Kaddu the tiger goes under anaesthetic for an emergency procedure, Lord Bath tours his favourite parts of the Longleat estate and Ben Fogle learns how dangerous a giraffe can be.
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It's a tense day in tiger territory, because one of the oldest
and most-loved animals in the park is due for an operation.
Kadu has a severely ingrown claw
which needs to be operated on immediately.
It's an operation she's had before, but, at 22 years old,
the risks from the anaesthetic are greater than ever.
We'll be bringing you all of the news on today's show.
Today on Animal Park...
There's a hair-raising experience lined up for one young keeper
who has to give three large llamas a short back and sides.
He may be lord of the manor, but which are the current Marquis
of Bath's favourite corners of the estate? We'll find out today.
And the wallabies are eating all their greens,
but it's destroying their enclosure.
I'll be on hand for a little garden makeover.
-In that clump.
-Put that to see what it's going to look like.
Now, however, we're off to tiger territory,
where it's been a very exciting season.
Just a few months ago, three young sisters arrived from a zoo in France.
They're almost two years old now and they haven't completely settled down yet.
The sisters may have been grabbing the headlines, but in no way have
they replaced Longleat's most-loved tiger, dear Kadu.
Wild tigers would rarely live over 15 years, so at 22,
she's doing remarkably well.
But as she's aged, her health has faltered.
I've come up to the tiger house to meet up with
deputy head of section Bob Trollope.
Bob, I gather that there's some not great news about Kadu this morning.
No. I was in here earlier on and I was given her some chunks.
And I got her to stand up just to check her nails and there's
one growing into the pad again.
'This isn't the first time that Kadu has suffered from this problem.
'Three years ago, she had to
'be put under anaesthetic in order to sort it out.'
Aw, this is really deeply embedded. That's really nasty.
'I was there when it all went horribly wrong.'
Is she breathing?
She isn't breathing, is she?
'Kadu had a bad reaction to the drug and she stopped breathing.'
Just keep doing that every five seconds, all right?
'Luckily, she did survive, but you can see why it's such a worry now.'
Why are these claws going into the pads?
Cos she's so old now, she's not scratching on things.
We've got logs in there for her to do it,
but she doesn't scratch as a younger tiger would.
And they're not getting any shorter.
They're just growing and, unfortunately, because she's old,
she doesn't bother and they just grow into the pad.
I mean, she's looking quite good and it doesn't look like she's limping.
Well, she was walking very gingerly
and she didn't want to put any weight on it.
I got her up and you can see...
I'll get her up now. I've got some chunks. Kaduse!
-If you look at the pad on her left leg...
-So the one nearest you?
You can see...
It's a bit too high, but that's growing into the pad.
Now, the last time this happened, I know that Duncan the vet
-had to come and put her under general anaesthetic.
I know that Duncan is preparing outside.
Is he going to have to go down the general anaesthetic route again?
I think so, cos on a couple of occasions that we've done it since,
we've been able to get her to stand up here and just trim them
-with big nail nippers.
But, unfortunately, from what I can see...
It looks like it's gone right into the pad.
I don't think you could actually get in there to...
You want to be able to get to it properly and trim it up.
Now, I hate to say it cos I know we're probably all feeling the same thing. She is 22 years old.
She doesn't have a great history under general anaesthetic.
She worried us all sick last time...
The thing we're all worried about now is the fact she's even older now
and she ain't in the best of health.
She's got problems with her kidneys.
So it's going to be a bit of a problem.
We keep our fingers crossed, we honestly do.
Well, we are going to stay up at the tiger house today and
we will be following the progress of Kadu's operation and, of course,
we'll bring you any news as soon as we get it.
Now we know you'd never find a llama in Africa,
but back in Longleat's East Africa reserve,
three South American friends
have lived happily alongside the giraffe, ostrich and zebra for years.
Llamas Debbie, Lavina and Foggy are hardy animals and spend most
of their time grazing, so require little hands-on attention.
But keeper Dan Gray has developed something of a soft spot for them
and has noticed they could do with a grooming.
During the summer months it gets really hot.
They've got really, really thick coats, adapted for cold weather and stuff,
so there's a slight risk of heat exhaustion.
So it's nice to shear them just for their sake, really.
Really looking forward to it actually.
It'll be nice to learn how to sear them properly.
Then we can do it every year.
Good intentions, but the reality is that Dan has never actually sheared
a llama before.
I have clipped dogs before,
but obviously slightly smaller, slightly less fur.
It's the first time they've ever had it, so we don't know
how they're going to react.
Hopefully, they're going to be fine and just let us get on with it.
It's possible they might struggle.
So, since this is a first for both Dan and the llamas, he's called in
some serious back-up - professional shearer Jamie Dickson's
travelled halfway round the world to be here.
I actually met some of the breeders from England when I was back in Oz,
and about three years ago they lost their previous shearer.
And I was sitting eating my tea one night and
got a phone call saying would you come shear in England?
Last year, between over here and back home, I reckon I would have
gone through about 10,000 or 11,000 alpacas and llamas,
with a few sheep thrown in as well,
so it's enough to keep you out of trouble.
Calm down, easy.
The most important thing is to be confident around the animal
and let them know that you know what you're doing.
That will keep them as calm as possible.
Well, I think what we should do, first up, try and get them in.
We'll get some sheep nuts and we'll get them into the pen over there
and from then on, it should be relatively calm.
Come on, llamas!
Come on, Debbie. Good girls.
-They are by nature a very defensive animal and so when
you do catch them, they can have a bit of a squirl,
a bit of a spit, maybe a bit of kick if we're lucky.
-But, generally, it's all a bit of bluff.
Too easy. So long as we can make Dan nice and calm about the whole affair,
I'm sure he'll do fine. Okey-doke.
But first, they've got to grab them. And the lucky llama they're after is Debbie.
Into this corner.
Any corner's a good one.
They'll usually stay calm if they're with a mate.
OK, come up here with your mate.
The llamas are not used to being restrained.
Holding them by the ears is the best way to keep them still and, while it
causes them no pain, the llamas do like to make some noise to complain.
LLAMA BRAYS AND GRUNTS
OK, basically, we'll start just above the tail, here.
Put the comb in there once it's running.
And just breeze along that side of her back line.
OK? We'll get going while Debbie's nice and calm.
Debbie's being a bit vocal about the whole experience,
but she's staying nice and calm.
And that's about her done. She was very well behaved.
Most of their herd recognition, how they know each other, is based on scent.
After you shear them, they don't smell the same.
They smell a bit of the shears, a bit of me.
And so you'll see them sniffing each other, saying, "Who are you?"
At worst, it will take them a day or two to kind of re-establish what the
herd hierarchy used to be and they're all happy with each other again.
If we get her up in one of these corners,
just like we did with Debbie.
Next up, it's Lavina's turn.
She may not be as noisy as Debbie,
but prefers to stage a more peaceful protest.
Here we go. They do feel a bit tense.
I usually just run my hand along their back line.
That's the first place we're going to put the shears,
so they're getting used to feeling something alien on their back.
But after the initial resistance, Lavina is perfectly behaved.
Push a bit harder.
You'll find that the llamas that get a bit touchier when you're trying to
handle them or trying to get them in - once you've got them held,
they're actually the best behaved.
It's the ones that are nice and calm and come up and
give you a kiss in the paddock that you've gotta watch out for.
But she's being lovely and well behaved.
-You were not trouble at all, were you?
-Yeah, she was really good.
I'm shocked at that.
Went quite well. She was the one we were
expecting to be a bit of trouble, but she stood there good as gold.
Really surprised actually. Thought she was going to be a complete
nightmare and she was really good.
-Fingers crossed, the last one behaves for you.
Having shown him how it's done, it's up to Dan to shear the final llama,
Foggy. But, like the others,
she's not going to give in easily to a haircut, as we find out later on.
Jamie the llama shearer isn't the only Antipodean at the safari park
today, as down in Pets' Corner live a family of wallabies.
The West Country is obviously a long way from Australia,
but Ben has popped down to help them feel a little bit more at home.
I've come down to Pets' Corner with deputy head-of-section Bev Allen and
a number of plants.
Bev, what are we doing with these today then?
We're going to plant some native Australian plants
in this enclosure for the wallabies.
The wallabies - I can just see one.
-Specifically Parma wallabies?
-Yeah, Parma wallabies.
We just thought it would be nice, cos there isn't a lot of grass in
-here where they've eaten it all.
-It is looking a little bare and brown!
Yeah, so put a bit of greenery in for them, which will be quite nice.
So what have we got? I recognise this. This looks like eucalyptus.
It is, yes. A very popular one in Australia.
And these two, I've been assured that they come from Australia.
I'm not quite sure on the names of these two I'm afraid.
-But we're going to put some of these in these two pots here.
OK, so do you know which ones you want where? And I'll be your labour.
-Shall I do some shovelling?
-Tell me a bit more.
Do you think we've terrified them away while we're doing this?
-Can we get them to come...
-Hopefully, in a minute.
If I put some food around, they might come over.
Wallabies are quite shy.
-They come from New South Wales in Australia.
And of course, they nearly was extinct, actually.
-Yes, a lot of it was because of hunting reasons -
for the fur and the meat trade as well.
But they've actually made a comeback now, which is brilliant.
And sometimes you see them sort of...moving their tail,
and shaking their heads. That's cos they're communicating,
by showing they know you're there. They've got a very good sense of smell, they have.
So that's how they communicate - with little kind of tail movements?
Yeah. Movements to each other to show aggression.
Little noises as well with each other.
-And you've got two in here, did you say?
-We've got three.
What are their names?
We've got Alice, which is the young one, who's about a year and a half.
Then we've got Sydney, the male. And Adelaide as well.
-So Australian names.
-Do you think that's enough?
Yeah, that's brilliant. So we'll pop that in, like that.
Then we want to put some more soil around the sides?
-And are you hoping that by adding all of these plants
they'll feel a little bit happier, I suppose, with all their native plants?
-Not that they were born in Australia.
Are you hoping...?
Yeah, it's just nice to get something from, like, Australian
plants in here. It's just nice to sort of bring it together, actually.
And I'm sure they'll come over and have a sniff of the plants,
maybe try and eat a few.
I'm sure! What is their diet?
Do they tend to eat everything green that goes in here?
They are vegetarians, so they eat lots of grass.
Also shoots, off of young plants as well.
Bark off of trees as well they would eat.
Right. So do you anticipate these plants actually lasting any amount of time in here?
I think they will, hopefully, yeah!
-OK. Pat that down.
I think we've done some pretty good gardening.
-Even if I say so myself.
And... They're still kind of loitering in the background,
but do you think they'll come back in here once we've planted these?
I think they will. They're quite inquisitive animals,
so I'm sure they'll come over in a minute and have a smell and see what's new.
Well, we've certainly brightened up the enclosure already.
-Two more plants to go then.
-A lot of work!
-Thank you very much.
You'd better leave us to it.
We've got lots more planting to do.
Earlier in the series, Lord Bath gave us an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour
of his legendary wardrobe, showing us some of his favourite pieces.
Well, today, we're heading out with him for a tour of his
favourite parts of the 9,000-acre estate that he calls home.
Getting to the first stop means a trip down his rather spectacular mile-long front drive.
These rhododendrons were brought from the Himalayas by the fourth
marquis, back in Victorian times,
when they were the fashionable, must-have plant for any aristocratic estate.
Well, I love the rhododendrons
and it gets better and better every year.
The gateway at the end of the drive is a new feature,
added by Lord Bath in 2004.
I felt there wasn't a significant statement of, "You are now entering
"Longleat Park", so that we needed to put up a monument of some kind.
The arch was designed and built
by world-famous water sculptress Angela Conner.
It constantly opens and shuts with the ebb and flow of the water.
It was named the Janus Arch, after a god with two heads.
Janus was a Roman god for the beginning of the year
and the end of the year, or the beginning of the seasons,
the end of the seasons, and here we have the opening
to your visit to the park, and when you go out
that's your season over, you've seen it all. That sort of thinking.
Janus is also responsible for getting the sun up in the morning
and putting it to bed.
Fortunately, today, Janus has done his job well.
To judge which of his favourite places is best,
Lord Bath has brought along his faithful companion, Boudica.
Well, Boudy likes somewhere where when you stop she can drink a little water.
It's rather like there being a bar to stop for a beer or cider.
Next on Lord Bath's list of favourite places
is one that was originally spotted by England's most famous landscape gardener.
Heaven's Gate was the first bit in the park where
Capability Brown set that should be panoramic views and a spot to visit.
For Wessex, this is a very fine view indeed.
At Heaven's Gate, Lord Bath has erected a modern ring of stones to
commemorate the fallen beech trees lost in the great storm of 1987.
The circle is known as Heaven's Henge, but what does Boudy think?
She can find lots of places where other dogs have been and she can run
round smelling her way round all what friends have been up there
and what friends she's still got to meet.
But there's no time to loiter.
There's one more secret spot away from the main estate.
Sheerwater is three miles from Longleat House.
It was built over 200 years ago,
by constructing a dam across the valley.
And a finer picnicking spot you'd be hard pushed to find.
Lord Bath likes to come here for the birds.
I'm fairly sure that is a grebe. There are other grebes.
The ones we have here, I think, it's the greater-crested grebe.
Finding it a tongue-twister to say!
No better congregating place for wild fowl than here.
Lord Bath has been coming here all his life.
I have memories of it from swimming here.
I've actually swum the full length,
but I think I probably had frog feet on,
so I don't know that it was such an impressive feat.
But how is Boudy going to cast her vote?
She jumped in!
It looks like this could be her favourite place.
She does show off when she gets in the water.
She has a swim and shakes herself all over everyone.
But there's one more spot on the estate very close to Lord Bath's heart.
We'll find out later where that is,
and which is the top beauty spot of them all.
We are up at the tiger house and
there's been a little bit of worrying news with Kadu this morning.
She has a claw that has grown into the pad. It's a recurring problem.
Duncan, the safari park vet, is here.
Duncan, about three years ago,
I was with you when you operated on her before to remove this claw.
The big worry with Kadu is that she doesn't ever react terribly
well to general anaesthetic.
Yeah. I think the problem was then, she was actually very ill,
because the claw was infected where it had been growing in,
the pad was infected.
This time we're doing it a bit earlier. She's nice and healthy.
She's eating well. She's not sick.
And also, because of her age,
we've reduced the dose of anaesthetic quite a bit.
Is it literally just a matter of clipping the claw, making sure the wound's cleaned and getting out?
Yeah. Bob thinks one's possibly just touching the pad there,
so we'll probably have to sort of spray that up.
But it will be a case of checking all the claws.
Trim them all back, really. I want
to take a blood sample as well, cos we're worried about kidney function.
She's lost a lot of weight. She's on medication which reduces her blood pressure,
so that she can absorb more of the protein out of her blood stream
when it goes through her kidneys.
I just want to see what level that's at really.
She's 22 years old. She has had, many would say, a charmed life here
at Longleat, been looked after beautifully and a firm favourite
with, of course, Bob and Brian and all of us.
I hate to say it, but do you think the outcome today...
I mean, could things go wrong?
Well, possibly things could go wrong.
The biggest problem I think is probably her kidneys,
but if we reduce the time of the anaesthesia as much as possible,
she's not going to become dehydrated.
If it was a long procedure,
-we'd put her on fluids and give her stuff like that.
But it's going to be as quick as possible.
Hopefully, she'll be back up on her feet within an hour, I would hope.
Great. OK, Duncan. We'll let you carry on and we will keep you posted.
I always thought of the giraffe as one of nature's gentlest giants,
but, apparently, these herbivores can be really rather dangerous.
I'm out in the East Africa reserve with head-of-section Andy Haton
and we've come to have a look at the incredibly graceful-looking giraffes.
Andy, they look quite passive,
but actually they can be quite powerful, can't they?
Oh, yeah. The kick from a giraffe it's been said - I've read -
can decapitate a lion.
And they'll kick with their front feet and their back feet.
I've had a couple of them kick out at me and it's quite scary.
-And they kick very fast.
-That's just incredible.
And I suppose they have to learn to protect themselves, cos they are so
tall and vulnerable really, especially out in the wild.
Yeah, yeah. There are predators that would take a young animal.
You look at the size of the calf out here, Henry.
He's quite a small animal. He would
be no problem for a lion, so you need to be able to defend your youngsters.
And could little Henry give you a good kick?
Yeah, it's quite amusing, because the first couple of times
we go over to them to spray the navel, the cord and everything,
they do try and kick out at you and they kind of just bounce off you.
But you certainly wouldn't want it from one of these bigger guys.
It would really spoil your afternoon, I think!
They'll swing their heads at you as well. Those horns on the top.
-They are solid bone.
Yeah. Just covered in hair.
They'll actually come down and swing their heads. Males will use that.
That's the method they use to fight for the females. And they will really slam into each other.
It's awesome to see when they start swinging their heads around.
-I bet you don't want to be in the way?
Andy, thank you very much.
Here's what's still to come on today's programme.
Kadu's out cold, but her claw is worse than anyone thought.
Lord Bath gets set upon... By a butterfly.
And we're used to tales of life and death from meerkat mountain,
but there's breaking news and Ben will be there to get the latest.
Back over in the East Africa reserve, keeper Dan Gray is about
to give Foggy the llama a haircut.
She's actually the most confident of the three, but
just cos she's the most confident, she's not necessarily the calmest.
She's got trust issues, so she's a little bit wary of us.
Removing her heavily-matted fleece will make her much cooler and more
comfortable during the summer.
Professional shearer Jamie Dickson
has shown Dan how it should be done on Debbie and Lavina.
But Foggy is not exactly keen on the idea. It's a first for her and Dan.
So, understandably, they're both a little anxious.
OK, Dan, are you ready to have a go yourself?
Erm, yeah, possibly. I think so.
OK, the main thing is not to be nervous.
The shears are designed so they're not going to hurt the animal.
-You'll be fine, mate.
-Yeah, it'll be fine.
She's going to go into the same corner she did before.
But Foggy just isn't in the mood for a short back and sides,
and refuses to stand up.
So Dan has no option but to shear her sitting down.
Now, remember to go in just above the tail there.
So if you bring in the comb...
Be nice and easy. So if you just start it up.
There you go.
That's it. Anywhere will do.
You seem to be getting a feel for it. No worries.
I think that's enough for her.
-There you go.
-Sorry about that.
That's a pretty good job. I think you should be proud of yourself.
-Hopefully better with practice.
-Well, that's what it's all about.
You don't start off being an expert.
Well, that's for sure.
This may not be quite the look that Foggy was after.
-Come on, Debs. Good girl.
I think Dan did really well.
From this distance, you can't tell which one was done by who.
-So that's the main thing.
-I'll get better at it hopefully.
Hopefully, it will continue from there.
After all their moaning, the girls seem rather grateful of their new
crewcut and, for the first time ever, can scratch those parts
other llamas just can't reach.
'We're heading straight back to the tiger house now
'because Kadu needs a minor operation to sort out an ingrowing claw.
'The only way to do it is to put her under anaesthetic, and it looks like
'the drug has just taken effect.'
So this is the hi-tech way of checking that she's asleep(!)
Just tap her on the head with a broom handle.
She's looking fairly sleepy.
Do you want to open this one a little bit?
-I think we can crack on now.
Are you happy for us to come in, Duncan? Thank you.
Well, we'll just make sure she's fully asleep, first.
-Get this out the way.
-Do you want me to take that, Brian?
Me and Chris can do the blood.
OK, so Duncan's just having a look here...
This is the problem one, look.
Use that swab, Chris. That's nasty, that.
-See how deep?
-Do they have a quick, like...?
Yeah, they have. Can't really see them there.
I've taken quite a chunk out.
Ah, that's coming.
It's just starting to get a bit infected. That's pretty bad.
It's amazing, actually, she wasn't showing more signs of that sooner.
I know. That's what I mean. She hadn't really complained.
I really want to take as much as possible off to try and...
And will you clip all the others while you're here, just to...?
Yeah. That hasn't got a claw. That's totally lost.
Right. Is that a sign of old age?
I dunno, really. I think she probably lost that through
the years at some stage or other.
Astonishingly thick, aren't they?
These look like the sort of things you would use to trim horses' hooves with.
Yeah, that's what they are, exactly.
I think you can just about see the quick in that one.
Just a little bit, yeah.
You can see her teeth while we're here, look.
Quite worn down. She is an old cat.
She's not got a lot of them missing there.
Pre-molars. That canine's been missing for years.
These canines are all right.
Yeah, that's right, she had...
I might just give the Antisedan.
-And that's the thing that will bring her round, is it?
Cos I'm pretty sure we've got enough time
to get the blood sample and get out.
Yes, this is a slightly nervous time for Chris!
Duncan's just given her the injection that will start to bring her round.
But they still want to get more blood samples.
So the case is, will she start coming round too quickly?
I'm going to give her antibiotics as well. This is a long-acting
-penicillin, just to help clear up the infection in her pad.
I think you've probably got enough EDTA there anyway, haven't we?
Yeah, I would have thought so.
You're a very special girl, you are, aren't you? Mm?
I think what we'll do then now... is sit her up...
on to her sternum.
-Can we trim that up?
-Oh, yeah. Have you got scissors, Tom?
I'll go and get scissors.
-Give her a bit of a haircut while we're here.
There you go, Duncan. There's one there.
I might have to ask you to do me after this!
I could do with a nail cut and hair cut!
She's just starting to show a few twitches and stuff.
She's blinking. I think we probably need to leave her alone soon.
That's surprisingly quick this time.
That was very quick, wasn't it? Very good.
I've got a nice collection of... darts and matted hair.
Do you want a toenail, Bob, as a souvenir?
Thank you. I'll treasure that for the rest of my days.
Well, we will be keeping a close eye on Kadu for the rest of the day
and hope that we will be able to come and see her when she comes round.
But, Bob, Brian, thank you very much indeed.
Kadu, sleep it off and we look forward to seeing you later.
Lord Bath has offered to take us on a tour
of his favourite four places on the 9,000-acre estate.
So far, we've visited the new Janus arch at the entrance to the park,
Heaven's Gate, looking down over a spectacular view,
and Sheerwater, a fishing lake a couple of miles
off the beaten track.
But the last beauty spot is almost on Lord Bath's back doorstep.
It's the butterfly house.
The butterfly house is one of the attractions open to the public.
The climate is hot and steamy,
to make the large tropical butterflies feel at home.
What's your favourite butterfly?
Ooh, I think in England, a swallowtail or a purple emperor.
And when you go abroad, those lovely ones which are a metallic blue,
or any ones with long tails.
I like long tails.
Do they land on you?
-The butterflies, do they land on you?
but it's not to their taste. They avoid me.
They're attracted to the colours!
In his youth, Lord Bath enjoyed
chasing butterflies out in the open, but now, with his very own butterfly
house, he can sit and let these beautiful creatures come to him.
It quite liked my nose!
Well, I do like it when they pay personal attention
and come and perch on my nose. That little...
You know, giving a butterfly kiss.
I always associate that with great affection.
So which of the four delightful spots on the estate has Lord Bath
decided is his favourite?
The Janus Arch, Heaven's Gate, Sheerwater Lake,
or, of course, the butterfly house?
I would import the butterflies and probably sit at Sheerwater, I think.
But I'd like it to be different each day. Not too much of a routine.
But I'd like there always to be butterflies.
But, of course, when you are lord of the manor, anything is possible.
The safari park has an excellent track record
when it comes to breeding.
Over the years, there have been countless animals born, from highly
endangered Rothschild giraffes to the iconic lions.
But there is one little corner that hasn't always enjoyed success.
Meerkats are one of the park's most-loved creatures,
but following their progress has often been a tale of tragedy.
Only this year, keeper John Reynolds lost several to
a mysterious disease, leaving a dark cloud hanging over meerkat mountain.
But things could be looking up.
I'm down at meerkat mountain, where
there's been some really exciting news. The meerkats have had pups.
So this is where the meerkats live?
It is. This is their little burrow inside the mountain, as it were.
-And where are the pups?
-The pups, they're just down here.
Dad's looking after them now. Some are underneath these tubes.
-I can just see a little tail sticking out.
So that's Dad looking after them?
Yeah, there's Mum behind him now.
They're just extraordinary.
Remind me, how many pups are there?
We had five pups born just four or five days ago now.
And they're still obviously in that fragile stage
where the parents are being very protective looking after them.
Exceedingly, yeah. They're very, very protective parents.
They're looking after them, making sure they're all right.
There's always one checking up, babysitting, as it were,
making sure they're OK. Every so often she'll come over, feed them.
Dad's very good at looking after them.
He's always watching them, making sure that none get into trouble or anything like that.
And that extraordinary noise going on there,
is that because the pups are around, or are meerkats always very vocal?
When they're babies, they make as much noise as possible.
You walk in in the morning, you know they're born just by the noise they make.
It's just amazing. How long will they be suckling,
-taking milk from the mother?
-They'll probably suckle for about a month,
then they'll start to ween on to solid food.
They'll still carry on suckling a bit after that, but it's not long
until they're fully weened. It doesn't take long at all.
And obviously, I can't really, cos they're really hidden away
at this moment, but have they got the same stripes and colourings as a fully grown meerkat?
-No, right now, they're really quite...
-We can just see a little face sticking out.
They're very pale - It's only when they get to about nine, ten weeks,
they'll start to get their stripes and their markings.
And it must be really exciting for you as a keeper to see
this addition to your collection.
It really is absolutely incredible for us.
It's taken us a long time to be able to get them to be comfortable
enough to start breeding.
So now that they're having a real go at breeding
and trying to get their colony up, it's really, really good for us.
It's so fantastic to watch them when they're outside bounding
around, playing and learning.
You watch them when they're so young and they're just going around exploring everything.
It's really fun to watch.
Now, these pups are just a few day's old - how long
before they can venture out into meerkat mountain?
What will happen normally is that it'll be about three weeks or so.
They'll come out. They won't go too far from the tunnel.
There'll always be someone watching them.
One of the adults there will be making sure they're OK.
And as they get braver, they'll move further out.
But it doesn't take much to make them scarper back into the tunnel.
I bet. I bet. But eventually, they'll have the run of the place
and feel very at home.
With these special new births, everyone now has their fingers
crossed that meerkat mountain's run of bad luck may finally be at an end.
On the other side of the safari park,
Foggy, Lavina and Debbie are enjoying the cool breeze
on their freshly shorn coats for the first time in years, but what's going
to happen to their discarded coats?
Well, you're about to find out,
as we let you in on a little Animal Park secret.
This is exactly what I'm looking for to stop wind
coming across the microphone.
Stewart, our sound man, has been working on Animal Park since the
first series eight years ago, and on his travels around the
park, he's discovered animal hair makes an excellent wind-gag
for his microphones.
OK. Well, this is fur that these Bactrian camels have moulted.
These guys live in Mongolia, so they're used to extreme weather conditions.
Very, very cold temperatures and high winds. So this is ideal.
This is very thick, soft, wind-insulating fur, so it's great for the radio mikes.
It keeps all the wind off them, so you can hear what someone's saying.
And at this time of the year,
they're all moulting and you can find it anywhere over the park.
This camel fur - it is much, much better than any commercial wind-gag you can buy.
So Stewart has come up with his own range of mufflers,
foraged from all over the park.
That is from a wolf.
I've got camel. Now that's very, very soft.
That's like cotton wool.
And that's goat.
That's not bad.
This is what it sounds like across a microphone. I'll just...
HE BLOWS ON THE MICROPHONE
See? So you couldn't hear anyone's voice above that.
So if I wrap a bit of camel's hair round there...
Now that will keep all the wind out.
Now, when that's on someone...
HE BLOWS ON THE MICROPHONE
That's much better.
So the next time you're watching the programme and you see a little tuft
of white hair - just a little bit sticking outside someone's shirt,
you might know what it is...
llama, wolf, camel or goat.
Earlier, we were all extremely worried as Kadu had to undergo an
operation to remove an ingrown claw.
We've come up to see keeper Bob Trollope and Kadu, and look at this!
Oh, Bob, she's completely come round.
-Still layed down, but she's completely round.
She's been over having a fuss before you come over.
-So is she fully up on her feet and moving around?
-Yeah, she's much more agile than she was, let's say.
You can just see, Ben, there's a bit of green on that front paw.
-That's where the antibiotic spray was put on.
And, as you say, she's lying down, but she's looking quite alert.
There's been no bad effects after the anaesthetic?
No, no. She was a little wobbly, which is understandable,
but I think she's looking forward to something to eat now.
That's fantastic news!
So a really quick recovery, cos I know that you were worried.
-She's, how old? 23?
-She's 22, yeah.
-So we're happy that she come round reasonably quick.
I wonder if she'll just come over and see...
What do you think? Come on, Bob, you're the tiger whisperer here.
And is this something that would happen often out in the wild, that
they might get something like that, an ingrowing...?
Probably not, because they wouldn't live this long out in the wild.
-It's probably age-related because of her arthritis.
Still likes scratching on the trees or the wood that we put in with her
and they're not being cleaned, so it's just age, I'm afraid.
Well, it is great news that she's come round and...
Oh, look at that! I mean, it's hard to believe that they are,
you know, big, very dangerous cats when you see her like that.
I know, we were all very worried, Bob, but we're delighted that she has made such a good recovery.
Sadly, that's all we've got time for today,
but here's what's coming up on the next Animal Park.
This man is a legend of African conservation and used to play with
big cats like they were big softies,
but what will he make of Longleat's pride and what will they make of him?
There's a very big day for the keepers in Pets' Corner,
as one of the most at-risk creatures they've ever had arrives.
But what's in the box?
And there's a disaster in the great house as one of the ceilings
has started to signs of collapse.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
E-mail [email protected]
At the safari park, Kate Humble is there as Kaddu the elderly tiger needs to go under anaesthetic for an emergency procedure.
Meanwhile, Lord Bath tours his favourite parts of the Longleat estate and Ben Fogle learns how dangerous a giraffe can be.