Kate Humble and Ben Fogle look behind the scenes at Longleat Safari Park. A rhino's arthritis and a giraffe's bad leg are examined. Plus meet the otter family's new arrivals.
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This is a thermal imaging camera,
and we're going to be looking at some of the animals here
in a way we've never done before.
Look at these amazing images.
This camera will reveal things about the animals we never normally see.
So stand by for a unique perspective of them and us on today's show.
everyday Head of Section, Mark Tie, has over 900 hungry mouths to feed.
We find out just how he does it.
Could the latest technology save the life of Winston, the OAP rhino?
And there's a lotta, lotta otter going on in Pets' Corner
with some surprise new arrivals.
But first we're going to look at some hot new technology,
or should that be cool new technology?
Whichever it is, these images of animals are taken
using a cutting edge camera, which shows areas of heat in the body.
For the very first time, this technology,
otherwise known as thermal imaging,
has been brought to the park to give the keepers and us
a unique perspective on the park.
But this is no gimmick; these cameras are being increasingly used
to help diagnose conditions
from sprains and arthritis to even cancer.
We'll be using this amazing camera throughout the show
to reveal some of the animals' best-kept secrets.
We are tucked in the shelter at the East Africa Reserve.
It's a little bit wet, but we are not deterred because we are here
with a man called Dave Blain who is a thermal imaging specialist.
Now, Dave, can you just tell us what this piece of kit does?
Right, the thermal imaging camera is the latest technology.
It's very much used in industry now, for medical and military purposes,
and of course the local police force, Fire Brigade use it.
And what does it actually show?
What it does is actually picks up heat and radiation, and we use it
very much for looking at body temperature in the medical field.
You're then looking at the hot spots,
or it can be reverted to look at cold spots.
So the white areas are the hottest, closely followed by the red, while
the blue and green colours indicate the coldest parts of the animal.
We're here with the Head of Section, Andy Hayton.
Andy, how do you think this is going to be useful for you
looking at the animals in the East Africa Reserve?
Possibly rheumatism, if an animal's lame we could possibly look to see if
there's heat in the muscles,
heat in joints for rheumatism, arthritis, things like that.
And Andy, certainly a unique perspective for you.
Looking at that, Dave, on this camel here, we've got a very hot head,
but lots of the neck, it looks like just near the head,
it's actually a lot colder than the rest of the body.
Yeah, it's the thickness of the fur,
so the blue is actually the hair, the body hair.
Right, and then if we look at the giraffes that obviously
don't have as much covering of hair,
lots and lots of heat there.
If you look from the head, down the neck, the neck is very hot.
There's obviously a good blood supply up there,
and like us, a lot of veins in the neck close to the surface,
so possibly that's what's giving off that heat signature there.
But what is interesting is that clearly in the places
where you haven't got a great blood supply going through, the horns,
that very horny place on the front of their head,
-are giving off hardly any heat at all.
-That's solid bone.
If we could look at that big female there, Jolly,
and we know she's on arthritic drugs.
-Look at that.
-The difference in the legs.
You can clearly see on her right leg, it's a lot hotter than the other.
Presumably you could then use this evidence, if we can use that word,
when the vet, Duncan, comes along.
You can say, "We saw this, could that reaffirm what you thought?"
And help you with your diagnosis and treatment.
This gives us another tool to help us look after our animals better,
and the more tools we have to make their life more comfortable is good.
And interestingly vets are using this technique more and more,
as indeed will we later in the programme
when we go around the safari park with Dave and his camera.
Keeping the safari park running smoothly seven days a week,
52 weeks a year, is a massive logistical operation.
There are over 100 members of staff, responsible for everything
from caring for the animals to maintaining the grounds.
But of all the jobs,
one of the most important is just keeping the animals well fed.
With 900 animals in the park, there's a lot of mouths to feed,
about 90 species, it's a big operation.
Mark Tie is the keeper in charge of looking after the lake animals.
He's also responsible for supplying food to the entire safari park.
We have to make sure it's all done and ordered and delivered on time.
Animals don't wait for anybody; they expect their food on time,
at the right time, and in the right way.
So we have to make sure we're on the ball and get it sorted it every day.
Hardly a day goes by without a food delivery of some sort.
With so many different species, each with their own dietary requirement,
lake animals' keeper, Michelle Stephens,
also has a lot on her plate.
This is the feed store, is where it all happens.
We make the feed up for the whole park, and distribute it to everyone.
And it's important to keep the pantry organised.
Dog biscuits and whole maize, which are given to the monkeys.
Bran in this one, which is given to the giraffe.
We've got some primate pellets; this is very good specialist diet
for the monkeys and our gorilla as well.
This is called Caswell Crunch, what some of the hoof stock have as well.
Over here we've got the fruit and veg.
The monkeys in particular are obviously big fruit eaters,
and we get a lot of boxes of apples and oranges a year,
obviously just for those alone.
In this bin here, we've got the flamingo food,
so a specialist diet for flamingos, it's got a colouring agent in it,
which keeps the flamingos nice and pink.
In the wild, flamingos go pink because of
a natural substance in their food, but here they need that supplement.
Over here we've got the linseed lozenges,
it's what we give to the giraffe, just as a supplementary diet.
We have chinchilla pellets.
The other major thing is the fish delivery, which obviously
is important to me for my animals, the sea lions and pelicans.
We get this every six to eight weeks.
It's a fair amount, keeps us going for a little while.
Also here as well I've got some salt licks and some copper licks,
given to the hoof stock, just a bit of vitamin boost for them really.
We've got large mixed nuts, walnuts, brazil nuts, that sort of thing.
And the parrots absolutely love these,
so it's like a treat they get.
And that's basically the whole feed room.
Every year, between them, the animals consume 44 tons of meat...
13 tons of fish...
..42 tons of high fibre food, 8,000 bales of hay, 3,600 apples,
29,000 oranges, 23,000 bananas,
21,000 cabbages and 1,500 lettuces,
plus a whole host of other fruit, vegetables,
nuts, maize, bran, corn,
biscuits and some very juicy bugs.
First thing every morning,
Mark loads up his van and heads off round the park.
All the sections are keen to get their food as early as they can,
so obviously we've got to get in early
and get it all delivered as quick as possible.
-Anything else you need?
That's all. All right, cheers, then.
People just expect their food to arrive every morning,
and sometimes don't appreciate what it takes to get it there.
There's a lot of work that goes into making sure it's delivered on time.
It's quite a big job to make sure that we don't forget anything,
because if we do then it's on our heads be it, you know.
We'll be back with Mark and Michelle later
to discover who's the greediest feeder,
and to find out about some of the strange things that animals eat.
Down in the otter enclosure for over 30 years, the keepers have waited
for the pitter-patter of tiny paws, but sadly none have come.
Then earlier this season, to everyone's delight,
Rosie produced her first litter and baby fever hit town.
Just months later, there were more celebrations
when a second litter arrived, and we've heard there's even more news,
-so Ben's heading down to meet keeper, Rob Savin.
-So, tell me what's happened.
It's brilliant stuff. We've got two new additions to the big family, yes.
And the big family is huge already.
Huge already, yes, eight already, and now an extra two little ones.
So when was this?
Only just under two weeks ago,
so very small at the minute. Shall we go and have a little look at them?
-They're inside, are they?
-Yes, I check them every morning.
What we have to do first, if I give you a pair of these,
I'll let you go on in and do it.
-We're OK going close to them?
-Yeah, you should be all right.
What I like to do every morning is while I can get the adults out,
and give them some grub, and they all come out for that,
I just lock them out, just briefly, just so that I can go in
and give it a clean.
-I don't want to be there for too long.
I check that they're all right, and keep an eye on them.
So these gloves are so that I don't put my smell anywhere near them?
Yeah. If you just rummage your hands gently into the straw bedding
get a bit of the otters' smell on them
so they know it's nothing to worry about, their babies,
cos they can't see at the moment,
they're pretty helpless for a while.
Just get in there and have a little check.
Probably somewhere at the back, if I just let you go on in.
-Just see if the camera can come up.
-Rummage your hands in the straw.
-Am I OK stepping a bit in here?
-Just gently step in.
-Just over here.
-Just have a rummage, very gently move some of the straw.
Oh! You can just see them over in the corner there.
-They're absolutely tiny.
-They are at the moment.
And what sort of things...
Oh, I've just seen some movement, so that's probably...
They're all right at the moment. They have been so far, so fingers crossed.
-I don't want to disturb them.
-It's early days at the moment.
And is this what you do? Shall I put this back now?
Yeah, gently cover them back over,
then we'll let mum in and she can come and have a smell and stuff.
That's what you'll do,
check they're OK and there's no problems.
Literally that's it at the moment,
mum's pretty much doing everything on her own.
The first time we had the babies in the past
I was like a worried father, trying to get involved,
should I intervene? But they know what they're doing,
they're capable of sorting it out.
So how long will they be suckling from Rosie?
It's around 40 days, but to be honest the first time
she had pups almost two years ago now, everything was by the book.
It was eyes open 40 days, start eating solids around
the same sort of time,
outside at the appropriate time, which was about six or seven weeks.
Last year it different, she brought them out after two weeks!
We thought it was too early and were worrying.
But there's no need to worry, because they grew up perfectly well.
Are you confident they'll interact with the other otters here OK?
I think they'll be fine. I mean, the initial thing
when they start eating the solid food, I'll have to make sure that
they're getting their fair share,
and the original big pups aren't being greedy and taking it from them.
But they should all be helping, the whole family should help.
-Fantastic, well, congratulations once again.
-Thank you for letting me see them.
Earlier we were looking at some of Longleat's animals
in a whole new light, through a high-tech thermal imaging camera.
This provides a temperature map of the animals,
revealing hot spots, which could be cause for concern.
It already showed up Jolly the giraffe's arthritic leg,
so now up in the new area, head of section, Tim Yeo,
is keen to put it to the test on some of his animals.
He's asked thermal imaging photographer, David Blain,
to take a look at Winston,
the elderly rhino who's a favourite with the keepers and the public.
Winston's been with us here at the park for a good number of years now,
and he's a very popular rhino
with the staff and certainly the public that visit the park.
He will readily come up to the bars and he likes to be patted,
and just to have that close contact with people.
In the wild, rhinos rarely live beyond the age of about 30,
but Winston's easily surpassed that, reaching the grand old age of 38.
The keepers have kept him well for many years, but sadly,
his age is catching up on him, and his health is an increasing concern.
For a number of years, Winston has suffered with arthritic problems.
He's getting on in years,
and has been increasingly a problem to him, and it's been
rather an upsetting thing to see over that sort of period of time.
He has good times and particularly bad times,
and it is certainly worrying because you don't know
what's round the corner, you don't know what's coming.
Tim has good reason to be so worried.
Sadly Winston's condition is all too familiar.
His long time companion, Babs, also suffered with arthritis.
Last year at the age of 37,
her condition worsened and her pain increased.
So the decision was made to put her to sleep.
Now there are signs Winston is displaying similar symptoms
of arthritis which can be as crippling for animals
as it is for humans.
While Winston receives on-going treatment, it's not always easy
to tell how well they are working.
It's very difficult by looking at the animal
to see the severity of the problem.
All sort of remedies and things have been tried
to ease the discomfort but he still seems to suffer.
So, can thermal imaging provide an answer?
If the arthritic areas can be accurately identified,
it'd be a massive help for Tim and his team to target their treatment.
What we would hope to see with arthritis is like...
if you look at the joints, they'll be white, cos it's warmer.
What happens is that it draws the blood to the surface to protect it.
So that's how you can determine,
cos it's blood obviously being warmer,
you can see the problem areas.
It just pinpoints it, spot on, especially on the back leg,
on that joint you can see it quite clearly.
And thermal imaging has one other massive benefit, it's non-invasive,
which means Winston can be examined
just by the use of the camera and without causing him any stress.
Well, yes, it's very interesting looking at the pictures
and actually seeing exactly whereabouts those heat sources are.
It would be wonderful, I mean, obviously, to do it again
after a period of time had elapsed to see if there were any changes.
It's incredible technology, it really is.
Surely it will help our vet very much
to see whether these treatments are having any effect at all.
And the hope is, of course,
that that sort of technology could help in the future
with these sort of conditions that are always going to be with us
as animals advance in years.
So thanks to this new technology, Tim has the opportunity to treat
Winston's arthritis in a way they never could with Babs
and keep him happy and healthy.
There are about 900 animals at Longleat
and most of them are quite fussy eaters.
The keepers of each section make up the meals for each of their animals
and food at Longleat can be served in any number of ways.
It can be dropped from the back of a tractor,
thrown off the side of a boat,
trailed out of the door of a car, hidden up a tree, dangled from
a tree, stuffed in a tree
or even sprinkled on the ground,
carefully chopped, hand-fed, bottle-fed,
spoon-fed and even sometimes, just for a change, served up on a plate.
Down in Pets' Corner, Head of Section Darren Beasley and his team
have got food preparation down to a fine art.
We have more animals in Pets' Corner than the rest of the park in total.
They may be small,
but they all have dietary requirements.
We're up against it here, we have so many hungry animals,
it's a never-ending cycle.
Here you go guys, breakfast.
Everything from exotic fruit, from papaya and mango,
all the way down to whole chickens
and things like that, you know, it's an incredible amount of food.
You've got to remember how many animals in that enclosure?
What time do they need their food?
How do they need it presented?
Do they like it with vitamins on it?
Chopped lengthways or in segments? This is just skimming the surface.
We tease the poor guys up in the lions' -
they probably do the most dangerous job in the park,
but they drive a tractor and chuck meat out - what's the skill in that?!
Today, in addition to the regular order, keeper Alexa Fairburn has
asked Mark for some special ingredients for the ferrets.
We get requests to get things that they don't normally have
on an everyday basis.
The ferrets, for example, so we've gone off and had to go round
the supermarkets looking for the necessary things they require.
see how much he weighs.
A few months ago we did have a problem with them
where a mystery illness swept in basically,
and a few of them, they did get very poorly. We requested Mark to bring
a few different treats, to build them up
that little bit more and hopefully they'll like it.
Back in the kitchen,
Alexa has her recipe for today's special -
ferret food cordon bleu!
Simply take one finely-chopped cucumber...
..toss in a smattering of raisins...
..two spoonfuls of creamy peanut butter...
They love peanut butter, but it has to be smooth
as anything with the chunks can get lodged in their digestive system.
..gently squeeze on some delicious multi-vitamin paste...
..add a generous dollop of succulent dog food, stir briskly
and then the finishing touch, drench with aromatic cod liver oil.
This is not just ferret food,
this is a special dietary supplement ferret food.
And there we go.
That's all very well, but will they like it?
This is brilliant to see. A lot of them are tucking in,
particularly some of the older ones, which is brilliant,
they obviously like it.
We'll keep weighing them every couple of weeks,
particularly the older ones, like Angus, we'll keep weighing him
just to make sure he's OK.
We'll try out another recipe in a couple of weeks,
see how they get on with that one and then pick out their favourites
and maybe try and make it into a more regular thing.
But the ferrets aren't the only ones with special requests.
The keepers always try to give their animals just what they want,
whether that's hot potatoes to keep the monkeys warm in winter
-or blackcurrant squash...
..dates and natural yoghurt for Nico the gorilla.
Medicine for Nico has to be disguised so the only way we've found
to get him to take it every day is to mix it with yoghurt.
But out of Longleat's 90 species, who has the largest appetite of all?
In fact, there's no mystery, the biggest eater is the biggest animal,
Winston the bull rhino weighs two and a half tons
and every day he consumes 25 kilos of hay
and up to four and a half kilos of high-fibre pellets.
But while Winston eats the most food, he's not the greediest.
In fact, that title goes to the one of the smallest animals here,
the Egyptian fruit bat. Every day,
each of them will eat up to 70% of their bodyweight in fruit.
That's like me eating 53 pineapples or 309 bananas every day!
After seeing how helpful thermal imaging can be
for the warm-blooded animals,
thermal-imaging photographer David Blain
has brought his camera along to Pets' Corner
to join Kate and keeper Kim Tucker
to see what we can learn about a special cold-blooded creature.
Cold-blooded animals survive
by absorbing heat from their surroundings.
So it's essential they're kept at the right temperature.
-Who's this, Kim?
-This is Khan we've got down here.
-Khan. Now Khan has just come out of the enclosure...
..so he's lovely and warm to the touch.
-Let's see what he looks like on the camera.
-Look at that!
-Oh, you can see!
-He's very red.
But what's really interesting
is that he's particularly red around where your hand is, isn't he?
Yes, he looks to be taking on my heat.
I'm just wondering if we can take him away from you a bit and see
-if he starts losing heat, it's a little bit...
he seems to be sort of cooling off a little bit.
I mean it's obviously a very warm day today but this is interesting.
He's got real warmth in the middle of his body...
That's where all his organs are, so that's where it would produce heat.
What is the mechanism of a cold-blooded animal to warm up?
Just take on the heat of their surroundings,
so if they're cold, they'll move to a warmer spot
and if they're too warm, they move to a cooler spot.
If I put him on the floor...
Hope he doesn't shoot up your trouser leg!
No, let's hope not.
That's amazing! Look at that, he's cooling almost instantly,
going yellow, again, around that organ area still keeping warm.
But the areas where my hands were, look, they've gone.
-The redness has gone.
So if you were to pick him up again now, shall we just see if...
-There you go, look.
-Oh, look at that!
He instantly takes the heat from your hands, you can see.
It's almost like a thermal fingerprint.
-Look at that, that's amazing!
But his head is now completely cooling off.
How will this help you when you're doing meet the creatures
with these very delicate animals?
Hopefully, it could detect, how long we can keep them out for,
depending on the weather conditions.
At the moment, on days like today we will keep him out,
maybe about an hour
and then on cooler days,
not quite so long and we do use hot water bottles as well.
Look at that instant change, as soon as you pick him up,
it's like he completely changes colour again.
That's absolutely fascinating.
-Well, I can see that he clearly loves you, Kim...
-Oh, I hope so.
-He blushes when he's in your arms.
Dave, thank you very much, it's been a fascinating afternoon.
-Kim, thank you...
..and Khan, you are a perfect thermal imaging subject.
Earlier we found out just how much effort goes into feeding
the 900 hungry residents of Longleat every day.
But as well as regular meals,
the keepers are always thinking up new ways of serving up
some extra tasty treats and today it's the giraffes' turn.
We are up at the giraffery with deputy head of section, Ryan Hockley
and it's feeding time for the giraffes, last thing.
This doesn't look very friendly, though, Ryan.
Not very appetising to us, Kate, you're right.
This is a mixture of thistles and stinging nettles today.
-Do you just not like your giraffes?
-They absolutely love it.
As we're all aware they eat a lot of acacia in the wild...
-Which have big spines.
-Exactly, so the thistle's no problem.
The stinging nettles, I'm not quite sure why they find them
so attractive, but there's a lot of iron, they're packed with goodness.
Some rather impatient faces -
-shall we let you get it hung up?
I'll hold onto the ladder for you.
So we've got two up there already, obviously.
I'm amazed that they're going for those rather than all this
other yummy food you've put out for them.
Well, exactly, you know, like I say, they seem absolutely nuts
on the stingers in particular,
so sometimes there's no rhyme or reason as to why certain animals
find things more attractive than the next thing in front of them.
There are humans that like nettles.
You can get nettle wine,
but it does strike me that stinging nettles for giraffes
might not be my first choice, but then I'm not a giraffe.
What does seem strange is that,
obviously they've been out in the enclosure all day, grazing
and yet you're putting a lot of food out for them at night.
Is that just to stop them getting bored?
It all comes under that canopy of environment enrichment.
Obviously we house these guys at night,
even this time of year they're spending a lot of their day
in a house at night, so we have to try and put
as many things as we can in, really, to amuse them
-and also things that they can't just go and nail in ten minutes...
things that'll take possibly an hour or two,
if we're lucky, for them just to pick a little bit.
It's a lot of work but not much reward. That's how it is in the wild.
And it's like a jigsaw puzzle,
we can see them all attempting to get that.
An hour to finish that, you think?
Maybe with three of them going at it like that it might be a bit less,
but certainly the bigger one up there,
hopefully that should take an hour or two.
And the other things you're feeding in here,
you've got a sort of bran mix and pony nuts.
-Yes, yes, yes.
-So, you feed them similar to a horse?
The bran, to be honest, we supplement these guys with vitamins, minerals...
-..things like that.
So the bran is just a way of mixing that into the feed and the pony nuts
there are for fibre and there's also linseed,
which is good for their coats, the oil.
That's why they look so shiny and healthy!
-Ryan, thank you for letting us help you.
I think we should leave the giraffes to enjoy their nettles.
Sadly, we've run out of time,
but here's what's coming up on the next Animal Park.
The new wild warthogs take the park by storm,
shaking the nerves of even the most experienced keepers.
They are pretty aggressive.
I do not want one of these guys to get hold of me, they're scary!
I'll be helping to put up some new toys for the lions,
proving they're just big pussycats.
And a Far East food fad
or a fiendish plot to make the otters work harder.
So, don't miss the next Animal Park.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
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Kate Humble and Ben Fogle look behind the scenes at Longleat Safari Park. Winston the rhino's life-threatening arthritis and Jolly the giraffe's bad leg are just two of the conditions investigated with the aid of a cutting-edge thermal imaging camera. Join Ben and Kate as they look at the animals in a way that has never been done before. Plus meet the otter family's new arrivals!