006
E-mail us at [email protected]
Ben Fogle and Kate Humble explore life behind the scenes at Longleat Estate and Safari Park. The new white-backed African vultures are settling in and the keepers have arranged a special feast in their honour.
The herd of near-extinct Pere David deer have a new calf, the most precious baby in the park, but can she survive with a broken leg? And a unique wildlife point of view, using a 'carcass-cam' (a camera hidden in a carcass), to see how the lions really eat their dinner.