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It's first thing in the morning
and the vets have arrived here at the safari park.
We're at the lion enclosure
and it's a big day for two of Longleat's young lions.
Today, on Animal Park,
there's pillage and mayhem when the otters get a garden makeover.
Lord Bath sets a course for disaster.
And I'll be facing my fear when I get to grips
with a nightmare creature.
But first, two of Longleat's
youngest lionesses are in for a difficult day.
Well, we've come up to the lion house to meet deputy
head of section, Bob Trollope and to see this extraordinary,
expanding lion family, Bob.
I can't believe how many lions there suddenly seem to be.
When we left last year, there were four little bundles, two
medium sized ones and the family and now you can barely tell them apart.
This is one of the little bundles, here.
Look at the size of them.
So they must be almost exactly a year old.
-Yeah. About a year old. Yeah.
-And Malaika and Jasira were
the sort of medium sized ones when we left. How old are they?
They're just getting up to about two years old. Hello, darling.
Now, Malaika is what today's all about, isn't it?
Malaika and Jasira is what today's all about.
They're getting to that age now where, let's just say Dad's taking
-an interest. Obviously, we want to prevent any unwanted births.
So what we're doing is putting what they call a melengestrol implant,
which is a contraceptive implant, into Malaika and Jasira.
OK. Now that sounds relatively simple, but I guess it's not.
What's going to be involved?
Well, the main thing that we have to do
right now is, obviously, separate Malaika and Jasira.
If everything goes to plan, then
it might be five minutes. If these decide to play up,
we could be here for 20 minutes trying to separate them all.
-We'll let you be the brains and we'll be the brawn.
-How about that?
-Exactly. All right, Bob, we'll follow you. Carry on.
The first lion we need to move out is Kabir, the big pride male.
Separating individual lions from the pride is done
using a whole series of doors and gates, inside the house
and in the run that leads to the paddock.
OK, Bob, so what's going to happen out here?
-Well, Kabir is going to be coming out that tunnel, there.
I'm going to be staying up
by the house so I can stop him from going back up the tunnel.
-What I want you to do, once
-he's out here I might have to chase him down a bit...
..is to shut this one which is very important.
-It's just a case of pushing it.
-'While Bob and Ben get ready to man the gates outside,
'head of section, Brian Kent, is showing me the ropes indoors.'
-So you want me to pull this one, is it this one here?
-This one here?
That back slide's now...open.
Go on, Kabir. Out you go.
So we just need to wait for him to decide that he wants to go out.
I think what we need to do is open and shut the door again.
OK. And make a bit of a racket. All right, I shall give that a go.
-Maybe if we walk round the back.
-Shall we try that?
-He might come out then.
-OK. Let's give that a go. Come on.
Come on, look, it's lovely out here, Kabir.
Here he comes. Oh, fantastic.
I'll whiz round, Brian and shut the door...
and tell Bob that he's coming.
Bob, he's coming.
Tell me when, Bob.
There you go.
One out. Six to go.
And this is going to be the really tricky part.
If you open that one up, slightly.
-See what goes through. We don't want that one.
OK. So the one that we don't want has gone through.
If you open it back up again, see if she's going to go through.
-So, what can I do? Come on, come on.
That's it. If we shut that now, all we've got to do now is...
Is separate the mum out.
Got one left here.
-Come on. Come on.
-Out you go. Come on.
-Follow your brothers and sisters. Go on. Go on.
-Well, done, Fogle.
-You're very authoritative.
-There you go.
-Just with animals, Kate.
It's such a complicated change of gate systems, but hopefully,
Kate is now going to get the one we don't want...
-..which is perfect.
We've got to try and persuade Mum out of this patch over here, now.
Yeah. That's it. She's gone.
-OK, Bob. She's on her way.
-I'll take the smaller one.
-You're so unchivalrous.
-That's it. Job done.
Well, that was a bit of a jigsaw, wasn't it?
I'm breathless just by separating them. I can't
imagine what it'll be like with the actual procedure later.
Absolutely. Well, join us in a little bit when Duncan the vet will be here
and Malaika and Jasira will have their little operations.
Longleat's half-mile lake may look
completely natural, but in fact, it's an artificial water feature.
It was designed over 200 years ago, by Capability Brown, England's
greatest landscape gardener, because back in those days, no country
estate as grand as this, would be complete without a boating lake.
Today, the tradition continues. And visitors are always
keen to take a trip round the lake.
It's the only way to get a close-up of Nico the gorilla on his island,
the hippos in the water...
and of course, the ever-playful Californian sea lions.
But the boat trip's popularity has caused a problem.
The queues have become much too long.
The solution was obvious.
Build some bigger boats.
Last year, we joined head warden, Keith Harris and the team,
when they went to check on progress at a boatyard in Warwickshire.
It looks huge. Whether it'll look that big on the lake,
I don't know and how they'll handle.
Longleat's most experienced sailor was there, too. Bill Lord.
This is my first time in the cabin.
I like the look of this.
The trouble with bigger boats is they have bigger bottoms and
the lake just wasn't deep enough.
So, before they arrived, it had to be drained away and a digger
brought in to deepen the shallow parts.
It was a big day when the two new boats were delivered
and put into the water.
But now, the time has come to give them proper names.
They're due to be officially launched tomorrow,
as Lady Bath and Lady Lenka.
Before the big day, Bill Lord nicknamed the Admiral, is giving
the boats a last minute test drive.
Well, it's 68 feet long.
It weighs 27 tonnes.
It's got a beam of about 12 foot six.
And it only draws about two foot six in the water, so it sits pretty high.
You get a very good view. The engine's right in the centre.
It's very small, about 1.6 litres capacity.
That's only about the same as a small family car.
But then, this boat is state of the art.
This is the hydraulics. The whole boat's hydraulically driven.
We even, would you believe, have a windwiper that works.
And we have a cupboard cabin, bilge pumps, PA systems, fuel gauge.
It's all push button stuff, this boat. It's got everything we need.
Smashing piece of equipment. Yeah. Really love it.
Steve Savage is on standby just in case extra hands are needed on deck.
he's an assistant house steward, but he started out on the boats.
40 years ago, I stepped foot on here and I'd just left school.
I worked three months down here before I jumped ship
and joined the Fire Service. But, believe it or not,
it's the first time I've been down here for 40 years.
You know, it was the first thing like it in the country
and to be able to go around and...
see the sea lions and actually everybody feed them...
I used to sell the little buckets of fish and it was threepence old money
Of course, at the end of the day, the sea lions were so fat
they didn't want to eat it and there was fish floating
all over the lake, you know.
It wasn't quite as safe as the boats that we have now.
Everybody would go to one side and then the boat would tip.
The sea lions would perform and everybody would end up
soaking wet, but in those days, they didn't care.
Then there was the time that Lord Bath almost caused a shipwreck.
Oh...on the lake, I bought a boat which was really
to get my children to enjoy sailing on the lake.
I found I couldn't even sail it in the right direction and the nearer
I went to Gorilla Island,
alarms were put up on the estate which I didn't actually know
were being put up, but I suddenly
found there were protection boats being sent to retrieve me.
They, perhaps, were necessary but
I mightn't have found such a good relationship with
the gorillas as I was anticipating.
To make sure there's no
chance of any maritime mishap, the team has been rehearsing.
And the Admiral has plotted every move with naval precision.
Right, now, we've got everybody, hopefully, assembled in front but
we've pre-positioned the boats.
We've strapped them together to make sure that we have stability
and they don't part when they start spraying champagne on them.
They've got a high superstructure
and they're prone to being blown by the wind and if they start to move,
27 tonnes twice is going to move and not stop.
So we've got to make sure that doesn't happen otherwise
we'll have a disaster because it's muddy there...
and they might stick on the mud.
But these new boats are so big and so modern, surely nothing could
go wrong on their maiden voyage.
But, of course, that's what they said about the Titanic.
Back up in the lion house, Jasira and Malaika must each
have an operation to implant a slow release contraceptive.
Now we've got them isolated into separate pens,
it's time for the next stage - sedating them.
-So, these are basically general anaesthetic.
And the idea is to administer them with a blowpipe.
Blowpipe into the muscle of the back leg.
Right, so you'll be aiming for her hind quarters, presumably.
Well, I'll let you get started.
Look at her, she's looking very alert, suddenly.
'Each lion's dose of anaesthetic drug
'has been split into two separate darts.
'That way the darts can be lighter with smaller needles.'
-Ssh, ssh, ssh...
Oh, good shot, Brian.
How long do you think it will take
before she starts feeling dopey?
I suppose in ten, 15 minutes.
-I'll just going to try and get this other one in, quick.
And presumably, they just will
fall out or when she's asleep, we can take them out.
They may just fall out as she's moving around.
If not, we can get them out once she's gone down.
-All right, all right, all right.
-All right, girl.
-All right. That's her done.
-OK. There's the next one.
Now, Jasira, here, is looking a little bit hunched and unhappy.
-She, obviously, has seen what's happened.
-Wants to get out the way.
-So this one could be a bit trickier.
-Ssh, ssh, Jasira.
-That's one gone.
If we look over at Malaika now, she's definitely beginning to look
a little bit dopey. All right.
Well, girls, sleep well and we'll see you in a bit... Thanks, Brian.
Down in Pets Corner, keeper Rob Savin is
about to conduct a very important experiment in the otter enclosure.
The otters are, undoubtedly, one of the most popular animals
with the public, but unfortunately, their enclosure can sometimes become
barren and muddy.
In the wild, these Asian short-clawed otters
live in a variety of habitats, but as their favourite pastime is
to destroy the plants around them, here at Longleat, it's a constant
battle to enrich their lives and keep the enclosure looking good.
But now Rob has come up with a plan.
We're going to get some plants for the otter enclosure.
As you can see, it looks a bit bare at the minute. I've been
digging out a few of the old bits of grasses we had in there,
so I'm going to look for something
to fill a few of these holes and experiment with a few plants.
We want to keep it natural
so we want Asian plants, things that suit these guys very well.
Maybe a few local ones thrown in, I'll see what I can find,
but definitely something from Asia, South East Asia, where these guys
come from and try and experiment with some different types.
Previous attempts to spruce up the enclosure have involved collecting
plants locally from the estate.
But the otters have always found a way to vandalise them.
Rob's plan is taking him to a garden centre,
to choose plants originating from their natural habitat,
which he's hoping will prove to be otter friendly.
He's shown round by owner Diana Walker.
It's mainly they're Asian otters, so looking for
something South East Asia, something that's going to last a little while.
The trouble is, they're such characters that they tear it up and
play with the plants, but it's an experiment, so we just
want ten, possibly up to 15 plants, various sizes, mainly Asia.
-That's quite nice.
-Nice one. Attractive foliage.
-It's called Nandina domestica.
-It has lovely autumn colour, but I
don't suppose the otters will really worry about the autumn colour.
-They do see colours.
So colours would be interesting for them, but smells as well.
Something that smells a bit different, as well.
This is a rather lovely grass.
-Oh, yeah, I like that.
-Nice and thick and bushy.
Kind of similar to what I've just been getting randomly from
the side of the road, to be honest.
-But it is a lot prettier.
-That's quite tough and they
-can really chew it, I should imagine.
-I like that. Yeah.
-And then the bamboos.
I was looking at the golden bamboo. That looks really stunning.
There's a golden bamboo, here.
-Here we are.
Yeah. I like that.
-And that's quite big. I want a variety of sizes.
But Rob's not just looking for plants of Asian origin.
He's also hoping to throw in a few local varieties.
-This is quite pretty.
-This is a Warminster Broom.
-So really local.
-Really local. You couldn't get better than that.
-You couldn't get closer, if we tried.
-Grown in Chapmanslade.
-It's a broom.
-That's quite colourful.
I think the otters would probably
take a lot of this off straightaway, but it would be quite good
for them looking at it and seeing the colours and smelling and stuff.
I think we'll take a couple of these.
We'll load up and see how the otters like them. Good fun to watch.
We'll catch up with Rob when he's back in Pets Corner later,
to find out just which of his plants
survive the otter test and which gets pulled to pieces.
Now, I'm out on patrol with deputy head of section, Kevin Nibbs.
And we've got an important mission with the water buffalos.
-Kevin, what's the plan?
We're doing this today, this time of year when summer's starting,
we get a lot of flies and the poor buffalo
get them all round their eyes and we also get a lot of horseflies,
and when they bite they leave a big mark on them,
so it's more protection for the buffalo than anything.
We try and help them out with a little bit of insecticide.
OK. So we've got the three, is it just the three you've got here?
That's right - one male and two females.
The male is sort of the one...
In fact, we've got a couple of monkeys on the back of one of them.
Is that normal?
It's very normal for us. Yeah. They get on very well.
So they're basking in the sun, presumably in a good place
-to do this.
-That's right, hopefully.
-How do we do this?
-OK. First we try and get them
over here so we've got a bit of their feed, here.
-So all we'll split this into three bowls.
-So split this fairly between the three.
As we're in Monkey Jungle, are we going to be pestered
-by lots of monkeys?
-Hopefully not. They tend not to like this tray,
-so as long as we're on here, we're pretty safe.
-So here we have...
If we can just drop this over the side of the truck and
we'll get our first volunteer.
OK. So just one? Yeah.
Oh, right, we'll drop one at a time, will we?
I reckon. Yeah. See who comes down. They may all come.
-One comes over.
-They may all come.
And have you got a special liquid here like an insecticide?
That's right. This is just a simple insecticide that most farm
animals would have during the summer.
-We need to just suck a little bit of that...
-if you could hold that, Ben?
-Yeah, of course.
Presumably we're wearing gloves cos
-we don't want to get this all over our skin.
It's purely for animals, so it's not really good for us.
Is it just normal flies they're pestered by?
I can see quite a few on its back, there, just between the horns.
Normal flies, you know, round their eyes,
that does annoy them, but sometimes we get
horse flies round here a lot and they bite quite hard.
Horse fly bites are not nice.
They're not nice, at all. So we
just try and get it onto their skin, across their back like that...
-in a nice big long line.
-That was it.
-That's it. She's done.
-OK. The others didn't like the look of that.
They've kind of moved off, so we may struggle a bit next time.
Now, obviously, in the wild, there isn't a nice friendly keeper
to do this to water buffalo.
-What would happen there?
-What they'd normally do is they'd probably
stay down in the cool of the water and hide in the water, a lot.
-Shall I put this down here?
-That's it. Yeah. Anywhere down there.
And hopefully, he'll come over.
-This is Herman, our male.
-Can I try this?
Yeah. If he comes over,
just try and get him, a nice line down his back, if possible.
So, just going back - in the wild, they'd find some water to lie in?
Exactly. And they'd roll in the mud, quite a lot. Be covered in mud.
But we don't have quite as much mud here as they would in the wild.
He's very tentative, isn't he? He's not sure about coming over.
-I think he knows what'll happen.
-OK. I'll hide this down a bit.
Oh, they're really scared of us today, aren't they?
-Is that cos they wind each other up a bit?
-She's probably told him what's going on.
-So who is this?
This one's called Brenda. She's our oldest female.
OK. Oldest being how old?
Nearly 15, 16 years old. So she's a fairly good age for a buffalo.
-How long would they live for, then?
-Probably just maybe 20, 25 years.
It's not a bad life for them, here. This is Herman coming back.
-So this is Herman.
And I'm surprised that it was the female that came
in first, that the male, perhaps, wasn't a bit more dominant and went
-straight to the food.
-This is different for them.
Normally, we'd feed them in the morning, but this afternoon,
it's a little bit different for them. So they're not quite used to it.
I mean, looking at their tails now, swatting away.
That's obviously going for all the flies.
That's right. They do get bothered by them all over their back,
they're very sensitive so they can feel a lot of flies on them.
-Tell me when to go.
-You can probably get in now.
-Do you think?
-Is that OK?
-Is that enough on it?
-That's plenty. Yeah.
So we've got one more to go.
Do you want to fill up the...? Are we driving forward, for this one?
-We might have to. She's quite shy.
-OK. What am I filling this up to?
-Up to about ten mils, Ben.
-Up to about ten mils. OK.
There we go.
So we're loaded and ready.
Put that on the floor.
So shall I go for this one, as well? Do you trust my aim?
I do. Yeah. That should be fine.
-And who is this third one, then?
-This one's called Anya.
And Anya really isn't sure about...
She's the youngest female, but she is very shy of us, as well.
So this could be a patience thing or
we may be able to get her tomorrow if it doesn't come to it today.
That's what being a keeper's all about. Thinking on your feet
and if it doesn't work then you just have to...
We come up with a plan and change it when it doesn't work...
-which is quite often, at the moment.
-Kevin, thank you very much for
helping me out and as we've said, we shall return another day.
Back up at the lion enclosure and all the vets have arrived.
Duncan Williams, Paul Higgs and Sarah Balsden are all going to be
performing the operations on Malaika and Jasira, but the most important
thing to find out is whether the anaesthetic has actually worked.
Bob and Brian are both here. Is there a risk that she could still
-be a little bit alert?
What we're going to do is...
broom handle, going to give her a bit of a tug.
Duncan, while they're testing her...
not much of a reaction, there.
Think she'll be all right, Brian.
Now this anaesthetic, will it last for a long time?
Yeah. It'll probably last for about 20 minutes, half an hour,
before you start getting recovery, probably even longer.
-But even if the procedure did take longer,
we could just top it up by giving her a bit more injection.
But now, Malaika is well and truly out, so the team move in.
She and her sister must each have a slow release contraceptive implant
and the first thing is to shave a patch behind her shoulder blades
where it needs to go.
So, Paul, you're going to be actually doing the procedure.
Why don't you just give her a pill?
Why go through the risk of putting her under anaesthetic?
-Usually, the pill is every day.
And that's not necessarily something we can guarantee,
but this implant will last for up to two years.
-So it makes life a lot easier, that way.
So this is the implant, here.
How does it work, Duncan, this implant?
Does the drug just sort of seep gradually out?
I think that's what it does. It's a sort of silicone pipe and
I think it's obviously permeable and the drug just gets
absorbed at a very low level for, basically, two years.
That's what they recommend they last for.
So, Paul, it's all in... by the looks of things.
Just lying under the skin, now.
-It's very neat.
-So you now just need to stitch up that little hole.
And we're going to hopefully try and do it without getting any sutures
-showing outside the skin, at all.
They are absorbed, of course, so it wouldn't matter if we did,
but it just makes it a little bit less uncomfortable for them.
And also, you've got the risk of
mutual grooming and things, we don't
want to our stitches to be licked out by another lion.
Doing a very neat job there, Paul.
Were you a good sewer at school?
'Suddenly, Malaika starts to twitch.
'But Duncan's not worried.'
This is just the anaesthetic doing this.
She's not coming round.
That's the voice of experience, I know and I've been with you when
you've anaesthetised a lot of cats so I will believe you, but
it does look a little alarming.
In fact, just moments later, the stitches are finished
and the team can safely leave her to come round on her own.
Malaika's all done. Jasira is now having her little procedure.
-Everything going OK, Paul?
While she's out and we have this wonderful privileged view of
being so close to her, I just wanted to have a look at her paws, if I can,
cos I think it is one of the most impressive parts of a lion.
Yes. Well, this, most probably...
these things here...
are the things that do most of the damage. If they're chasing something
like a buffalo, or whatever,
they would hold onto that buffalo by piercing into the skin and
really grip on to it. And that's what they would do with a kill.
With claws that size, you can see why a
-buffalo wouldn't last very long.
You can just feel the ends, there.
-Do be careful cos they are really really sharp.
They really are sharp and that's with no pressure at all.
I mean, they look, even now, they're two years old, but they
almost look too big for their bodies.
Is this a sort of sign that they've still got a bit of growing to do?
-They've got a lot more growing to do yet.
-They are very, very pretty.
It's something quite alarming, even though I know she's completely
under anaesthetic, she's breathing very steadily, but her eyes are open
and even under anaesthetic she just looks so alert, doesn't she?
There's no kind of cloudiness or drugged look, at all.
She looks absolutely on the ball.
Well, Duncan, two very successful operations.
Yep. We'll give her the reversal agent now and reposition her,
make her a bit more comfortable.
And how long do you think it will take for her to come round?
She'll probably come round in half an hour to an hour, I think. Yeah.
OK. Well, we will leave both these girls in peace and we will
look forward to catching up with them again a little bit later.
Thank you all very much, indeed, for letting us be here. Good girl.
Back down by Half Mile Lake, final preparations are being made before
the launch of two brand new boats.
There's just time for some final adjustments.
Hoovering the lawn and swabbing the main deck,
before Lord and Lady Bath arrive to launch the two new vessels.
SEA SHANTY MUSIC PLAYS
They're to be named Lady Bath and Lady Lenka,
after the Baths' daughter.
The shipping forecast is good
and the Admiral - boat driver, Bill Lord, is feeling quietly confident.
Brilliant. Yeah. I'm looking forward to this.
This is the highlight of my year, I think this one is.
We've waited a few years to get these two beasties in place.
Safari park head warden, Keith Harris, can hardly
believe it's all happening at last.
This is almost the culmination of about three years' work,
cos from the time we actually said yes, we're going to have new boats,
to planning, designing, building, getting them here, getting them in
service... I think it's been about three years,
so there will be champagne today, it's not going to go amiss.
And now the VIPs are on their way.
Guests, members of the press and of course, Lord Bath.
There is hardly a detail that Bill has overlooked,
although it's impossible to plan for every potential mishap...
-Did you glue this?
-OK. OK. It's ready.
I name this boat...Lady Lenka,
and may all who sail in her be well preserved and come back safely
and enjoy themselves.
BOAT'S HORN SOUNDS
Christening the bows is just the start of the proceedings.
I declare her open.
Would you like the ringside seat?
It's the first time Lady Bath has ventured on to the boat
since her daughter Lenka and son Sulin were very young.
That's about 25 years ago.
Before we set sail, I have to tell you about safety...
As the oldest seadog they've got,
it falls to Bill to do the commentary.
And the first lovely creature we see is Buster.
Here he is right beside us.
The sea lions are always pleased to see the first boats out on the lake
as it means breakfast is on the way.
They share this lake with the most dangerous animals
we own at Longleat - the hippos.
Lord Bath did get to hold the wheel,
if only for a few seconds, to pose for the press.
Long enough for the boat to start veering off course.
Just give me a good smile on it, sir. That's lovely.
-One more, sir.
-We're going the wrong way.
It never felt as if it was under my command, you know.
I'd be thinking we're heading that way and it didn't when I turned.
For Steve Savage, who worked
on the boats 40 years ago, it's been a day to remember.
-God bless the ships.
-To the boats. To you all.
It was absolutely fantastic. I'm quite emotional about it, really.
It was fun. It was more than fun. It was brilliant.
For the Admiral, it's a relief to have the fleet safely set sail.
The disaster was Lord Bath trying to get the cork out of the bottle.
But, all in all, the day turned out shipshape and Bristol fashion.
And Lord Bath enjoyed ruling the waves, if only for a morning.
I had to live up to the hat.
And almost promptly drove into the side, but he persuaded me to turn
the wheel at the right moment.
I'm about to do something that I've put off for a very long time.
I've come down to Old Joe's Mine, which is home to some of Longleat's
least cuddly creatures.
Head of Pets Corner, Darren Beasley, is of course very cuddly.
But you're going to introduce me to someone who isn't.
Yeah. In here, we have our imperial scorpions. And if you look closely,
there's one right at the back there and one at this side, as well.
Lots of people hate them. I love them.
And I think it's our mission in life to try and get people to love them.
They're ambassadors for the bug world.
I have to say, I have always been a little bit scared of scorpions.
If you walk this way, you don't have to be scared because
we have you, here...
a rather good pair of thick gloves.
-You need to put them on for me.
Really, you've been volunteered,
because we normally have three scorpions on display and today
there was only two on display, cos I have another one in here.
-Look at this beauty.
-Well, she is beautiful.
-Beauty's in the eye of the beholder, Darren.
The thing is, you see, is that they are misunderstood.
Yes, they've got a big stinger on the back which you have
to watch out for. She's more scared of us.
You've got to think that for her, we could be going to eat her.
She has to try and think how she's going to defend herself.
You mentioned the stinger. Just how dangerous is that?
Obviously, depending on the species of scorpion,
they need enough venom to overpower quite large prey.
-Large prey being presenters?
I actually think we have to be a little bit careful.
We've got the precautions. I'll let you wear the gloves.
-I don't want you getting... there is only one Ben Fogle and
we don't want to lose him, today.
-But, of course, the stinger is the important thing.
The stinger, actually, is their main pit of venom.
They can repeat sting, not like a lot of bugs that'll sting,
fly away or just die. This can inject several doses of venom.
I'm just picking her up like this so she, hopefully, feels nice and safe.
I've got the gloves on you, really, as a precaution cos of the pincers.
-So what we'll do is put her on there and then how about this?
-Are you ready?
-Yeah. Do I put the hand in front?
That's it. We don't want her to drop. She's going to feel a bit unsure,
-a bit nervous.
-Can you see?
These are the pincers that... obviously she can bite with these.
-We don't want her to bite you.
-I really don't.
-You're being good.
-And that's why I'm wearing gloves.
And hopefully now, what you're doing is showing the whole world
these aren't the pet you can pick up and pet.
You're not cuddling that tonight when you're watching the TV.
But, in fact, there is nothing to fear.
You know that poor animal there has got more to fear from you.
Its venom here, you know, it takes several hours, 14 or so hours
to recharge that venom, but it can strike and strike and strike.
What would they use their pincers for?
When they're hunting, these are restraining pincers.
These things really are to grab, restrain the prey,
so that bit comes over the top and repeats sting until it's
completely and utterly immobilised and then they have very special sort
of grinding up jaws to rip pieces off and start eating their food.
Now, just imagine I didn't have my gloves on and I got stung.
What effect would it have on me?
There are some scorpions out there that are absolutely deadly.
And if you're accidentally stung by a scorpion,
your life could be in danger. This isn't one of those.
Having said that, I wouldn't want you to get stung.
I wouldn't want to get stung, so when we handle these,
we take the precautions and
we're protecting her as much as I'm protecting you today.
You deserve your medal, today. Well done.
Thank you, Darren. Thank you for not letting my fingers
be pinched and there you go, world. Scorpions aren't so bad.
Earlier, we accompanied keeper Rob Savin to a garden centre
as part of his otter experiment.
He wants to find out which plants are
otter friendly and which they'll destroy.
The Asian short-clawed otter's natural behaviour
is to tear plants apart and use the foliage for bedding in their holt,
even though the keepers regularly provide them with fresh straw.
When the Pets Corner team
have added plants in the past, they've never lasted very long.
But Rob's hoping the selection he's chosen this time, largely
consisting of plants originating from their natural environment,
will be different.
I think they're probably going to go
more for the bamboo, first, because bamboo is something that they've had
before and it's something that would be a very natural plant
and this is one that they'd find in parts of their own wild environment.
What they'll do is they'll try to pull it or break it off as best
they can, drag it in and they'll use it to compact their den and make it
more comfortable, or what have you, because they're a family unit.
They all chip in. They all get involved.
The whole family will help get that nest, that den,
exactly how they want it, leaving a mess out here, but perfect in there.
I think this last one I'm going to put in actually the broom.
That probably will last the least amount of time because it is fairly
flimsy and the flowers on them will probably go really quickly.
But yeah, I expect they'll be straight in here, especially
digging around, making it dirty, generally making a nice mess.
With the plants in place, Rob releases the otters to
let the mayhem begin.
This is working quite well.
A lot of interest on the sedge-like grasses and the bamboos, which is
stuff they're used to, which is what I thought they'd go for, first.
Bamboo, I think they've realised, is very deepset in that pot.
They're having trouble getting at it
which is quite a good thing... They're trying.
They've almost got the grass, the reeds up.
They've almost pulled that out.
But how about his local English variety?
Not too bothered about the Warminster Broom, actually.
They are showing a lot of interest and curiosity and something -
this one here smells lovely because they're sniffing it all the time.
It'll be good if they show a bit less interest
in the plants because we want them to stay there.
We want them to be visibly good. We're going to make this attractive
for the visitors. We have to make it all look nice.
I was slightly wrong in my assumption that they would all
be gone in two seconds,
so they're actually lasting a lot longer than normal, for now.
They've only had 15, 20 minutes but normally, when stuff is in there,
it lasts a great deal less than that.
You're talking five minutes at most.
So, yeah, triple the amount of time.
I think it's been quite good. There's lots of smells there.
It's very enriching for them so I'm pleased for them.
I'm pleased that the plants look really attractive. For the time
being, our enclosure looks a little bit green, so it's really nice.
And I'm sure in the next half a day or a day,
we'll see that they've made a mess.
I know they will, but not yet.
They've proved me wrong just for a moment.
With some of the plants still standing, Rob's experiment seems
to have been a success.
So, hopefully, the days of the otter enclosure being barren, are numbered.
It's been some time now since Jasira and Malaika,
the two lions underwent surgery.
So, Kate and I have come back up to the lion reserve
with keeper Bob Trollope to find out how they're doing.
Now, Bob, this is Jasira. Is that right?
-No. This is Malaika.
-This is Malaika.
-And obviously, much more perky than when we last saw her.
She was pretty groggy, wasn't she?
They both were, weren't they? They both looked incredibly sleepy.
It was obviously too dangerous for them for us to let them out.
Yeah. How long did they have to stay in before you felt
it was safe to let them out again?
We left them in overnight.
We assessed the situation in the morning. So, yeah, she was fine.
She was up and about and she wasn't very happy to see US.
-But yeah, we decided at that time to let them out.
And Bob, I know that one of your concerns was about reintegrating
back into the pride here.
But judging by how close she is to the others, has she settled back in?
Well, yeah. We were more concerned about Kabir,
-because he's a big animal.
And yeah, we were fine.
When we let them out, he just
-sniffed them and took everything in his stride, really.
-Didn't seem too bothered, at all.
-Not too fazed, at all.
And I know that Duncan the vet, one of his concerns is because
the contraceptives that you put in under the skin between the shoulders,
it might have been a place that just by accident, with play,
it might have got knocked or they might have opened the wound up again.
-No signs that that's happened, at all?
-No. It's been brilliant.
The youngsters, they are very
playful and they were when Malaika and Jasira came out.
But no, they were fine. I think, if they had got anywhere near it,
obviously being slightly tender,
she would've turned round and given a slap.
-Those paws would have come out in full force.
-And Bob, Jasira?
Jasira, yes, she's out there.
Could we pop around? Why is she on her own up here?
Cos she's been chasing our tow vehicle around.
THEY LAUGH So she's obviously back on form, too.
Looking great, actually, isn't she?
No, don't stalk us, Jasira, just cos you're cross with us.
But that must be a fantastic sign for you, Bob,
to see them up like this...alert.
And back to normal. Yes. It is brilliant and that's what
-we want to see after an operation.
-And above all, no unwanted lions.
-Well, Bob, I'm delighted they made such a full recovery.
Thank you very much, indeed. Sadly, that's all we've got
time for on today's programme,
but here's what's coming up on the next Animal Park.
There's the little kid goat who was rejected
by her mother just hours old.
Now it'll be a miracle if she survives.
Will Nico the gorilla go bananas for his really fresh fruit salad?
And is this a demonstration of what not to wear?
No. It's an exclusive show of Lord Bath's favourite fashions.
So don't miss the next Animal Park.
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