Ben Fogle and Kate Humble explore life behind the scenes at Longleat Estate and Safari Park. A new sea lion baby is born by the lake, and mum doesn't want anyone too close.
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Hello and welcome to Animal Park.
-I'm Ben Fogle.
-And I'm Kate Humble.
We're up at the East Africa Reserve with the pygmy goats.
Earlier this year, some of the females had a liaison
with a rather frisky billy goat, and this is just one of the results.
There were three kids born this year,
the first time there have been any babies at Longleat for seven years, so it's a great success story.
We've got lots of other stories for you coming from the safari park and the state, including:
The eland antelope are having a baby boom, so now they've organised a nursery school.
'We'll be meeting the world's largest rats, who can grow up to a whopping two and a half feet long.'
-It looks like a cross between a rat and a kangaroo!
-And, up at the lion house,
everyone's in for a big surprise.
But first, there are new arrivals expected any day now down in Half Mile Lake.
Mark Tye, the keeper in charge of the sea lions, is pretty sure that
two of them, Jo Jo and Celia, are about to have pups.
They're normally very accurate.
They normally give birth within a day or two of their previous birth dates that they've had before.
Cos they're pregnant for 350 days of the year, and they have basically two weeks where they're not.
Literally as soon as they've given birth, within the next two weeks,
they will be back in the water, mated by Buster, and then they'll be pregnant again.
Just before going into labour, sea lions usually come onto dry land to lie up,
but so far there's been no sign of that from either Jo Jo or Celia.
They're out following the boats.
They'll still do that right up until normally a day, two days before.
Then Mother Nature takes over and they physically can't be bothered
to do anything and they have to lie up and get ready to give birth.
Up until that point, they will still follow the boats.
Jo Jo's baby last year was stillborn and Mark's concerned that might
affect how she reacts to the new one.
The only worry is that they won't take to it and they won't look after it. That's where we'd have to step in
and obviously try and hand-rear it, which is not something we'd like to do. It's very difficult.
We have tried it with one other in the past and it didn't survive.
In fact, the breeding record of the sea lions here is very good.
Ozzy, for example, has had over a dozen pups, though now, at 27 years old, her breeding days are over.
Both of this year's mums-to-be are her daughters.
This is Celia.
She's due next Tuesday.
This one here is Jo Jo, the other female, who should be due before.
One of the things is at the moment they're not that bothered for food,
which is a sign that they're slowing down a little bit.
And, two days later, it happened.
Mark found them on his morning rounds, not on Sea lion Beach
but on the jetty across from Gorilla Island.
This morning, Jo Jo there gave birth to her third baby,
a little boy, I believe.
So far, all is well.
She's really bonded with it.
She's left it a few times, just for a quick wash up, but she's come back straight away.
The pup has been suckling. They've generally been bonding as mother and son should.
They seem to quite like lying on wood.
They seem to find it comfortable and warm.
She's obviously quite happy,
happy for it to be here. It's not the first time we've had one give birth on this bridge.
It is actually quite a safe place.
But there are more developments yet to come with the sea lions,
and the tranquillity of Jo Jo's nursery isn't going to last.
We'll be back later to see what happens.
All over Longleat, the breeding season is under way,
and new baby animals are emerging into the sunshine, beginning to find their feet in their new environment.
I'm out in the park with deputy head of section Kevin Knibbs.
-We've come to see the eland herd, which has grown enormously this year.
It's gone from eight up to about 13.
So five babies - we can see them all here - a really great success story.
You haven't had any for long time.
It's been about eight years since the last babies. Five in one year is absolutely fantastic for us.
I gather you weren't quite expecting them so soon.
We were a little bit surprised.
We thought our male was maybe a year too young to start breeding, but he showed us wrong.
He absolutely did, proved you completely wrong.
What's interesting about them
is that they all seem to stay very much together as a little group.
I would have thought that they would be more sticking with their individual mothers.
With this species, the mums hide them behind the trees, or in a bit of nettles, behind a bush or something,
just for a few days, visit them during the day to feed them,
then, after three or four days, they all start coming out and grouping up.
We're calling it a school of eland.
So when they hide them away for those first few days,
is that simply just for protection when they're at their most vulnerable?
Pretty much. They're pretty small, as you can see, when they're born.
It's more for protection from predators.
The mums feed them once or twice a day.
Now they've got a bit bigger, they tend to stick together.
You actually witnessed one of the births, didn't you?
I was very lucky, yeah.
The film crew gave me a camera and I was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time.
We kind of knew she was ready to give birth first
thing in the morning, but being her first birth, we were quite worried, so we wanted to keep an eye on her.
She already had feet poking out, so we grabbed the camera quick and got what I could.
It was really amazing to see it.
She was very calm, very relaxed.
For a first-time mum, she did really well, turned around, cleaned it up straight away.
Then she hid it behind a tree and left it for the day,
which was amazing for a first-time mum to know exactly what to do.
That natural instinct is absolutely engrained in all of them.
-Well, they are gorgeous.
It's just lovely to see young ones out in the grass here.
-It couldn't be a prettier setting. Congratulations, Kevin, and thank you very much indeed.
Kabir the Barbary lion has had a good year.
Both of his lionesses have each had a daughter.
Just seven months ago, Yendi had Malaika, and then a few weeks later Luna had Jaseira.
Now the youngsters are well settled and head of section Brian Kent and keeper Bob Trollope thought the next
few months would be a quiet time for the pride, but recently they had a bit of a surprise.
Me and Brian came on check about a week ago,
and came in to do a head count in the house, and there was some extra ones to count.
Yendi had given birth to four cubs and no-one suspected she was even pregnant.
After all, she was still nursing her first cub, Malaika, until quite recently.
seven months old.
So it's not long.
That's the unusual part of it,
really, the fact that she's given birth so soon after having the last ones.
She's following in the footsteps of her mum.
Amy used to do the same.
You find one like that very rarely,
but they do come along.
When the cubs are this small, it's best to disturb them and their mother as little as possible.
But their pen must be cleaned out, so Yendi has been separated from her babies.
Bob and Brian are working quickly to minimise her distress.
The cubs aren't worried because they're still too little to know what's going on.
They've only just opened their eyes.
They're quite big, and they really look well, really look fit and healthy.
And mum is doing a good job.
She's very protective.
Just chilled out, basically.
That's what they do best, innit?
-And sleep again.
Well looked after by Yendi.
I think it's really great.
While mum and cubs are indoors, the rest of the pride are out in
the enclosure, including Yendi's young daughter, Malaika.
Malaika is out with Jazzy and Luna and Kabir.
Unfortunately, if we were to put
Malaika in with them, she'd most probably maybe be over-playful
with the cubs, so we've separated them for the cubs' sake, just to get them a bit of a head start in life.
She'll be kept in now for another... ten weeks,
which sounds horrible, but it's to give the cubs a good chance,
because when they go out and meet big sister and big cousin,
they're gonna get quite a bit of stick, because...
baby lions play rough.
The cubs each weighed less than one kilogram when they were born.
They're still almost blind and can barely walk, so Yendi knows it's up to her to keep them safe.
She's just basically
putting herself in between me and the cubs.
She's just fully alert on what's going on.
She's just gonna keep an eye on me.
If I was to make any sudden movements or whatever, she'd obviously go for me.
If you stay here quite calm, she sort of chills out.
She knows I'm not gonna hurt those cubs.
The main problem is, if she sort of stands on one as she's sort of charging at us.
But we do have to come in here.
We do have to still do our jobs and come in and check on her and give her fresh water, fresh food.
She will do her job, which is protecting the cubs, and charge at us.
Up until now,
touch wood, she's been fine.
They tend to stay in the corner out of the way, which is brilliant.
Maybe it's when they're a little bit bigger, a bit more adventurous,
and coming up to the front of the cage, that she'll find it harder to control them, I suppose.
But it's gonna be a testing time for all.
But so far, so good.
It looks like Kabir the Barbary lion is destined to have a very big family.
-I'm up in the tapir paddock with senior warden Bev Evans, and here, this is...
-This is Jessie.
That must be Gomez behind.
He's still got all his stripes.
-How is he getting on?
He's doing really well. He's getting bigger and bigger every week.
I can't get over how big he is. We've bought some browse for them.
Is this a speciality for the tapirs?
Yeah. We like to bring it down every other day, as we do for the giraffes as well.
It's good for their teeth, really, if they chew at the bark.
But this is lime today, which is not necessarily a tapir's favourite.
Is it not? We're not sure if Jessie's going to want it.
I'm holding some up.
-What's their favourite?
-They like beech and sycamore.
That's presumably through trial and error that you've worked out what they like and don't like.
-We can see if Gomez wants to have something.
-Gomez? Is he very shy?
He's obviously sticking with mum.
-If the camera just goes around, there is dad.
What does Jethro think of the lime?
Hopefully he should be a bit keener then Jess, but we'll see.
Jess, I think, did a little circle around us to see if there was anything else on offer.
Now she's decided that maybe she'll have a little go at it.
So the bark is good for all the teeth, is it?
Yes, keeps them clean.
It's very easy for tapirs to get dirty teeth.
So anything they can chew on will keep them clean.
How is Gomez with eating?
-Is he on solids?
-He is still suckling a lot but, you know,
when we do our food scatter feed, he'll pick up bits and bobs, softer banana.
He'll mouth at some leaves and play with some of the bark.
He's not eating a lot.
How long will he have these fantastic stripes?
Until six months old and then they'll start to fade.
He'll be twice as big by then.
When you say start to fade, it's not as if his gonna moult his coat.
Is it just that they fade over time?
It's a gradual process. If you work with them every day you don't notice it as much.
Just over there, we can see the water. Has Gomez been in yet? We've had some pretty hot days.
He has been in but it's normally when there's quite heavy rain.
They get over-excited and jump on him.
But yes, he's doing really well. He's a strong swimmer.
Is he developing a specific character and personality? Are there any traits you've noticed?
He's actually quite nervous. He's quite shy.
He doesn't really want to come near us. He's keeping to himself.
Our older tapirs, Ernie and Dolores,
our other youngsters we have had, they used to love the camera.
He's a little bit shy. Do you think you might improve with time?
-Yeah, a bit more.
-A bit like mum and dad, the two old show tapirs.
They're very used to it, so they take it in their stride.
I don't know this was successful.
Next time, birch, we'll have to bring?
-Beech and sycamore.
-Next time, I promise.
Thank you very much.
Over in Pets Corner live some of the park's most popular residents.
But it's also home to some species that are not so immediately lovable.
The latest arrivals are from a family of rodents with an unfairly bad reputation.
I'm up at Pets Corner with head of section, Darren Beasley and the mystery cage.
-It's exciting, isn't it.
-It's like a lucky dip in here.
I can see movement under the newspaper. But what is it?
It's my brand new babies, Kate. Shall I move the newspaper?
You're dying to see it, aren't you?
-How about that?
It looks like a cross between a rat and a kangaroo. It's enormous!
They're giant African pouch rats or Gambian pouch rats
from Africa. They're just about one of the biggest rats you're ever going to come across.
They're still youngsters. Would you believe they're only about 17 weeks old now.
Isn't it just incredible?
How big will they grow when they're adults?
Easily over two foot - 45cm, perhaps a bit more than that.
That's like the size of a cat.
Yes, a big tom cat.
All feet, ears and teeth.
These two are brand new to us. They're very timid animals.
They're actually fairly nocturnal animals, as well.
This one looks a little bit sleepy and the other one's got his back resolutely to us.
I'm just hand-feeding them.
I'm putting on my gloves because I'm going in. They actually still bite and nip a bit.
They're a bit nervous. Shall I get one out?
-Oh yes, can we?
-Put your gloves on.
Let's have a look. Come on mate. Hey, hey, hey, come on, honey.
Just going for your friend here.
Let's go for the sleepiest one of the two. Look at the size of that.
You've got to support him the best way he feels comfortable.
I've got him there now.
If you think that in Africa, these guys are eaten.
I'm afraid so, they can be farmed. But there's good news.
Because they have a fantastic sense of smell...this is Phil,
by the way. This is Phil.
Phil wants to go back with his mates.
Because they have a fantastic sense of smell, they're being trained to find land mines. Absolutely amazing.
They put little halties on them and teach them to recognise explosives and away they go.
They go and find these grotty land mines that rotten human beings have left lying around.
You said they were called pouch rats.
They haven't got a marsupial-style pouch, have they?
No, the pouch is under their jaw.
It's like an extended cheek pouch.
-So it would work a bit like a hamster?
-Just like a hamster.
They can put huge amounts of food...
Shall we let him back in because I don't want...
I know you're a bit new and this is a bit scary.
You wait, you'll be a TV star before you know it.
They will take lots of different types of cereals, fruit and nuts and things they find.
Also a bit of meat product. They'll catch and eat bugs and things.
And a lot of it's stored in these massive great pouches.
They just literally walk along...there you are, he's taking a grape. Can you see that?
If he doesn't eat it straight away, in it will go in his pouch for later on. I love it.
That's very similar to your normal rats that I'm used to.
Very much holding with the hands.
They're very dextrous, aren't they?
Quite amazing creatures. The fact that animals from Africa are putting
right the mess that us humans have done with the land mines and things.
If they can be taught. All rats are intelligent and these have got size on their side, as well.
We get them on the end of a halty and that's their next step.
If we can get them a bit friendlier and tamer, which is happening.
-We will get them out showing our visitors wonderful animals these really are.
-They really are.
They are fantastic. Thank you very much for introducing us.
Back by Half Mile Lake, Mark Tye is still waiting for Celia to give birth.
But her sister, Jo Jo, having decided that the
jetty would make a good nursery, is now well settled with her new baby.
He is five days old now,
doing really well, as you can see.
Well bonded with mum.
No problems at all.
She's taken to it really well.
The baby's actually been for a swim.
A bit of an unenforced fall off the side, I think.
But it's got back out.
So no worries. Everything's cool, apart from I'm going to get bitten!
But calm returned as soon as Mark is all the way off Jo Jo's jetty.
That's just Jo being protective.
This is her spot and she felt we were a bit close, so she saw us off.
Standard stuff. Angry mother.
Jo Jo can be quite a bolshie personality.
She can be a bit pushy which is why when she goes for you like that you don't actually stop.
You do actually get out of the way. She might keep coming.
Newborn pups spend their first few days very close to mum.
They're pretty helpless, so it's hardly surprising that Jo Jo is rather territorial.
But, two days later, the nursery's getting crowded
because her older sister, Celia, has also decided that the jetty is a good place to have a new baby.
We've had a really exciting week.
First Jo Jo gave birth down here and a week later, Celia's followed suit and given birth, too.
It has caused a few problems, but nothing insurmountable.
New baby looks fine. Nothing to worry about.
Celia's an excellent mother.
Can be a little bit protective.
Jo Jo has just started taking her baby for little swims.
But, while they're both off the jetty,
Celia keeps getting the idea that she's got rights to the whole space.
Which, of course, leads to arguments when Jo Jo returns.
Most of that was really just threats. It's not nasty.
It's not out and out aggressive fighting.
It's just really handbags at dawn, if you like.
Celia's the most dominant of the females in the lake
and Jo Jo's probably the next most senior member, if you like.
Because they have given birth quite close to each other, they do just get a bit fractious sometimes
that they're going to be too near each other's babies. It's not too much to worry about.
Jo Jo will become less protective as her pup becomes more independent.
And that may be very soon because the youngster seems to be a fast learner.
The older one has now been swimming quite competently by itself.
It's spent a lot of time in the water.
Whenever mum leaves it, it's straight in the lake playing and snouting about.
But because Celia hasn't left hers yet, the other one hasn't had a chance to follow suit.
As soon as she starts leaving it for longer, that one will find its feet pretty quickly.
I'm sure they're itching to get together, the pair of them.
Buster, the big bull sea lion, has also been itching to get together with the females.
They come into season shortly after giving birth.
Jo Jo's now two weeks since she's given birth.
So she should be pregnant already.
Buster's obviously hanging around for Celia to jump into the water.
Her pup's now coming up to a week old, so in the week after that,
he will start mating with her and she will hopefully become pregnant again, too.
Then it all starts again.
But, for a whole year, these two pups will be the babies of Half Mile Lake.
Still to come on today's programme:
There are more youngsters up in Wolf Wood,
but will they all survive when mum brings them outside?
We'll find out what the marmoset family make of some very strange smells.
And, the otter pups have finally learnt to swim.
So why do they still like it best in the shallow end?
But first, the peace and quiet of the ferret enclosure is about to be disturbed.
There could be trouble because there's a new gang in town.
I'm down at Pets Corner with keeper Bev Allen and handfuls of ferrets. Bev, what are we doing today?
These are actually some new ferrets that we've been given.
We don't usually take any ferrets on, but we're going to mix them in with our group.
OK, how are your group going to take to six brand new ferrets?
There could be a bit of fighting going on to begin with.
You're not too concerned though?
Not really. Usually they do a bit of fighting.
They grab hold of each other's neck area and there is a lot of noise involved.
They scream a lot. But once they get over that, they're fine.
So how are we going to do this?
Where are yours, by the way?
-There's one down there on the floor.
-They're all asleep.
-They're going to have a rather rude awakening.
But this is the most sensitive way of doing it?
We've actually cleaned the enclosure out this morning and also disinfected the place down.
So it's not too smelly. It's not their smell too much.
-They're quite territorial, to be honest.
-Shall we put them all down?
Yes, see what happens.
Now six strikes me as a huge number to be introduced here.
Is that a good amount of ferrets to introduce to your existing...
Yeah, to be honest, we feel it's probably better to mix an existing group with another group.
If we have 10 ferrets of our own here and we pop one in, usually those 10 will gang up on the one.
So now we've got six and 10, it's a bit better.
It's not just one ferret going in.
They seem very interested in our cameraman's shoes.
How are they in terms of biting and inquisitiveness?
They've been handled quite a lot. They used to be someone's pets.
So they've been handled all the time.
Also, when you're mixing new animals with new animals, you've got to be careful.
Their characters may change. They might get a bit more aggressive.
So we've got to be careful we don't get bitten ourselves.
Can I say, that your ferrets are distinctly unimpressed.
Yes, they're not impressed at all.
We know they're here because I've seen them sticking their heads up. So you've got 10 here.
-Yes. I think a lot of them are all asleep together.
-They like the body heat, don't they?
They do, they keep each other warm and everything.
The new ones seem quite interested with all the different smells.
You've got a pretty big area here and lots of things to...
-Is that a new one going up?
-That's a new one.
Do they make good pets?
If you've got a lot of time for them, then they can be.
They can be quite good pets. But they do take a lot of time and space.
Usually you can have them in a cage inside the house, but you need to
supervise them when they run around the house.
You can take them for walks on little leads and things.
They're becoming quite popular as a pet now, rather than a working ferret.
I am amazed at how unfazed the existing ferrets here are.
If you did that with a dog, there would be lots of hackles up and...
-But they don't seem bothered at all.
-No, they don't seem bothered at all.
I'm sure later on when they wake up, I'm sure there will be a bit of aggression to begin with.
But once they've sorted out who's boss and who's lower down in the
hierarchy, then they should get on really well, hopefully.
Fantastic. Well Bev, wishing you the best of luck with your new ferrets.
Let's hope that they settle in here very well.
Up in Wolf Wood lives the park's pack of Canadian timber wolves.
Two-tip is the alpha or dominant male and Freda is the alpha female.
Wolf packs are strictly hierarchical and to make sure the pack doesn't
outgrow the amount of food available, usually only the alphas are allowed to breed.
The other wolves contribute by helping to look after the cubs when they're born.
Recently, keepers noticed that Freda was expecting.
So they made her a comfy den inside the wolf house to have the cubs in.
We fitted the wolf house with cameras
hoping to capture the actual moment of birth
and the first weeks of the cubs lives for the first time.
Sadly, Freda ignored the comfy den and chose instead to have her cubs outdoors,
despite the best efforts of keeper Bob Trollope.
We noticed that she had laid up in a bed of nettles.
We could hear some whimpering noises
and it was obvious that she had started to give birth.
When we heard, she actually picked one up and wandered off with it.
So we knew she had given birth.
It was an amazing sight to see something that had just been born.
The newborn wolf cubs are very vulnerable.
As the weather turned nasty, Bob was concerned they might not survive outdoors.
Fortunately Freda has now sought refuge, bringing the cubs into the warmth of the wolf house.
The rest of the wolves have followed her.
So now the whole pack is in sight of our cameras.
It's a relief for Bob to see the cubs indoors.
They've put the cubs in and they've stuck them in the corner,
is a safety thing as well. Because there's two wolves there that are protecting them.
Now they're into a nice dry, warm house.
There is fresh bedding. Plus the fact that we've got the monitors and cameras set up so that we can
hopefully keep a better eye on them.
In all his years of looking after the wolves,
Bob's never had the chance to see cubs up close at such a young age.
When they're in the den, you don't see sight or sound of them much before for five weeks old.
So you don't see how the pack bond with the pups.
So this is ideal. This is an ideal opportunity for us to monitor
which wolves are doing nanny duty,
which ones are closer to the mum. All sorts of things like that.
The cubs are just a week old now and still completely helpless.
Mum can't leave them for long, but she needs plenty to eat so that she can suckle them.
The rest of the pack help out by bringing food back to the wolf house for her.
When the cubs are older, the wolves will regurgitate partially digested meat for them.
But now Bob's amazed to see them regurgitating for mum Freda.
We've known them to take lumps of meat back to the den and mum and grab it and eat.
But I think that's the first time we've actually seen
another wolf regurgitate for the mum.
Bob's delighted with his privileged view of wolf pack behaviour at this crucial time.
The fact that she's finally brought him into the house and we can
watch them without them even knowing that we're there is just brilliant.
The one thing that surprises me more than anything is the fact that the cubs are so lively.
They move about
All seems to be going well until Freda decides to move the cubs again.
They're not out of the woods yet.
We'll find out if they survive later in the programme.
Down in Pets Corner, Jo Hawthorn is preparing a new kind of enrichment,
aimed at stimulating what is for many animals, the most interesting of all the senses - smell.
Jo is putting some of our favourite scents, various herbs and spices,
into a basket to say what the marmosets make of them.
They've got three Geoffroy's tufted-eared marmosets here, a rare species from Brazil.
Mike and Michelle came to Longleat four years ago
and now have their two-year-old daughter Mandu living with them.
Marmosets are part of the monkey family.
So having something new to keep their minds busy is very important.
Kate's gone to see if Jo's basket gets them thinking.
We've got lavender here.
We've got that growing in Pets Corner.
That's got, as you know, quite a strong smell.
Nutmeg, which obviously we use for cooking and things.
I've tried to stick to things that aren't too, you know...
You know, that would put them off.
A peppery thing that would make them sneeze or something?
That you and me wouldn't really want to get a nose full of, I've tried to stay away from. Ginger.
Again, that's quite a nice smell.
To you and me. I mean, I don't know.
Cinnamon, another really nice natural smell. And sage, which again is natural from plants.
-That's dad Mikey?
He's having a good look at the sage on the end there.
He is, isn't he?
Yeah. He can obviously smell it because he's having a good look.
Do you think he's rejecting it because there is no food in there?
It's literally just the powders, isn't it?
He might well do.
Because there's nothing visibly edible there.
-So it might be that he's thinking, "Hmm."
-Who's this coming up now?
This is Mandu.
Mandu always comes in after Dad.
-She's having a look.
-She's definitely having a sniff.
She's taking the paper.
Oh no, she's...
She is definitely curious, isn't she?
Much more than Dad, actually.
Oh, she's got some on her nose!
Oh, she's licking it.
What's that? That is the ginger.
She's trying to get that off her nose.
-Poor little thing.
-Oh, bless her.
-She's had a taste.
-She's tasting it.
Oh she's going back for more.
Nope. Leapt it.
Oh, no. She is, she's having a look.
She's definitely intrigued by this, isn't she?
Mum is staying resolutely inside.
-Not interested at all.
-She's a bit of a grump.
She's kind of, "Whatever they're doing, I don't want to know."
-It doesn't surprise me actually that she hasn't gone anywhere near it to be honest.
-Bit of a result.
-It was a bit of a result.
As I say, it was very interesting.
Mikey having a look but not having a taste.
Mandu pushing her face right in it.
OK, I'll just do it." No, that's it.
Well, Jo, thank you very much. That was a fascinating morning.
Go on, Michelle! You can have a go.
The scent basket may not have been an instant hit
with the whole family, but it has given the marmosets something new to investigate.
And that's what enrichment is all about.
Back up at Wolf Wood, alpha female Freda has left the comfort of a house
with her four newborn cubs and brought them outside.
In the wild, wolves often move their litters to protect them from predators.
But with the rest of the pack guarding the new den site,
it's not difficult for keeper Bob Trollope to find.
She's actually brought them back to
one of the original den sites that she was born under.
turned full circle, I suppose.
Now the cubs are back outside, and hidden underground,
they're harder to monitor and Bob can't be sure that all four are still alive.
We don't know how many we've got. Because she moved them while we weren't here.
So whether we've got four or not, I don't know.
It's just another waiting game, I suppose.
They should be coming out of that hole any day, you know.
They should be quite mobile.
So it's just a case of waiting.
We know they're in there, because if they come anywhere near this tree
then the hole pack just descends on
the vehicle and bites pieces and things like that.
So we don't tend to stay here very long.
After a few days, the cubs begin to emerge from the den.
Sadly, one cub is missing and Bob fears the worst.
Obviously something wasn't quite right with it.
We've just presumed it died.
We haven't seen it. Whether it's still under the den and not brave enough to come out yet...
But I would imagine that it's long gone and we've only got the three left.
You want everything to survive, but it doesn't always work.
Nature is a wonderful thing but also it's a cruel thing as well.
The three remaining cubs are growing up fast.
They're now four weeks old and with the whole pack helping Mum,
they've come through their most vulnerable period.
The pack dynamic changes immensely.
Because now the pups are born and out and about,
everyone wants to look after them.
It's all part of the pack dynamic to make sure those pups survive.
Within a few weeks, these cubs will be weaned
and well on their way to becoming fully-fledged members of the pack.
Earlier this year, there was great excitement in Pets Corner when
Rosie and Romeo, the Asian short clawed otters had two little babies.
They were the first otter pups to be born at Longleat in 30 years.
So, needless to say, we've been following their progress pretty closely.
I'm down at Pets Corner with keeper Rob Savin to catch up with Longleat's
four resident Asians short clawed otters. How are they getting on?
They're doing really well. You can see the two little ones actually look the same size as Mum and Dad now.
It's almost impossible to tell the difference.
-What's this hose?
-We're doing a little bit of a clean-out.
Once or twice a week we clean the pond out here.
It gives them some nice fresh water.
Obviously it makes a nice and visible for the visitors.
But I was noticing when I was filling up the last few times,
they're all playing when it got to this sort of level, just in the water.
-In the shallows?
-Yeah. I mean, we fill it up a lot higher than this.
Otters obviously associate with swimming.
And they are very agile swimmers.
But they do prefer, and it confirms that this
particular type of otter, the Asian otter, prefer shallower water.
Shall we see if we can entice them into the water?
One of their treats, yeah.
Some shrimps. What we've also got, hidden in the water, is a little camera.
So we might just get...
a slightly different sort of perspective.
Who's that gobbling them all up, being very greedy?
That's actually Mum and Dad. The two little ones are just holding back.
You've got the feeling they are a little bit scared of the cameras.
-Are they a little bit shy? I think they're hiding back.
-They're hiding back.
I wonder if I can entice them out if I throw some of those up there.
Now the youngsters, how old are they now?
-They are just over nine months now.
-Have we got names for them?
We have indeed. They're called, we got a local school to name them. We went for some Asian names.
They had a big list of Asian names to chose from.
So I dug up some names off of the internet.
And they were all really cracking names. But they chose Emiko and Arun.
And Arun means of the dawn.
And Emiko means beautiful. And I think we should call them all beautiful.
Very appropriate names. Rob, thank you very much.
I think you are on to a winner with the shallow water in here.
They are good swimmers in the deep, but they prefer the shallows.
They love the shallow water. Especially on a hot day like this.
It's the end of the day here at the giraffery and we've come down to give the giraffes their final feed.
Sadly, we've reached the end of the current series of Animal Park.
-But what a time we've had.
-It has been amazing, absolutely amazing.
It really has. I can't forget that arrival of Century, the hundredth giraffe born here.
We also had lion cubs, Jaseira and Malaika, who were Kabir's first cubs.
And of course where they were rivals, there was also the sad
loss of Babs the rhino who had been here for many years.
Poor old Babs, we do miss her.
But we did also have otter cubs for the very first time in 30 years.
So it was an incredibly exciting year. Good moments, sad moments...
And funny moments!
Sadly, that's all we have got time for today.
-But we look forward to seeing you again soon. Bye bye.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media 2007
E-mail [email protected]
Ben Fogle and Kate Humble explore life behind the scenes at Longleat Estate and Safari Park.
A new sea lion baby is born by the lake, and mum doesn't want anyone too close. Up at the wolf house, Frieda has had a new litter, but can the cubs survive in the great outdoors? There's high jinx in Pets' Corner when six newcomers arrive, because ferrets are made for mischief.