Episode 18 Animal Park


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Episode 18

Ben Fogle and Kate Humble explore life behind the scenes at Longleat Safari Park. Mayhem has broken out in the aviary - the spoonbills are at war and the casualties are mounting.


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Transcript


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

-And I'm Ben Fogle

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and we've just come out of the great doors of Longleat House.

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Longleat first opened to the public in 1949 -

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one of the very first stately homes to do so -

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and a quarter of a million visitors take the house tour every year.

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We'll be bringing you stories from the house and the entire estate

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and, of course, the safari park. Here's what's coming up today.

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Mayhem has broken out in the aviary -

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the spoonbills are at war and the casualties are mounting.

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They're definitely not giving it any time at all

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and if they keep hounding it like that, they'll kill it.

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There's an army trying to eat Longleat's treasures.

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We'll be reporting on the latest battle in the war on bugs.

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Up at Wolf Wood, pups are on the way so the keepers have come up with

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a high-tech solution to keep an eye on mum.

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But first...

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we're off to the park's aviary...

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it's one of the largest of its kind in Europe

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and is home to a wide variety of exotic birds

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including Chilean flamingos,

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sacred ibis and four species of duck.

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Longleat's four spoonbills arrived here 18 months ago

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and, since then, they've lived happily together

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until today.

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Suddenly two of them have declared war - relentlessly hounding

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one of the other spoonbills to within an inch of its life.

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Keeper Michelle Stevens has rounded up the bullied bird

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and brought it inside the house.

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Now she has called in safari park vet Duncan Williams to make sure it's OK.

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-Got a few bashes round its face.

-Yeah. He has been...

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-They have been bullying him, haven't they?

-..bullied by the others.

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I'll have a listen to his chest.

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Luckily the spoonbill has no serious injuries but he's been terrified

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by his ordeal.

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His heart's going so fast. So stressed out.

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Duncan decides that the best thing is to keep him inside to recover.

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Meanwhile back outside, the pair of bullies has found a new victim.

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They've turned on the fourth spoonbill.

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-Where's the other one?

-At the back.

-Oh, yeah.

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Neither Duncan nor the keepers have ever seen this kind of behaviour before.

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They're at a loss to know how to control the spoonbill pair's aggression.

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I don't really know why cos it's only happened in the last day and a half

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that these two, apparently this pair, has been picking on it.

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They're definitely not giving it any time at all

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and if they keep hounding it like that, they'll kill it.

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There's nothing for it but to bring the other bullied spoonbill

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into the safety of the house. Desperate for a solution,

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the keepers call in the man who set up the aviary -

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bird expert Mike Curzon.

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Steady, steady, steady, steady, steady.

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This is one we've caught so far.

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Mike has worked with spoonbills for over 40 years.

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How long do you think we should keep them in for?

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Well, I'd keep them in now until the middle of the summer.

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Spoonbills are monomorphic

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which means that boys and girls look exactly the same.

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DNA testing when these four arrived indicated that they were all male.

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Nevertheless Mike thinks that he knows what the problem is.

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Even though they are both boys,

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it's possible that the two bullies have formed a pair bond which would explain their aggressive behaviour.

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With no females around then two males will, um, take the part of a pair

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and they'll behave as a pair

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and be aggressive.

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Mike thinks the size of the spoonbill group

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is also contributing to the problem.

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Anything that lives in a colony, whether it's people or birds, you will always get bickering.

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You know, they shout across a garden fence at each other and neighbours fall out with each other.

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The problem is with the spoonbills there are only four.

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If there is any aggression from two

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it's onto the other two.

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If you have a complete colony, if you have a larger number,

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then bickering isn't taken out on individuals -

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they can't be singled out -

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it's spread through the group.

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If you watch the flamingos, there's constant bickering going on.

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It doesn't become aggressive because something else happens

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or another one walks by and walks between them.

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Um, it doesn't usually become violent.

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Um, and the more that there are in the colony,

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it spreads...it spreads the load.

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Thankfully, the two bullied spoonbills have recovered well from their ordeal.

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For now, they'll be kept safely apart,

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until some spoonbill girls can be brought in

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to calm the boys down.

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I think the important thing is to find one of the continental zoos who are breeding them

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and bring in four females,

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and then, hopefully, everything in the garden will be rosy.

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A lot of activity then, a lot of noise,

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and, hopefully, a lot of little spoonbills.

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Across the park, there's been excitement of a much nicer sort.

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Longleat's herd of seven Bactrian camels recently welcomed a new member to their gang.

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The latest arrival is called Elvis,

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and he's now just two weeks old.

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# ..I'm all shook up, ooh-hoo-hoo

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# Ooh-hoo

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# Yeah, yeah... #

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Elvis had a bit of a shaky start as he was born with a weak hind leg.

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# ..I can't seem to stand on my own two feet

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# Who do you think of when you have such luck...? #

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Thankfully, within days, the leg strengthened.

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# ..Mm-mm-hmm, ooh-ooh

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# Yeah, yeah... #

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Now Elvis is enjoying his excursions into the wilder enclosure.

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I'm out in the new area with keeper Adie Landfear,

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and the new camel is going out for one of its first trips out, isn't it?

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Yes. He's been out a few times,

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but it's still a very new experience for him.

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He's in a mixed reserve where he'll encounter different species that he wouldn't normally encounter.

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We've got the rhinos over there,

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we've got the Ankole cattle...

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And all these cars!

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Which, presumably, genuinely, for a young camel

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is actually a bit of an issue, is it?

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-He doesn't know what's dangerous and what isn't.

-He's got to learn.

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He's got to learn a lot from Mum.

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That's Bhali, protecting there.

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She's been an excellent mother.

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She's using her body as a shield there.

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She's literally shepherding him around.

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Have you noticed a character forming with the young camel?

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He's very playful.

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Mum's been very good. We're able to handle him, have a play with him.

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Mum's brilliant.

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You look after them every day

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-and you must recognise characters between all of them.

-Yeah.

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The biggest character is Babs. She's got the saggy humps.

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They are so saggy it doesn't look like she has any humps whatsoever.

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It looks like she's flattened them!

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The humps are actually stored fats,

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which they use for energy

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and through a process of oxidation they actually produce water.

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Really? So that's how they can live in an arid area?

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They can live up to 17 days without water,

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but because she's got a ready supply of food and water,

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her body's adapted, got a little bit lazy,

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and there's no need to store so much fat, so they've sagged over.

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And are you confident that this youngster is happily blending in,

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mixing with the camels that already exist here?

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Yeah. He's mixing very well with the other camels.

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They've all got to learn their place.

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-Of course.

-But they'll encounter other animals with horns in here,

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the Ankole.

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The Oryx is our biggest worry, the five girls up there.

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They're very inquisitive. They come over and they circle the young one,

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and they will try and test it with their horns,

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and it's a little bit frightening at the moment.

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Until he gets bigger, we've got somebody watching him out here.

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Adie, thank you very much.

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And we'll keep you posted on Elvis's progress throughout the series.

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# ..Yeah, yeah, I'm all shook up! #

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WOLVES HOWL

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Ensuring the survival of Longleat's baby animals

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is constant challenge for the keepers.

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Up in Wolf Wood, breeding season is underway

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and there's been a dramatic development.

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The last time we were here, we heard that Freda, the alpha female, was thought to be pregnant.

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That was as expected,

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and everyone was hoping that this would be a bumper breeding season, just like last year.

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But recently, as signs of the pregnancy finally started to show,

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keeper Bob Trollope noticed that Freda was not the only female who was looking round in the belly.

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This year, we've got two females that are pregnant.

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One you can see just up by the road there.

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That's Freda.

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And that's the alpha female.

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But we also have a lesser-ranking female that is pregnant, as well.

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She's not here at the moment, cos she's close to her den site,

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and doesn't tend to go very far away from there.

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So it's an exciting time of year for us.

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It may be exciting, but it's also a worry.

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The wolf pack works best as a team,

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when everyone knows there place in the hierarchy.

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Normally, it's only the alpha pair that will breed,

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cos it's the strongest pair, so the offspring will be stronger.

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You do sometimes get another female that will come into season

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but if the alpha female is doing her job,

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then she will suppress that season.

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She does that by dominating and stressing the other females.

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It's the natural way that wolves control the birth rate in the wild,

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where the food supply is usually scare.

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Of course, here at Longleat, they don't keep any animals in a state of constant hunger.

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In the wild, if there was plenty of food, plenty of animals to hunt,

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then the female would allow another one to get pregnant.

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And now there are indications that both Freda and the other pregnant female

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are only days away from giving birth.

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We have noticed that they have been building little nest sites.

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So that is a positive sign.

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Plus the fact that on Freda you can see signs that she is sort of imminent.

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So the keepers are also doing what they can to get things ready.

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We're not allowing anyone up to the Wolf House.

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We're basically trying to keep that as quiet as possible.

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We haven't mucked the house out for a week,

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so that any wolf that's going in there is leaving their smell,

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so that it's a bit more alluring for the females to go in there

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and find somewhere quiet for themselves to give birth.

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This year the keepers have gone to extra lengths

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to encourage the wolves to have their cubs indoors.

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A few weeks ago they built a wooden den and installed it in the Wolf House.

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The hope was that the mums-to-be would find it cosy and safe, an ideal nursery.

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In the past, cubs have always been born out in the enclosure

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in one of the many dens the wolves dig under the roots of the trees.

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The problem with that is that there's always the risk

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that the dens could flood after heavy rain,

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and there's no way for the keepers to monitor the cubs in case of emergencies.

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The wooden den, on the other hand, has been fitted with a spy camera

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so that we and the keepers will have a chance to see the new cubs actually being born.

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For now, though, Bob's using the camera to check for encouraging activity inside the den.

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It's pretty hard to see who it is at the moment

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but it looks like a young female.

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She's actually in nest-building, she's actually making a nest,

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which is... You don't normally see them do this.

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We know they do build nests...

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like most dogs, to make themselves comfortable,

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but these are a little bit more in-depth.

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They're building the banks up a little bit,

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which is a good indication...

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that they will be giving birth pretty soon.

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But while this young mum seems to have settled on the wooden den

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as the best place to have her cubs, Freda, the alpha female,

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hasn't yet been seen anywhere near it.

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Perhaps she's intending to stick to the traditional hole in the ground.

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But, of course, we only need one litter to get some pretty special footage.

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This is really exciting cos we would never see this.

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In previous years, they've always burrowed under the trees

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and gave birth in total secrecy.

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But seeing as we've got these cameras set up, it's brilliant for us to be able to keep an eye on them.

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And also to see how many cubs are born,

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because we don't know until the first few weeks.

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Within the next day or two,

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I would put money on the fact that this one is going to give birth.

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She is acting how you would expect a pregnant wolf to act.

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But this is her first pregnancy and there's still a lot that can go wrong.

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We'll be back later to see what happens in Wolf Wood.

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Using the spy camera to help Bob and Brian monitor the birth of wolf cubs

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has given head of section Mark Tye an idea.

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I've worked with these guys for a long time now and

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we know very well what happens during the day, but that's it.

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Despite looking after western lowland gorillas Nico and Samba for over 20 years,

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and there are some aspects of their behaviour Mark has never seen, and he's keen to learn more.

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I'm up at Gorilla Island, and we're trying a little bit of an experiment, here.

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We are going to spy on Nico and Samba,

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the two western lowland gorillas

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who are tucked away in their cage, here.

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And we're going to try and see what they get up to at night.

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I'm just going to sneak gently in here, in case Nico gets cross.

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There's a camera right up here, which should give us a bird's-eye view of Samba in her cage at night.

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So this is where she sleeps. There will be another one in Nico's cage.

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And, if I come back out, you can see head of section, Mark Tye.

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How you doing, Mark? We've got cameras here and lights.

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But these are infrared lights. They won't be really bright.

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They won't disturb the gorillas but it means we can get shots both in daylight and at night

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and down here is all the recording equipment that will just

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buzz away through the night and can record for about nine or ten hours.

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So we should get... Well, have you any idea, really, what happens once you go home at the end of the day?

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No, none whatsoever. We know very well what happens during the day and sort of early evening,

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but once we go home, that's it.

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Presumably, are they entirely shut in at night?

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Will it just be two sleeping gorillas, do you think?

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No, because it's summer now, and the weather's a lot better, we leave the door open at night.

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They can go out on to the island all through the night if they want to.

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-OK.

-One of the things is, we don't know if they do.

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Shall we just pop outside? I know we've got all the stuff out here.

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We have put a camera out here in case they do come out which is just there, again.

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Those wires will be tucked away.

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So we're going to spread food out.

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-Would you normally feed them at night?

-Yes, we do put a lot of diet out for them at night.

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We scatter that around the island and they have the natural forage

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that we leave for them as well.

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So, we should spread all these out,

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-get them ready for the night, come back and see what evidence there is in the morning.

-Yes.

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-Really looking forward to it.

-Me too.

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Join us a bit later to find out what Nico and Samba get up to at night.

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There are new arrivals all over the park.

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In fact, youngsters are popping up everywhere.

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I'm up in Wallaby Wood with keeper Bev Evans

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and we've come to catch up with some of the newborn joeys here.

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How old are these little guys?

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A lot of these joeys sticking their heads out at the moment are about five, five and a half months old.

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How long would they stay in the pouch?

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Around nine months old. At nine months, they are popping in and out, building up their confidence.

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I notice the mums are chewing on bread and various other things.

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What would the joeys be eating?

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They will pick at a few things.

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A little bit of grass, a little bit of bread, but nothing very solid because at the moment,

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-they're still on their mum's milk.

-How do they get the milk in the pouch?

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The mum's got four teats inside the pouch.

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So there's a bit of a choice, really.

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-And is there always only one wallaby in the pouch?

-Yeah.

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Although there could be a young joey outside who's not fully weaned yet.

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You'll have one outside, one in the pouch which is very young, about five months old, and she'll still have

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an egg as well, which she's holding, which has already been fertilised.

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When the joey leaves the pouch that egg will go straight in and she'll be pregnant again.

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So it's a continual cycle, really.

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She's basically continually pregnant.

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-And do the little joeys ever come out?

-Sometimes.

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If it's really quiet, they'll put the joey out, give it a bit of a lick and a clean and put it back in again.

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-So doing the spring cleaning in the pouch.

-That's right, yes.

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They really are absolutely beautiful. Bev, thank you very much.

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

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With cubs on the way, there are dramatic developments in Wolf Wood.

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There was no sign whatsoever to warn us something was going wrong.

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Bev and I continue our tour of the park's nurseries

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and meet Longleat's most decorated new arrival - a baby named Gomez.

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And we'll see what Nico and Samba really get up to

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when they think no-one is watching.

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A typical bloke!

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It really is!

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That's something you never see during the day.

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But first...

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For more than four centuries, Lord Bath's family has been filling Longleat House with treasures.

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So now, the 114 official rooms are furnished with valuable antiques

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while the walls are hung with irreplaceable paintings.

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There are seven separate libraries that contain

0:20:330:20:36

44,000 books and manuscripts -

0:20:360:20:39

almost all of them rare, with some bordering on priceless.

0:20:390:20:43

In its long history, Longleat House has survived civil war, fire

0:20:430:20:47

and the attention of thieves.

0:20:470:20:51

But now, a hidden enemy threatens the very existence of the place.

0:20:510:20:56

Inside the wood, the fabric and the paper lurk armies of insects -

0:20:570:21:01

woodworm, clothes moths and now the latest invader -

0:21:010:21:05

Ptinus tectus, the Australian spider beetle.

0:21:050:21:09

The curator of Longleat's historic collections is Kate Harris.

0:21:090:21:13

It's up to her to stop them from turning all this history into dust.

0:21:130:21:18

We're fighting not just a battle at Longleat, but a war, with several

0:21:180:21:22

campaigns against small creatures that destroy important things.

0:21:220:21:27

Mostly a beetle called Ptinus tectus, the Australian spider beetle.

0:21:270:21:32

And also, of course, woodworm - which affects all historic furniture.

0:21:320:21:36

We've used the fumigator methyl bromide in the past,

0:21:360:21:39

years ago, for our whole library.

0:21:390:21:41

And now we're using C02 fumigation

0:21:410:21:44

on objects that are in the southwest corner of the house,

0:21:440:21:50

where we have seen a lot of evidence of a lot of Ptinus tectus about for some time.

0:21:500:21:55

So it's really another battle, another skirmish with them.

0:21:550:21:59

We don't think we will win but we are getting closer all the time.

0:21:590:22:02

Using CO2 - that's carbon dioxide - to kill insect infestations

0:22:080:22:13

is quite a new technique and it's never been done at Longleat before.

0:22:130:22:17

First, the objects that need to be done are collected into neat piles

0:22:170:22:22

so that they can be sealed into giant airtight bubbles made from a special packaging material.

0:22:220:22:28

Ken Windess, who's now the house conservator, has prepared several of these infested piles.

0:22:280:22:35

The next step now is to actually seal the bubbles.

0:22:350:22:38

What they do now is create a bubble with this material,

0:22:380:22:43

so they need to seal the base over, so that it is literally like a tent.

0:22:430:22:49

What happens then is that they literally suck out all the oxygen,

0:22:500:22:54

or as much air as they can, out of the bubble, then replace it with C02.

0:22:540:23:00

And then of course, anything that normally breathes oxygen will die.

0:23:020:23:06

With everything in place, it's time to hand over to the professionals.

0:23:090:23:14

They're going to start with the piles of infested books and antiques

0:23:210:23:25

that have been assembled in the old Victorian kitchen.

0:23:250:23:29

As technical director of the pest control company, Colin Smith is only

0:23:290:23:33

too aware of the first rule of combat - know your enemy.

0:23:330:23:38

This is a typical example.

0:23:380:23:40

This is wool.

0:23:400:23:41

And what's very interesting about this is that

0:23:410:23:45

this is the sort of damage the insects will cause

0:23:450:23:48

and this is the type of material they love to go for

0:23:480:23:51

because it's a protein.

0:23:510:23:53

They are behind the scenes, in the dark, in storerooms.

0:23:530:23:58

People don't know they're there at all,

0:23:580:24:00

slowly chomping away and when you realise there's a problem,

0:24:000:24:04

then that's what you get - you get holes in everything.

0:24:040:24:07

But now, the fumigators swing into action

0:24:130:24:16

deploying their secret weapon - specially designed tents.

0:24:160:24:21

We now have to form a gas-tight structure

0:24:210:24:24

and that is very difficult to do indeed.

0:24:240:24:26

This material is very similar to the material you would have at home

0:24:260:24:31

that you would keep your coffee in.

0:24:310:24:33

When you go to the supermarket, you buy your aluminium pack of coffee,

0:24:330:24:37

it's almost the same material,

0:24:370:24:39

except, here, of course, we're making a huge structure.

0:24:390:24:42

The infested piles have been placed on top of sheets of the packaging material,

0:24:480:24:52

so the tents can be made gas-tight round the bottom edge, using a heat-sealing machine.

0:24:520:24:58

And this is where the carbon dioxide is introduced.

0:24:580:25:01

And it takes about ten minutes to fill the bubble up, like this.

0:25:010:25:07

Carbon dioxide is the gas we all breathe out.

0:25:070:25:10

It's harmless in small amounts, but inside the bubble tents, it will be at a concentration of 60 per cent.

0:25:100:25:17

And that's lethal, not only to insects, but also to people.

0:25:170:25:22

The only risk, really, is if there was to be an accidental puncturing of

0:25:220:25:26

the bubble, or if somebody was silly enough to put their head inside it.

0:25:260:25:30

That would be very serious.

0:25:300:25:32

That person would be affected very quickly indeed.

0:25:320:25:35

So, safety procedures must be observed when the bubble tents are being filled with C02.

0:25:370:25:43

The room is cleared and the fumigators must wear breathing apparatus.

0:25:430:25:47

We'll be back later when it's time for the bubbles to be opened.

0:25:470:25:51

Across the Safari Park, it's all hands on deck

0:26:000:26:04

to ensure every baby animal gets the chance of a good start in life.

0:26:040:26:08

Somehow, though, raising a family seems a lot more straightforward

0:26:080:26:13

for Longleat's pair of South American tapirs, Jethro and Jess.

0:26:130:26:18

They have just one baby at a time,

0:26:180:26:20

almost every year, regular as clockwork.

0:26:200:26:23

Little Gomez is number five.

0:26:240:26:27

I'm out in the tapir paddock with senior warden Bev Evans

0:26:300:26:34

and the tapirs, including a very large looking Gomez.

0:26:340:26:39

-He was so much smaller when I last saw him!

-Yes, he's shot up.

-Can we go and see him?

0:26:390:26:43

We've got some food for mum and dad

0:26:430:26:45

so that they don't mind us coming and saying hello to everyone.

0:26:450:26:49

He's still got his stripes.

0:26:490:26:51

Yes, quite strikingly, he's still got his spots and stripes.

0:26:510:26:54

And how is he with people? He is letting us come quite close to him.

0:26:540:26:58

Yes. He's a little bit shy. He's one of our more nervous babies.

0:26:580:27:01

But he's fine. He's starting to eat a few more solids so maybe he'll come over for some bananas.

0:27:010:27:06

-How long will these stripes stay on him for?

-Round about six months.

0:27:060:27:10

-And then he'll look exactly like Mum and Dad?

-Exactly like Dad.

0:27:100:27:15

He'll get really big really quickly.

0:27:150:27:17

And he's had only cold weather until now but we got the sun out. Is he enjoying it?

0:27:170:27:23

Yes, definitely. Getting very active, in fact.

0:27:230:27:26

And of course, Bev, he's got a little pond over there.

0:27:260:27:29

Mum and Dad go in there when it's nice and hot. Has he been in yet?

0:27:290:27:33

No, he hasn't yet but I'm thinking he's just too small.

0:27:330:27:36

Jess will encourage him in when she's happy with his size

0:27:360:27:39

but at the moment, she's not taking him in the pond at all.

0:27:390:27:42

And in terms of eating,

0:27:420:27:43

I can't tell if he's actually eating some of the fruit we put down.

0:27:430:27:46

He has. He will go for the banana. Banana is obviously a lot softer.

0:27:460:27:50

He's going for the softer fruit rather than what he enjoys more?

0:27:500:27:54

Banana is a favourite of tapirs anyway,

0:27:540:27:56

but as it's soft, yes, he's definitely aiming for that.

0:27:560:27:59

-How have Mum and Dad been here?

-Absolutely brilliant.

0:27:590:28:02

We have already gone through mating already, so they're getting straight back into the swing of things.

0:28:020:28:07

Everybody in the family is getting on well.

0:28:070:28:10

I'm amazed they've gone through a mating this soon,

0:28:100:28:13

when he's still so young and they're still looking after him.

0:28:130:28:16

Yes, she comes in season quite quickly.

0:28:160:28:19

-And that's typical behaviour out in the wild?

-Definitely.

0:28:190:28:22

They're always pregnant out in the wild.

0:28:220:28:24

They're just continual.

0:28:240:28:26

-Does that mean, then, that more baby tapirs could potentially be born here?

-Yes - more than likely.

0:28:260:28:33

13 months' time, hopefully, we'll have another baby.

0:28:330:28:36

-13 months, is that the gestation period for a tapir?

-Yes.

0:28:360:28:40

In the wild, the babies do tend to hide for the first few months,

0:28:400:28:44

to kind of protect them from predators.

0:28:440:28:46

Is he showing any of that sort of behaviour?

0:28:460:28:49

Yes, Mum will go and lay him up somewhere,

0:28:490:28:51

and carry on doing her normal thing.

0:28:510:28:53

And he will be absolutely fine for a couple of hours.

0:28:530:28:56

Really? And in here, does that mean behind a tree? In a bush?

0:28:560:28:59

Unfortunately, it means right on the other side, and getting lost.

0:28:590:29:03

So we've had a few problems with him getting on at the wrong side of fences and things like that,

0:29:030:29:08

but he's generally getting the idea of it now,

0:29:080:29:10

but yes, he's quite small, so we lose him quite a few times.

0:29:100:29:13

I'm sure. Well, Bev, thank you very much for letting me come in again.

0:29:130:29:18

I'm so glad that he's doing as well as he is.

0:29:180:29:20

While parenting for the tapirs is going smoothly,

0:29:200:29:23

making babies is a much more complicated matter for wolves.

0:29:230:29:29

The keepers have been on high alert, waiting for the birth of two separate litters of pups.

0:29:290:29:36

For the second year running, Freda the alpha female was pregnant

0:29:360:29:39

but, in addition, a younger female was also expecting.

0:29:390:29:43

And it looked like she would have her cubs in the new wooden den

0:29:430:29:47

in the wolf house which has been fitted with a spy camera.

0:29:470:29:51

But when Bob Trollope and Brian Kent came in this morning,

0:29:540:29:58

they found that the young mum to be was missing.

0:29:580:30:01

'Had a look round the section. Couldn't find her for ages.'

0:30:010:30:04

I thought, perhaps she's gone inside and had her pups.

0:30:040:30:09

Kept on looking

0:30:090:30:11

for a while, to try and find her.

0:30:110:30:14

Eventually, I did. She was outside,

0:30:140:30:16

laying down, dead, unfortunately.

0:30:160:30:19

There was no sign whatsoever to warn us something was going wrong.

0:30:220:30:26

Just one of those things that unfortunately does happen.

0:30:260:30:31

A post-mortem revealed that the young female had suffered

0:30:310:30:34

pre-natal complications and and deadly infection had set in.

0:30:340:30:38

Death would have come quickly and the cubs had no chance.

0:30:380:30:42

It was unexpected. You don't expect that, you know - just turn up and she was dead, unfortunately.

0:30:420:30:49

It's not very nice but there were no other signs that we know of, wrong with her.

0:30:490:30:53

I saw her a few days ago. She seemed fine.

0:30:530:30:57

She's even come in here, hoping she was going to use it to pup down.

0:30:570:31:01

But now, Bob and Brian still need to get things ready for Freda, the alpha female.

0:31:010:31:06

Perhaps with the other one gone, she will come and have her cubs in the wooden den.

0:31:060:31:11

We've cleaned out the box -

0:31:110:31:13

something that we weren't going to do initially,

0:31:130:31:16

but we thought about it and we thought, if there are any smells

0:31:160:31:21

in there, a bit too strong, just to encourage Freda in there, we've put a clean bed in,

0:31:210:31:28

and hopefully,

0:31:280:31:30

fresh smells, she might come in and hopefully give birth in the den.

0:31:300:31:35

Prior to today,

0:31:370:31:38

it was the young female that was using the box more than Freda.

0:31:380:31:42

Hopefully, we just want to encourage her in a bit more.

0:31:420:31:45

But the next day, there's another surprise.

0:31:500:31:53

Freda was spotted acting strangely.

0:31:530:31:55

We've come in to check all the cameras were still working and we noticed that she had laid up

0:31:570:32:04

in a bed of nettles.

0:32:040:32:06

And on walking back to the vehicles,

0:32:060:32:09

we could hear some whimpering noises.

0:32:090:32:14

And obviously, she had started to give birth.

0:32:140:32:17

And when we heard, she picked one up and wandered off with it.

0:32:190:32:22

So we knew she had given birth.

0:32:220:32:24

And it was an amazing sight, to see something that had just been born.

0:32:240:32:29

With her cubs out in the open, Freda is likely to be very

0:32:290:32:33

protective, so it's vital for everyone to stay well away.

0:32:330:32:37

Bob's been watching what we're getting with our camera.

0:32:370:32:40

They're a really dark colour, which I suppose, if she was giving

0:32:400:32:45

birth and and then under a tree,

0:32:450:32:46

or something, they would blend in with the surroundings.

0:32:460:32:50

From what we can see of them, they do look very, very healthy.

0:32:500:32:53

They are all doing what we would expect them to to do.

0:32:530:32:56

They are all tucked in near mum,

0:32:560:32:58

and there's a possibility that we have even seen them suckling.

0:32:580:33:02

But it's hard to tell.

0:33:020:33:05

The other members of the pack have rallied round to help Freda

0:33:050:33:08

look after the new cubs.

0:33:080:33:11

They're amazing.

0:33:110:33:13

If she was to get up and go for a drink,

0:33:130:33:15

there would always be someone protecting those cubs.

0:33:150:33:18

There would always be a babysitter.

0:33:180:33:20

It's a big team effort just to raise these cubs.

0:33:200:33:24

They are young - they're not even 24 hours old yet.

0:33:260:33:30

So we've got a long way to go, honestly.

0:33:300:33:33

Needless to say, we'll be there to follow

0:33:340:33:37

all the action later in the series.

0:33:370:33:39

For the last 20 years, Nico and Samba,

0:33:520:33:55

the residents of Gorilla Island,

0:33:550:33:57

have led their life in the public eye.

0:33:570:33:59

But come nightfall, they have the place to themselves.

0:33:590:34:03

And in all that time, no-one has ever seen what they get up to...

0:34:030:34:07

until now.

0:34:070:34:09

I'm in the gorilla house with head of section, Mark Tye.

0:34:090:34:12

And yesterday, we rigged up cameras all over the house and outside,

0:34:120:34:16

to really spy on the gorillas at night,

0:34:160:34:18

because you've never really seen what they get up to at night, have you?

0:34:180:34:21

No. We know very well their day-to-day routine,

0:34:210:34:24

but once we go home in the evening we're a bit in the dark.

0:34:240:34:27

We don't know what they get up to.

0:34:270:34:29

OK. Well, the doors are left open at the moment

0:34:290:34:32

because it's nice and warm, so they can go in and out, can't they?

0:34:320:34:36

Yes, they have a free run when the weather's nice, and they can make use of the island at night.

0:34:360:34:41

And you put some food out.

0:34:410:34:43

Food is out and scattered round the island as we'd normally do.

0:34:430:34:46

Shall we press play and see what happens?

0:34:460:34:49

So, we're looking first of all at one of the cameras

0:34:490:34:53

mounted outside the house.

0:34:530:34:55

Right on cue - there he is. Look at that.

0:34:550:34:58

He thinks of nothing but food, that boy,

0:34:590:35:02

so he's always the first to find it.

0:35:020:35:04

No sign of Samba yet. Shall we check indoors, and see if she's there?

0:35:040:35:08

OK, I'll just change over.

0:35:080:35:10

She seems to be in Nico's pen.

0:35:110:35:13

Yeah. I'm not sure what she'll be doing in there.

0:35:130:35:17

But she won't stay there for long once he walks in the door.

0:35:170:35:21

It does seem odd - they have been together for so long, that they

0:35:210:35:25

don't curl up together at night but it doesn't seem to be the case.

0:35:250:35:29

No. I know.

0:35:290:35:31

Nico wants to be friends. I've seen that before when we've had them together in the pens during the day.

0:35:310:35:37

He wants to touch Samba and he wants to get hold of her, sometimes.

0:35:370:35:41

He's quite gentle and nice, but she doesn't want to know. She's having none of it.

0:35:410:35:46

-Just doesn't fancy him at all.

-No.

0:35:460:35:49

Now being kicked out by Nico, into her own pen.

0:35:500:35:54

He seems to have spotted the camera, looking straight up at it.

0:35:570:36:01

He's not silly.

0:36:010:36:02

He's heard us working up in the roof and drilling holes in the roof.

0:36:020:36:07

And what's he going to...Go?

0:36:070:36:08

He's climbing! Look at that!

0:36:080:36:10

It's right hidden in the roof.

0:36:100:36:12

It's really only just a black hole, as far as he's concerned.

0:36:120:36:15

-Is he? Is he going to have a look?

-Wow! That is amazing!

0:36:150:36:18

Don't do the camera, Nico!

0:36:180:36:22

Sniffed the camera, see if it was worth eating.

0:36:220:36:25

He did, didn't he?

0:36:250:36:27

He wasn't particularly bothered by it - it was just potential food!

0:36:270:36:31

Potential food.

0:36:310:36:32

Didn't smell very good.

0:36:320:36:34

This is stuff from a little bit later on, it's gone to infrared.

0:36:380:36:41

It's black and white so it must be completely dark outside.

0:36:410:36:46

-Samba...

-Still messing with her bed.

0:36:460:36:48

Still messing with her bed, isn't she?

0:36:480:36:51

Just can't decide where she wants to be.

0:36:510:36:53

-No. She does suffer from a bit of arthritis.

-Does she?

0:36:530:36:57

Yeah. Lying in one position may be uncomfortable for her

0:36:570:37:01

for any length of time, which is why she moves around a lot.

0:37:010:37:04

Where is she off to? Looks like she's going outside.

0:37:050:37:08

She's going out! That's surprising.

0:37:080:37:11

I didn't think that once it got dark, they would actually go out.

0:37:110:37:15

-Here she comes.

-Yeah.

0:37:150:37:17

She's coming out.

0:37:170:37:20

Don't know why she's done that unless she's heard some noise out there.

0:37:200:37:26

-Again, it's late. She'd eaten well. It's not really hunger that would have driven her out, is it?

-No.

0:37:260:37:32

Now, if she heard a noise, would be likely that Nico would come out, too?

0:37:320:37:37

-He may do.

-Let's go and check on Nico.

0:37:370:37:40

Check on him, I suppose.

0:37:400:37:42

SHE LAUGHS

0:37:420:37:45

-Look at him!

-He's completely zonked.

0:37:500:37:53

THEY BOTH LAUGH Typical bloke!

0:37:530:37:56

-Ha-ha! It really is, isn't it?

-Yeah.

0:37:560:37:59

-And that's something you never see during the day.

-No.

0:37:590:38:02

He's always very dignified and sort of sat up. So to see him and just sprawled like that...

0:38:020:38:09

Feels a bit naughty, it feels like we really have spied on him.

0:38:090:38:12

Poor boy.

0:38:120:38:15

-Thank you very much.

-Thank you.

0:38:150:38:17

Up in Longleat House,

0:38:250:38:26

it's been four weeks since the battle began against the invading

0:38:260:38:30

army of insects that are threatening to devour some of the most precious art, antiques and books.

0:38:300:38:37

The worst-affected items were sealed in purpose-built gas-proof bubble tents

0:38:370:38:42

which had been filled with lethal concentrations of carbon dioxide.

0:38:420:38:47

For safety's sake, the rooms where the tents were set up have been sealed for 28 days.

0:38:470:38:53

But now, the fumigators have returned because it's time to open the bubbles.

0:38:530:38:58

C02 is not normally toxic,

0:38:580:39:01

but it's being used in a concentration high enough to kill.

0:39:010:39:05

So the technicians must wear breathing apparatus.

0:39:050:39:08

There's no guarantee that the process has done the job.

0:39:080:39:11

And, as we're not allowed in while they're working,

0:39:110:39:14

we just have to wait until the fumigators have finished.

0:39:140:39:17

When everything was cleaned up, service manager Mike Davis reported back.

0:39:180:39:22

It's brilliant. Everything has gone absolutely fine.

0:39:220:39:26

All the insects are dead and we've taken the covers off.

0:39:260:39:29

They are ready now for the house people to come in and empty the bubbles for us.

0:39:290:39:34

It's great when we finish and we can get onto the next one.

0:39:340:39:37

This was the first time the new C02 technique was used here.

0:39:390:39:43

So, it's a relief that it has worked.

0:39:430:39:46

But this isn't the end of the problem, as the curator of Longleat

0:39:460:39:50

historic collections Kate Harris knows only too well.

0:39:500:39:55

'Of course, it's only one step in an on-going process.

0:39:550:39:59

'It's not an instant, total cure for all time.'

0:39:590:40:03

We have to make sure everything goes back into a clean environment that has also been treated

0:40:030:40:08

with insecticides, and that we keep up the housekeeping for the future.

0:40:080:40:12

So, they've won this battle with the bugs but the war continues.

0:40:120:40:17

Next winter, it will be the old library's turn to make a start on.

0:40:170:40:21

Cleaning and vacuuming and the rest of it - our usual programme of work.

0:40:210:40:26

If there's anything going on, that's when we will spot it.

0:40:260:40:29

We've come down to Pets' Corner with Alexa Fairburn and two of...

0:40:480:40:53

I just don't know how anyone cannot like rats, Alexa.

0:40:530:40:56

They are so adorable.

0:40:560:40:58

These are new ones, and very small.

0:40:580:41:01

They're only eight weeks - it's a really good age to get them from,

0:41:010:41:04

so you can really start handling them and get, really, to bond with them.

0:41:040:41:08

-They make brilliant pets.

-Do they?

-Yep, really friendly, really intelligent.

0:41:080:41:12

You can train them to do things as well.

0:41:120:41:15

-What can you train them to do?

-They can pick things up, and bring them back to you, small objects...

0:41:150:41:20

Obviously not the newspaper - that would be a bit of a struggle!

0:41:200:41:23

And what about feeding and that sort of thing?

0:41:230:41:27

Do they need a complicated diet?

0:41:270:41:29

No. You can buy commercial pet food, same as hamsters, rabbits, everything like that.

0:41:290:41:34

But they are pretty much garbage bins - they will eat anything.

0:41:340:41:37

Is there anything you should avoid them eating?

0:41:370:41:40

Green foods, really. A lot of green foods can give them an upset stomach.

0:41:400:41:44

-Lettuce leaves and things like that?

-Yeah. Too much moisture.

0:41:440:41:47

-You'd think those sort of things would be good for them.

-Yeah.

0:41:470:41:50

-You can tell if a rat's healthy, because their teeth should be orange.

-Come on, show us your pegs.

0:41:500:41:55

-Let's have a look.

-Very wriggly.

0:41:550:41:57

-No way!

-I'll have a...

-You see if you can... No.

0:41:570:42:01

"I'm not going to Ben, I'm not going to Ben, no way!"

0:42:010:42:05

I'll definitely leave that one with you, Kate. Let me have a quick look.

0:42:050:42:09

-Has it got a name, yet?

-Yes, this one's Squeak.

0:42:090:42:12

The one up Kate's sleeve is Bubble.

0:42:120:42:14

Ah! Very good! Are they happy alone, or do they like company?

0:42:140:42:18

They like company.

0:42:180:42:20

So it's best to get two perhaps, if you were going to have one.

0:42:200:42:24

-Yeah.

-You are quite sweet, actually.

0:42:240:42:26

Look! You see, Ben? You don't need a dog at all.

0:42:260:42:29

You can just stick with rats. They're much more fun.

0:42:290:42:32

Call me old-fashioned, Kate.

0:42:320:42:34

Alexa, thank you very much. Sadly, we're out of time, but here's what's coming up on the next Animal Park.

0:42:340:42:41

Up at Wolf Wood, these fearsome hunters

0:42:410:42:44

try their paw at a spot of fishing.

0:42:440:42:47

The park has ordered two new safari boats for Half Mile Lake,

0:42:480:42:53

but unless it rains soon, they'll be left high and dry.

0:42:530:42:56

And we'll be there to greet the first baby Eland antelope

0:42:560:43:01

to be born in the park for over eight years.

0:43:010:43:03

So, don't miss the next Animal Park.

0:43:030:43:07

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

0:43:200:43:22

E-mail [email protected]

0:43:220:43:27

Ben Fogle and Kate Humble explore life behind the scenes at Longleat Estate and Safari Park. Mayhem has broken out in the aviary - the spoonbills are at war and the casualties are mounting. Longleat House's precious artefacts and treasures face a vicious enemy - bugs. And spy cameras spend the night with gorillas Nico and Samba.