Episode 15 Animal Park


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Episode 15

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.

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And I'm Kate Humble. We're here with one of Longleat's newest arrivals.

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This tiny little thing is a baby tapir,

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the fifth calf born to proud parents Jessie and Jethro.

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-Isn't he just so adorable?

-I can't tell you how sweet he is.

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He's still got all his spots and stripes that tapirs are born with.

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This is to help camouflage them in the wild

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and protect them from predators.

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It's extremely tempting to stay here with him all day,

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but we've got lots of other animals coming up on today's programme.

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

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But can she survive with a broken leg?

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Longleat's littlest lions are coming to dinner.

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But who taught them their table manners?

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And young Gertie's in danger of catching a fatal infection.

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So now the keepers must take desperate measures.

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In the heart of the Wiltshire countryside,

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the Longleat Safari Park is home to over 50 different species.

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But of all the exotic animals in the park,

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none are more rare than these Pere David deer,

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listed as critically endangered.

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In the 1980s,

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the species declined to just 18 animals living in captive herds in Britain.

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Thanks to breeding programmes, numbers are rising

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but there are still just a few thousand Pere David deer in the whole world.

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The park is home to six of them, five does and one stag.

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To help sustain the species,

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keepers have been trying their best to expand the herd.

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Last year saw the successful birth of one healthy calf

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and, to Head of Section Tim Yeo's delight,

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this year they've had another.

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But just days after the baby was born,

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Tim saw something which gave him cause for concern.

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The calf was lying down by itself and not moving.

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Immediately, he called in vet Duncan Williams.

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The baby Pere David

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has got a really serious fracture of its left foreleg.

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It's not just a simple break, which would heal really easily,

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it's a split and a segment and it's a bit loose.

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In the wild, a broken leg would mean certain death.

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But with Duncan's veterinary care,

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this calf has a chance of recovery.

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We've stabilised it as best I could

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and put a plaster cast on it, a very lightweight one.

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The question is, these young animals heal up really quickly

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so long as there's not too much complications.

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It's a question of how many complications we've got.

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Tim and Duncan have done their best for her.

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Now they must leave her alone

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and hope that her mother will quickly return to look after her.

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But Pere David are shy creatures

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and so far, the mother seems to be keeping her distance.

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Do you think the calf's too close to the road?

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Will it go that close to the road when it's so busy?

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It's a good question, really. I think...

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-Those rhinos are there. Everyone's stopped to see them.

-Exactly.

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-That might be holding her back a bit, Tim.

-Yeah.

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Tim is worried that the mother might abandon the calf altogether.

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It's important to reunite the family as soon as possible.

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The cars are putting the mother off coming to the calf.

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I think she desperately wants to.

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So I'll move the calf. I didn't want to,

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but I feel the time's come where we need to get mum and calf together.

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So I'll move the calf deeper into the park there

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and hope she comes over to it then.

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Tim wears gloves to handle the calf

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because if the mother detects the scent of humans on her baby,

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she may not accept it as her own.

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No-one knows how the leg was broken so badly.

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But with each calf being so important to the survival of the Pere David species,

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Tim's taking every precaution.

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The slight worry is when you move a calf,

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does Mum know where it is when you move it? Can she still find it?

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Hopefully it's on the same line that it was.

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I haven't diverted from that.

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The quicker that Mum and calf can be together, the better, I think.

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We'll be back to find out if the calf recovers from her broken leg

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and if the mother accepts her back into the herd.

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No animal is more emblematic of Longleat than its famous lions.

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Dominant male Barbary lion, Kabir,

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arrived at the park in 2005.

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He quickly mated and sired two beautiful female cubs,

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Malaika and Jasira.

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At 12 weeks old, the cubs were given their inoculations.

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Then they were finally allowed out into the open together.

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At first, Kabir was a bit of a grumpy father.

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But soon, the whole family were getting on famously.

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The cubs have been growing stronger and more adventurous every day,

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learning the crucial skills of hunting and fighting

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through playing with each other and their parents.

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Now the cubs have almost as much of an appetite as their father

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when the feeding truck comes round.

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But there's one crucial rite of passage they have yet to experience.

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I'm out in the lion enclosure with Head of Section Brian Kent

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and deputy head, Bob Trollope.

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Bob, today we're feeding the lions

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but it's not a normal, typical feed.

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It's slightly different.

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Normally we drive around with the tractor and cage and throw chunks out the back.

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We're gonna go back as far as we can as a normal feed

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but use a carcass instead.

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Of course, in the wild, they wouldn't get little chunks each.

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No, they would hunt something this size or maybe bigger.

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And the whole pride would feed off it in one go

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as opposed to dotted about all over.

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Brian, this is just as important for you guys to see how they eat.

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It not only keeps them on their toes

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but it's good for you to observe.

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It's nice to see the whole pride having a carcass.

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With chunks of meat it's completely different.

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It's better to see them all on the carcass and what they're doing.

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-The cub's going in for food.

-Because this is Kabir's pride.

-Yes.

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-So the two young cubs.

-Two youngsters, yes.

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It's new to them. They might even go inside the carcass. You never know.

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What we have actually done as well,

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is with the carcass we've hidden a very small camera.

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It's within the carcass there.

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-They can't swallow the camera? It's in a box.

-A wooden box. It's safe.

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What we've also done is hidden some wires from there to here.

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There's our Animal Park truck. Everyone's busy putting cameras up

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so we have lots of ways of observing the lions as they eat.

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We've got to finish covering this pipe that hides the wires.

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Are you pretty confident that as soon as they're let out

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they'll go straight to this carcass?

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I imagine they will.

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They may have a sniff round first, where we've been walking round.

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What amount of meat would the lions here consume per year?

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At Longleat, over 40 tonnes a year, easily.

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-Over 40 tonnes?

-The equivalent of six double-decker buses!

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That is incredible. How much do we have here?

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-Many kilos!

-Something like that!

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A minibus!

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We'll get into the safety of the vehicles.

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Join us a little later

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when we'll find out just how the lions of Longleat

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consume 40 tonnes of meat every year!

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The East Africa Reserve is home to some of the park's most striking residents.

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The Rothschild giraffe.

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Over the years, the park has had a tremendously successful record of breeding the giraffes

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with more than 100 calves born here in the past.

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Last year, 13-year-old Becky had a beautiful calf named Evelyn.

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Giraffes bond with their calves by licking them

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but Becky would not stop licking Evelyn's ears

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and the calf developed an infection.

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Because the ears were so badly affected,

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mother and calf had to be separated.

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Vet Duncan Williams was called in

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and gave the baby giraffe a course of antibiotics.

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But despite all their efforts,

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Head of Section Andy Hayton came in one morning

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to find his worst nightmare.

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Little Evelyn had died.

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It's a disaster, really.

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It's a shame.

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It is such a crying shame

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that we had a lovely female giraffe that would give us calves in future

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and she was a nice addition to the group.

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And you lose her.

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You question what you've done, whether you've done the right thing.

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Vet Duncan carried out a post-mortem

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to find out exactly what had killed the baby giraffe.

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Basically, we found out what we'd expected.

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She died from septicaemia.

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It probably got into her body, into her heart and stuff

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before the antibiotics were first administered.

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So while we kept her alive for a week with the antibiotics,

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it just caught up with her

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and unfortunately, that's what finished her off, really.

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To lose a two-month-old giraffe is very abnormal.

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Once they get past the first week, you generally think they'll be OK.

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So it's very abnormal to lose one of that age.

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I'm disappointed, really, yeah.

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This year brought better news in the girafferie.

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Becky was pregnant again.

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Staff kept a close watch throughout her pregnancy

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and were on hand with a camera to film the first few hours

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of her new baby's life.

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Now Gertie is three weeks old.

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To make sure all's well,

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keeper Ryan Hockley monitors her progress every day.

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The last thing we want is to go back into that boat we were in before

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because it really did annoy us that we lost that calf.

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We don't like, certainly wouldn't like to fail a second time along the same lines.

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The only other option we've got, if we find her starting to mummy away at those ears

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is to take the calf away and hand-rear it.

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That's not really our ethos here in the girafferie or at Longleat.

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We like mother-reared animals. They're much better adjusted.

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Hand-reared animals never really seem to be the full ticket!

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So, yeah, we want her to rear it.

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But despite Ryan's best efforts,

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he's now spotted some swelling on the calf's ears.

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Because last time the infection was fatal so quickly,

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Head of Section Andy Hayton immediately calls in vet Duncan.

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-It's slightly swollen.

-When did the swelling come up?

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In the past three or four days, I guess.

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From a personal point of view, I'd like to have a closer look.

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If Gertie's ears have become infected,

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her life, too, could be in danger.

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We'll be back later in the programme.

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Over at the aviary, alongside the Chilean flamingos

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and African spoonbills,

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these Sacred Ibis from Egypt are thriving.

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There were just 12 birds initially but last year saw the arrival of three new chicks.

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Now keepers are hoping for more

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because the nesting season is here again.

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I'm out in the aviary with keeper Michelle Stevens.

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This seems to be a very strange thing to be doing, Michelle,

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throwing out sticks! Why?

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These are lime twigs. We scatter them in the enclosure for the ibis.

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-It's really good nesting material.

-Oh, right!

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What does an ibis nest look like?

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It's just a big gathering of lots of twigs and things.

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Grasses, leaves, anything they can find.

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They interweave it. It's a compact nest

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but a complete mess at the same time.

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-To anyone else, it looks like a compost heap.

-Yes!

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Do they nest on the ground or do they build this up in the trees?

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-How does it work?

-They will nest on the ground, on rocks, in trees,

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anywhere they think is suitable.

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I'm just looking across at them now.

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To my eyes, looking at these black-and-white birds,

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they all look identical.

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Do you know which is male and which is female?

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It is very difficult. Males can be slightly bigger than females.

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However, to be really sure, we DNA sex them.

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We take a feather, and at the root is some DNA, or blood.

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The laboratory will process that and tell us whether it's a male or female.

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How does it work? Will the males build the nest or the females?

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The male will pick up any nesting materials

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-and the female will make the nest.

-Right.

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Do you get that lovely behaviour you see sometimes with birds

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where a male will present nesting material and say "Is this good enough?"

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Part of the courtship is to present nesting material to make sure he's good enough for her

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and it's quite a complex courtship ritual as well.

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How amazing!

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You had a successful year last year. How many chicks did you end up with?

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We had three chicks altogether and the parents incubated really well.

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Great parents. They swap over so the female can get food.

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So they'll both brood,

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the male will go on so the female can feed and then swap over.

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And when the chicks are born, are both responsible for feeding?

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-Yes, it's a partnership.

-Right.

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Flamingos and spoonbills you've also got here.

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What's happening with regards to their breeding?

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-The flamingos are still too young.

-Right.

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Most are not quite ready.

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It might be a couple more years yet.

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Right. And the spoonbills?

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The spoonbills, we sexed them as well.

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Unfortunately, they're all male!

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So you're on the lookout for a female!

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Anyone got a female spoonbill, send it in!

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We hoped it was two and two, but someone tricked us!

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Let's hope all this twig spreading really works with the ibis

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and you get another good year. Come on, guys! Get your nests!

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Thanks, Michelle.

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Back in the deer park,

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keeper Adrian Lamfear is on tractor patrol with the rhinos.

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He's also keeping an eye on the Pere David calf with the broken leg.

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She's still lying down by herself,

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at some distance from her mother and the rest of the herd.

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It seems as though they're not interested in the calf at all,

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but this is natural protective behaviour.

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It's precisely what they'd do in the wild

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to keep a newborn baby safe from predators.

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It's very normal behaviour not to draw predators to the baby.

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If the predator's there and can smell maybe the afterbirth

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then the closeness of the herd

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would give its presence away.

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Its camouflage will hide the baby, it's lying low.

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A couple of times mother will come and the baby will put its head up

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then put its head back down again

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so Mum's keeping an eye on it.

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Off she goes again, grazing, but she's very watchful,

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keeping an eye on what's going on.

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With the mother showing so much interest,

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the calf has got over its first big hurdle.

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It is early days, but we're very hopeful.

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Mother and the group are showing protective signs towards the baby

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so that's very good.

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We're very hopeful. Fingers crossed!

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Head of Section Tim Yeo oversees the Pere David breeding programme.

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He's not concerned to see the calf still lying down.

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It's almost instinctive, to a degree,

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that the calf knows that it needs to go away

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and stay still and not draw attention to itself.

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Because obviously it could be preyed on.

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It's more vulnerable at that stage.

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There might not be any predators in the enclosure,

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but Tim's concerned that other animals could interfere with the injured baby.

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Because the calf has this cast on its leg,

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a lot of the animals, if they spot anything different,

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it draws attention to an animal

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and they'll come and investigate.

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We certainly do have to watch out for other species in the park

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because at this stage the calf is very vulnerable.

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Now a herd of massive Ankole cattle have surrounded the young calf.

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Seeing the threat, the Pere David herd move towards the baby deer.

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But her mother is way ahead of them

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and bravely tries to protect her offspring.

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Sensing she's in danger of being trampled,

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the calf struggles to her feet.

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It's a good sign, but still no-one knows how well the leg is healing.

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We'll come back to find out.

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Still to come on today's programme:

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We'll be helping to move a couple of giants,

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Tommy and Michelle.

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Trevor and Honey have been very busy

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and now they've got a lot of eggs.

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Twenty-two?! Wow!

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And the lion cubs are going to get their first taste of dinner

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on the wild side.

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But now, back over at the girafferie,

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Head of Section Andy Hayton has called in vet Duncan Williams

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to examine Gertie.

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They're worried because the baby's ears are swollen

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from being licked by her mother, Becky.

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Without treatment, they could become infected.

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Nobody's really seen Becky nibbling the ears.

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We think she's coming in at night and when the calf sits down

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she's licking the calf's ears then.

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Because if she does go for them when she's upright and we're all here,

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the calf walks away unceremoniously and doesn't want it done to her.

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I think Becky's taking her opportunity when she can

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which is even more annoying.

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This is the first time Gertie has been handled.

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It takes five keepers to restrain her

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so that vet Duncan can examine her

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and administer treatment.

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I'm going to spray that and give her an antibiotic.

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She's split the two sides of the cartilage.

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There's a gap in it. At the moment it's just leaking serum.

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It's not infected yet, but that'll be the next stage.

0:22:230:22:27

OK, I've finished.

0:22:270:22:30

On three. One, two, three.

0:22:300:22:32

We cleaned it up as best we could,

0:22:320:22:35

put some local antibiotic on it

0:22:350:22:37

and given her a long-acting antibiotic injection.

0:22:370:22:41

Her last baby, Evelyn, she did the same with her.

0:22:410:22:44

Both ears we lost the tips of them

0:22:440:22:46

and it got so infected, she went into septicaemic shock and died.

0:22:460:22:50

It's a real nightmare. We can't take the baby off her

0:22:500:22:53

because she's got a natural bond there with her mother.

0:22:530:22:59

But if her mother keeps doing this, we could have problems.

0:22:590:23:02

At the moment we're being very, very vigilant.

0:23:030:23:07

It's a big worry. It's history repeating itself.

0:23:070:23:09

It's infuriating more than worrying.

0:23:090:23:14

"Why do you have to do this to your baby?"

0:23:140:23:17

We're going to treat it far more intensively than we did last time.

0:23:170:23:21

We're just gonna really go for it.

0:23:210:23:24

The unfortunate circumstances that happened last time

0:23:240:23:28

when we lost the baby,

0:23:280:23:30

we held back cos we didn't want to stress the calf

0:23:300:23:32

by constantly grabbing it and pulling her around. It didn't work.

0:23:320:23:37

During the day, the giraffes live outside in the East Africa Reserve,

0:23:420:23:46

where keeper Kathryn Kendal is on patrol.

0:23:460:23:49

Becky takes every opportunity to try to lick the calf's ears

0:23:490:23:53

with her 18-inch tongue.

0:23:530:23:55

But Gertie is learning to be nervous of her mother's attentions.

0:23:550:23:59

She's really feisty. She's very headstrong.

0:23:590:24:02

She'll only do what she wants to do when she wants to do it.

0:24:020:24:05

It's brilliant. She's put Mum in her place already.

0:24:050:24:09

Mum will try to groom her and maybe lick her ears

0:24:090:24:12

and she'll shake her off straight away. Brilliant.

0:24:120:24:16

At night, the giraffes move back into their house.

0:24:170:24:20

The staff want to keep mother and calf together, if at all possible,

0:24:200:24:25

but this is when Gertie is in most danger.

0:24:250:24:28

We'll be back to see if she can escape her mother's unwanted attentions.

0:24:310:24:36

Over in lion country, Kabir's pride are getting hungry.

0:24:470:24:50

It's very important when caring for animals in captivity

0:24:540:24:58

to enrich their lives with experiences they'd have in their natural environment.

0:24:580:25:02

That's why the lions are usually fed from a moving vehicle.

0:25:020:25:06

It simulates the experience of the hunt.

0:25:060:25:09

But in the wild, a pride of lions would always feed together,

0:25:120:25:17

something that reinforces family ties and social bonds.

0:25:170:25:20

So today, Kabir's pride are going to get the chance of a communal feed.

0:25:200:25:24

For the youngsters, Malaika and Jasira,

0:25:240:25:27

this will be an important educational experience.

0:25:270:25:30

And, so that we can observe the group dynamics close up,

0:25:300:25:35

we've installed a miniature camera in the carcass.

0:25:350:25:38

Now it's dinner time

0:25:380:25:40

and the lions have been let out.

0:25:400:25:42

I'm with Head of Section Brian Kent and deputy head, Bob Trollope.

0:25:430:25:47

They're surrounding us.

0:25:470:25:49

Who's this first to the carcass?

0:25:490:25:52

-This is Luna.

-Look at her pulling at it.

0:25:520:25:55

We've got here a little monitor

0:25:550:25:58

that's picking up the camera. Here's Kabir. He's not sure about us being here.

0:25:580:26:02

They're a little worried about us.

0:26:020:26:05

We can just see his nose creeping in.

0:26:070:26:10

Is there a strict hierarchy within the pride about who goes in first?

0:26:100:26:15

You normally find that the male will get prime position

0:26:150:26:18

purely because of his size.

0:26:180:26:20

What's she doing at the back with the tree? Is it excitement?

0:26:200:26:24

She's sharpening her claws, I think.

0:26:240:26:26

-Now we've got one of the cubs.

-This is little Jasira.

0:26:260:26:29

-A tentative look.

-Not really sure what to make of it.

0:26:290:26:34

It's very interesting because the cub has gone in from behind.

0:26:340:26:37

It's a soft spot as well.

0:26:370:26:40

-Right.

-Now you've got the male in a typical position

0:26:400:26:44

where he'll get all the best parts, all the offal.

0:26:440:26:47

Also by the time the others have broken through the hide

0:26:470:26:50

-all he'll do is...

-There you go.

0:26:500:26:52

You can see the tongue. Is it true that the tongue is like sandpaper?

0:26:520:26:57

-Is that how they get the meat?

-There's a roughness to it.

0:26:570:27:01

Like a rasp.

0:27:010:27:02

They're literally ripping the meat off the bones. Is that how they consume it?

0:27:020:27:07

The teeth aren't designed for chewing, as you'd imagine.

0:27:070:27:11

They're basically cutting teeth.

0:27:110:27:13

And they will obviously have to puncture the carcass.

0:27:130:27:19

Then, with the other teeth, bite through the flesh.

0:27:190:27:23

When they get to the bones, they'll use their tongue to strip the meat.

0:27:230:27:27

Just an extraordinary image.

0:27:270:27:29

Have you ever seen a perspective like this?

0:27:290:27:32

-I can't say I have.

-This is absolutely brilliant.

0:27:320:27:36

I know that they're a pride and they do live together,

0:27:360:27:39

but they're happy to eat side-by-side like that.

0:27:390:27:42

They're very content with it, to be honest.

0:27:420:27:46

In the wild, where they don't get fed as often,

0:27:460:27:50

you'd find the cubs would be the last ones to feed.

0:27:500:27:53

-The survival of the pride...

-Look at that!

0:27:530:27:56

I think that's a youngster eating from...

0:27:560:27:59

No, it's still pulling on the hide.

0:27:590:28:02

There's three or four there now.

0:28:020:28:04

Look at the claws going in.

0:28:040:28:05

With this camera we've got a microphone hidden.

0:28:070:28:11

You can hear, even from here, the crunching of the bones.

0:28:110:28:14

Are they eating the bones as well as the meat?

0:28:140:28:17

They'll get a certain amount.

0:28:170:28:19

The bones have marrowbone inside.

0:28:190:28:22

But with the skin and the hide,

0:28:220:28:26

they'll eat a certain amount of that as well.

0:28:260:28:29

Basically, they get the hair to help digestion

0:28:290:28:34

-and also to clean the pipes after feeding.

-Really?

0:28:340:28:37

Incredible. So they really are using every single part of the carcass.

0:28:370:28:42

They'll get all the goodness from that.

0:28:420:28:44

Because they don't produce their own vitamins, they get it from the carcass.

0:28:440:28:48

As with water, as well.

0:28:480:28:50

They get water from the carcass? Is that through the blood?

0:28:500:28:54

Well, if the animal had been drinking recently,

0:28:540:28:58

it would still be in the system and they could get it from there.

0:28:580:29:02

They can live for ages on solely getting it from the carcasses.

0:29:020:29:06

Occasionally they will eat grass to make themselves sick

0:29:060:29:10

and get any badness out of them.

0:29:100:29:12

-Just like a domestic...

-A bit like a domestic cat will do that.

0:29:120:29:16

Hasn't taken them long to get through half this carcass.

0:29:170:29:21

We may have to wait some time to retrieve our camera.

0:29:210:29:24

It's safe to say that carcass-cam was a success! Thanks, guys!

0:29:240:29:28

Three days have passed since the Pere David calf was found with a broken leg.

0:29:470:29:52

Before the park opens to the public,

0:29:550:29:57

Head of Section, Tim Yeo,

0:29:570:29:59

heads out to check on her.

0:29:590:30:00

The first job I have in the morning

0:30:020:30:05

is to go out and have a look and see if I can find the calf

0:30:050:30:09

because we don't know what's happened during the night

0:30:090:30:14

so it's very important for me to find the calf

0:30:140:30:17

and then see if things are looking OK or not.

0:30:170:30:21

Over the years,

0:30:210:30:23

you find that the deer like to leave their calves

0:30:230:30:27

in certain sites in the park.

0:30:270:30:31

So year in, year out, there are likely places that you would look.

0:30:310:30:36

Sometimes it's very obvious - it could be close to the road,

0:30:360:30:40

it could be extremely obvious to you.

0:30:400:30:42

But if I don't see anything then,

0:30:420:30:44

then I will walk the boundary of the park

0:30:440:30:49

along the park fence and it's going to be somewhere.

0:30:490:30:54

Finally, Tim spots the young calf.

0:30:570:31:00

She's well concealed from the other animals.

0:31:010:31:04

It's certainly better than being out in the middle of the park.

0:31:060:31:09

Less animals walk the fence. Less animals do that

0:31:090:31:13

so hopefully it won't get disturbed today.

0:31:130:31:19

At night time, the Pere Davids have the run of the park

0:31:210:31:24

while the rhinos and most other animals go into their houses.

0:31:240:31:28

For two nights in a row, the calf has moved position.

0:31:300:31:33

So Tim assumes she must be using the leg to stand and follow her mother.

0:31:330:31:38

Mum's overcome her fear of the cast

0:31:410:31:44

and the mucking about that we humans have done to the calf,

0:31:440:31:49

which we tried to limit, but she's got over that.

0:31:490:31:52

I'm very pleased that she's actually rearing it.

0:31:520:31:56

Everything looks good in that way.

0:31:560:31:59

Now the keepers can only wait and hope that underneath the cast

0:32:000:32:05

the broken leg is healing well.

0:32:050:32:07

We're hoping that the healing process is going to happen.

0:32:080:32:13

We feel there's going to be lameness,

0:32:130:32:16

possibly for the rest of its life.

0:32:160:32:19

How severe that is, we've yet to see,

0:32:190:32:24

but we're taking each day as it comes, really.

0:32:240:32:27

But sadly, there's no guarantee that the young Pere David will recover.

0:32:270:32:32

We'll update you on her progress later in the series.

0:32:320:32:35

Across the park in the East Africa Reserve,

0:32:430:32:45

Trevor and Honey have a new clutch of eggs.

0:32:450:32:48

A few weeks ago, I was helping to make a nest

0:32:500:32:53

to fill it with the eggs that Honey had been laying all over the park.

0:32:530:32:57

But when we'd finished, there was no guarantee the ostriches would sit.

0:32:580:33:03

Now Kate's gone up to find out the latest.

0:33:030:33:06

I'm in the East Africa Reserve with Head of Section, Andy Hayton.

0:33:080:33:12

We've come to see Honey the ostrich. She doesn't look very well, Andy!

0:33:120:33:16

She's sat on about 22 eggs.

0:33:160:33:19

Twenty-two?! Really?

0:33:190:33:21

-She's been laying like crazy. We get an egg every other day.

-Wow!

0:33:210:33:24

She's sat on them properly now and starting to incubate them.

0:33:240:33:30

How long does that incubation take?

0:33:300:33:33

40 days.

0:33:330:33:34

But 22 chicks. That sounds like a lot.

0:33:340:33:37

No, I think in the wild it's five or ten per cent hatch out

0:33:370:33:42

and five or ten per cent of those chicks that hatch survive.

0:33:420:33:47

So it's a very high mortality rate.

0:33:470:33:49

But even here where there aren't any predators, or are there dangers for them here?

0:33:490:33:54

You'll get the giraffes coming here and occasionally get an egg smashed

0:33:540:33:58

where the giraffes paddle round in the nest

0:33:580:34:00

and Trev and Honey are demented trying to protect their eggs.

0:34:000:34:04

These two are doing all the proper stuff

0:34:040:34:08

and it's lovely to watch.

0:34:080:34:10

It seems strange looking at her lying that way.

0:34:100:34:15

You can understand her body being spread out to cover the eggs,

0:34:150:34:18

but why the neck down?

0:34:180:34:21

You'd think she'd want to look around.

0:34:210:34:23

It's where the myth of ostriches hiding their head in the sand comes from.

0:34:230:34:27

If we ever have to shove eggs in

0:34:270:34:29

cos she stirs all the eggs up and turns them round and so on,

0:34:290:34:33

and kicks eggs out from underneath her,

0:34:330:34:35

when you go to shove them back, she'll lay her neck straight out across the floor.

0:34:350:34:40

So if there's anything she perceives as a threat,

0:34:400:34:43

she'll lay her head flat out

0:34:430:34:45

so it doesn't make a silhouette.

0:34:450:34:47

-From a distance, she...

-It just looks like a rock or bush.

-Absolutely.

0:34:470:34:52

It's a kind of defence thing. That's where the thing of burying their head in the sand comes from.

0:34:520:34:58

So they don't actually do that at all.

0:34:580:35:00

Not even an ostrich is that daft!

0:35:000:35:02

Now, it looks like Honey does all the sitting

0:35:030:35:08

and Trevor, who was right here,

0:35:080:35:11

disappears completely uninterested over there.

0:35:110:35:14

Does he not do any of the brooding of the eggs?

0:35:140:35:17

Yeah, the males do the night shift

0:35:170:35:19

cos that's the really dangerous time.

0:35:190:35:21

It's dark and predators may come to take them.

0:35:210:35:24

So you have the big bad lad sat on the eggs at night.

0:35:240:35:27

He's more protective and far more of a threat

0:35:270:35:30

cos he can defend himself better.

0:35:300:35:32

So they swap over around five o'clock every evening.

0:35:320:35:35

Trevor does the night shift and Honey wanders off and starts feeding.

0:35:350:35:40

Nice to hear chivalry isn't dead!

0:35:400:35:43

Trev's a modern man. He takes his turn.

0:35:430:35:45

And the males, when the eggs hatch,

0:35:450:35:48

they do most of the protection and looking after the chicks.

0:35:480:35:51

The females are done then. When the eggs hatch, it's mid summer

0:35:510:35:55

so you've got these bumble bees, almost, running round.

0:35:550:36:00

A couple of years ago we had two baby giraffes and two baby ostrich

0:36:000:36:03

and there were more cars for the ostriches than the giraffes.

0:36:030:36:07

People absolutely love them. They're fantastic.

0:36:070:36:10

We'll keep our fingers crossed that there are more this year. Thank you.

0:36:100:36:15

While Andy's optimistic about Honey's progress,

0:36:150:36:19

it's been a different story back at the girafferie.

0:36:190:36:22

Over-affectionate mum Becky is still licking her calf too much.

0:36:240:36:28

Gertie's ears are swollen

0:36:300:36:32

and they risk becoming infected.

0:36:320:36:34

Now Andy's been forced to take a difficult decision.

0:36:360:36:39

We've actually split her away from her mum in the evenings now.

0:36:400:36:45

They're separated. She's in the next box to Becky.

0:36:450:36:48

We believe Becky was doing most of the ear nibbling at night.

0:36:480:36:52

So we have to come in every night at ten

0:36:520:36:55

and let Mum in with the baby for half an hour.

0:36:550:36:58

Baby feeds and fills up and Becky's happy to come away from the calf.

0:36:580:37:03

It seems to be working really well.

0:37:030:37:06

Last time we did that too late.

0:37:060:37:09

To make sure the ear doesn't get worse,

0:37:100:37:13

vet Duncan Williams needs to give her more antibiotics.

0:37:130:37:16

But the staff must be careful.

0:37:160:37:18

A fully-grown giraffe can kill a lion with one kick.

0:37:180:37:22

Even a baby can cause a nasty injury.

0:37:220:37:24

Being restrained might be stressful for Gertie,

0:37:300:37:33

but it is necessary.

0:37:330:37:35

Every member of staff knows exactly what they have to do.

0:37:350:37:38

-Are you all right?

-Yeah, we're happy.

0:37:380:37:41

Her nostrils are flaring. Did anyone get caught by the front legs?

0:37:410:37:45

No, not too bad.

0:37:450:37:46

-I wrapped mine around her.

-You've all got steel toe-caps.

0:37:460:37:50

I'll do this under the skin behind her shoulder.

0:37:510:37:54

I can do it where you are if you move back a wee bit.

0:37:540:37:58

Hold her up.

0:37:580:38:00

Did you get any swelling after the last one?

0:38:000:38:03

That's it. Done.

0:38:030:38:05

OK. Ready to let her go?

0:38:050:38:08

OK.

0:38:080:38:09

After the injection, Gertie is allowed back with Mum to feed.

0:38:100:38:15

Now that Duncan's had a closer look, he's pleased with her progress.

0:38:150:38:19

I gave her antibiotics against the infection

0:38:190:38:24

but the biggest thing is the change in management.

0:38:240:38:27

No-one's seen her licking it during the day, so it happens at night.

0:38:270:38:30

So what they're doing is by separating them at night

0:38:300:38:35

and in the middle of the night letting the baby feed,

0:38:350:38:39

it's making a big difference.

0:38:390:38:42

It's preventing the constant trauma

0:38:420:38:46

which is what happened with the last baby,

0:38:460:38:48

which we were unable to prevent. It caused her death.

0:38:480:38:52

But if things carry on as they are,

0:38:520:38:54

she'll have a slightly gnarled, thickened ear,

0:38:540:38:58

but it'll be virtually imperceptible.

0:38:580:39:01

And obviously we've got a healthy baby.

0:39:010:39:04

It's the news keepers have been waiting to hear.

0:39:060:39:09

Gertie is out of danger.

0:39:090:39:11

It's a relief to know we're doing the right thing.

0:39:110:39:14

None of us like splitting babies from mums at this early age.

0:39:140:39:18

It's infuriating that Becky does this to her calves

0:39:180:39:21

and you have to take measures like this.

0:39:210:39:24

After last year's tragedy,

0:39:240:39:26

all the staff are delighted that Gertie is doing so well.

0:39:260:39:29

Evelyn was so quiet.

0:39:330:39:34

This one, she's a real fighter. She's got real attitude, this one.

0:39:340:39:41

The next one may be different.

0:39:410:39:42

Everybody takes illness and pain differently.

0:39:420:39:46

I think Evelyn kind of almost gave up.

0:39:460:39:49

This one's better. We're doing well.

0:39:490:39:53

Kate and I are out and about in the safari park

0:40:120:40:15

with senior warden Bev Evans.

0:40:150:40:17

And two very, very heavy tortoises!

0:40:170:40:19

I can't believe how heavy they are, Bev!

0:40:190:40:22

-How much do they weigh?

-About 20 kilograms.

0:40:220:40:25

Really? What are we actually doing with them today?

0:40:250:40:30

We're bringing them down to their summer paddock.

0:40:300:40:32

-The weather's a lot better now. You can put them down now.

-Yes?

0:40:320:40:36

Crikey!

0:40:380:40:39

There. Is this a particular breed of tortoise that grows very big

0:40:390:40:44

or are they just the familiar tortoises that we see,

0:40:440:40:47

pet tortoises that have been well fed?

0:40:470:40:50

These are African Spurred tortoises, the third largest tortoise in the world.

0:40:500:40:55

-They get bigger than this?

-These are only a third of their size.

0:40:550:40:58

-These are?

-Yes.

-You'd need a tractor to move them!

0:40:580:41:02

How did they end up here?

0:41:020:41:04

They were donated by people, both from London.

0:41:040:41:07

They had them as pets and didn't realise how big they'd get.

0:41:070:41:11

They're very expensive to look after. They need heat and light all winter

0:41:110:41:15

-because they don't hibernate.

-Don't they?

0:41:150:41:18

So you've got to set up tropical African conditions in your garden.

0:41:180:41:22

-Yes.

-They'll be out all summer now?

0:41:220:41:26

-They will, yes.

-Bearing in mind we have a lot of rain in England,

0:41:260:41:29

-they have some shelter?

-They have a little house

0:41:290:41:32

and shelters round the paddock.

0:41:320:41:34

-And they graze?

-70% of the time they graze.

0:41:340:41:37

but we add broccoli, melon, apple and things.

0:41:370:41:40

You've got a male and female here.

0:41:400:41:43

-This one is...

-Tommy.

-Tommy and...

-Michelle.

0:41:430:41:45

-Michelle!

-I get it!

-Very good! Very good!

0:41:450:41:49

Are you hoping they'll breed?

0:41:490:41:51

They might breed and she might even lay eggs

0:41:510:41:54

but in this weather they won't incubate naturally

0:41:540:41:57

and we wouldn't take them away because there are so many surplus tortoises

0:41:570:42:01

and people trying to re-home them.

0:42:010:42:03

So you don't want any more out on the pet market.

0:42:030:42:07

Not at all. We'd rather have them come to us.

0:42:070:42:10

They look a bit stunned to be outside.

0:42:100:42:13

"Wow, look at all this space!"

0:42:130:42:15

We should leave them to explore. You enjoy your new paddock.

0:42:150:42:19

Bev, thanks very much.

0:42:190:42:20

That's all we've got time for today.

0:42:200:42:23

But we've got lots more on the next Animal Park.

0:42:230:42:26

This baby Bactrian camel was born with a dodgy leg.

0:42:270:42:31

Will he learn to stand up for himself?

0:42:310:42:33

The lions are released for their smelly surprise.

0:42:340:42:38

But will our camera survive to tell the tale?

0:42:380:42:41

I wonder if he could hear the camera rolling?

0:42:410:42:44

And it's the moment of truth for the rare Pere David calf.

0:42:450:42:49

Oh! Oh, right.

0:42:490:42:51

We'll find out if she's managed to recover from her broken leg.

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

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Subtitles by Moira Diamond Red Bee Media - 2006

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E-mail us at [email protected]

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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.