At Longleat Safari Park presenters Ben Fogle and Kate Humble learn to tell a spur-thighed from a Hermann in a tortoise challenge. Imogen the giraffe has the keepers worried.
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Longleat is home to 12 of these incredible Rothschild's giraffes,
and the keepers are busily preparing for more.
After months of waiting, one of them is about to give birth very soon.
We'll be bringing you all of the news on today's Animal Park.
Coming up on today's Animal Park...
Some ferocious new arrivals bring terror to Longleat.
The baby otters learn some new tricks.
And, there's a battle brewing in Pets' Corner.
I'm so going to be the winner.
-There's no competition in there.
-That's complete rubbish!
The giraffes in the safari park are a highly endangered sub-species called Rothschild.
There are only about 300 left in the world, so the keepers
are doing their best to keep this threatened species alive.
A pregnancy is usually a cause for celebration,
but the latest one has only caused concern.
That's because the expectant mother is Imogen,
and the last time she tried to give birth, it almost killed her.
She's due any day, so the keeper in charge of the giraffes, Andy Hayton,
has been watching her closely.
This morning, he's got two vets out with him - Duncan Williams and Paul Higgs.
They were all there when things went so badly wrong for Imogen.
It's been almost two years since these dramatic scenes in the giraffe house. When Imogen went into labour,
everything seemed normal, but, as the hours passed,
it became clear she was in distress.
Sunday morning, the vet looked at her and the decision was taken -
we would probably have to pull the calf.
We thought possibly it could have been a breach birth
or the head was tilted back so she couldn't physically push it out.
In order to help, they had no choice but to put her under anaesthetic,
but resident vet Duncan knew how risky that could be.
Anaesthetic-wise I think giraffes probably are the most dangerous really, in terms of,
basically, one in three anaesthetics with giraffes ending in fatalities.
When the anaesthetic took effect, the team could get to work.
There were four vets including a special anaesthetist, and keepers came from all over the park to help.
Sadly, Duncan's internal examination
revealed that the unborn calf was already dead
and it soon became clear that it was dangerously stuck inside the womb.
Imogen's life was now balancing on a knife edge.
For any chance of her survival, they had to get the dead calf out.
We're gonna attempt a caesarean just to give her a go.
We can't just decide we're gonna put her down and quit here.
Even if it doesn't come out the right outcome that we want, we've got to at least try it.
The vets worked as quickly as possible to remove the dead calf.
As the minutes turned to hours, Deputy Head Warden Ian Turner began to lose hope for Imogen too.
We've just taken a baby giraffe out of her stomach which is a six-foot odd baby.
So the stitches we're talking like that sort of size and
she's got two lots of internal stitching, plus the external stitching.
She's now been under for four hours plus,
and if the giraffe survived,
it would be a miracle.
The stitches had to be made very strong because giraffes must never lie down for too long.
If they do, the pressure of their own 600kg weight can cause muscle damage.
So when it was time to revive Imogen from the anaesthetic it was vital that she just got straight up.
It didn't look good. Sick giraffes have been known to lie down, give up and just die.
It's one of these difficult situations of how much do you intervene?
Do you let her do it herself, and...
You always worry that you don't do enough and something bad happens and you're blaming yourself.
But a minute later, somehow Imogen found the strength to sit up...
And, finally, to try to stand.
Slowly, over the months that followed, Imogen made a full recovery.
As every Rothschild calf is so vital for keeping the species going,
Duncan, the vet, decided that as long as there was careful monitoring, Imogen could try again.
Sure enough, she fell pregnant.
Having had one Caesarean doesn't automatically mean
that she'll have a Caesarean every time but you can never say it's a certainty, that's the problem.
She's looking big, actually. She's looking
like she's gonna do something fairly soon. Her udder's developing well.
She seems really happy in herself and it's really fingers crossed that
everything goes smoothly. We'll just have to wait and see, really.
With the baby due any time, and as a first-time mum,
it's important for Imogen to be watched round the clock.
So an infra-red CCTV camera has been erected in the giraffe house to monitor her progress day and night.
We'll back to find out more later on.
There are over 900 animals at the safari park.
Many animals within a species look alike
so it's very important that the keepers know each one individually.
For some residents that's obvious, but with others it's much more difficult.
We're up at Pets' Corner with Head of Section, Darren Beasley
and I gather, Darren, that you've got a bit of a challenge for the two of us.
Yeah, we know you both like a bit of fun and we think you can recognise your animals, hopefully.
We'll we're gonna try and set you a little challenge today that we have
-to be able to tell all our animals apart.
Parrots, up in the top they do lions and down here tortoises.
-Well that's easy they've got numbers on their shells!
-Yeah, it's not gonna be as easy as that!
We have different species and different sub-species in here and, in fact, they're all individual animals.
They've all got their own pet names and they have their own characters.
We number them for ease, but we're gonna try and show you some differences in the shell patterns
and hopefully you guys will go away and come back and learn their names,
and what type of tortoise they are, with a bit of luck.
I'm so going to be the winner. There's no competition in there.
-That's complete rubbish!
-Who's my tutor?
You're gonna go off with Sarah and she's pretty hot on the tortoises.
She'll give you some good coaching, but we are gonna win because I'm gonna coach Kate, I'm afraid.
-I'm gonna go and swot up.
-No way will you win, Fogle. Right,
OK, Darren, so each tortoise has an individual shell, is that right?
Yeah, it's really just like our thumb print, really.
Lots of animals have individual markings.
The shell on the back of the tortoise has a different pattern,
colouring, shapes, size - it's the way we identify them, actually.
We take special photographs of them and it's a good way of keeping security of who's who.
So there's an awful lot of tortoises in here.
Am I gonna have to learn, I can't even count them...
No, I think some of the keepers have been here many years and they still
-can't do it, which is why we put Tippex numbers on the shell.
That helps them to tell them apart.
Some of them are very similar.
It doesn't affect... Is it a bit like wearing nail varnish?
It doesn't stop them breathing out of the shell or anything like that?
No, I mean, you sort of hit the nail on the head there.
It is living tissue, that shell.
What we do is put the Tippex there and it does block a few holes.
This has got thousands and thousands of little holes in,
which is for their heat regulation, they soak up the sun.
On this one, there's some very faint lines down here. Can you see these?
Oh yes, almost like rings on a tree.
Totally, and that's really what they are but they don't get a ring
every single year, it depends on the food availability, the temperature,
whether they've hibernated, so it's not an accurate way of ageing a tortoise by any means, but for
every season or growth spurt
they usually get another layer of growth around that shell.
Will size be an indication of how old a tortoise is?
Not really. We say the females are generally bigger than the boys.
-But, in fact, age isn't the thing.
You've got two fairly old tortoises next to each other there.
-Look at the size difference.
Size isn't an issue really.
So it will grow with its shell, it won't shed
the shell like a hermit crab or something like that, it won't move in or grow another bigger shell.
Exactly that. When they're in the egg, when we hatch them out, they're folded in half.
They hatch out, that shell straightens, goes tough and hard
and just grows throughout their whole life.
There's a lot to learn, and luckily for Kate, there's plenty of time for swotting
because in tiger territory, all hell's about to break loose.
For almost 20 years, three Bengal tigers have lived here together like a settled family.
There was Shandi, the famous white tigress.
Kadu, the playful female and Sona, the male.
But last year, old age and cancer caught up with Shandi.
Then, just two months ago, Sona passed away.
Now Kadu is the only one left.
At 21, she's already outlived the normal lifespan of a tiger
in captivity and keeper Bob Trollope is keen to make sure she's happy in the autumn of her days.
She hasn't been the same since Sona died.
Kadu was, for the first day or two, obviously I wouldn't like to use
the word "mourning" but she was aware that she was the only one left.
She did pine for a little bit.
Tigers are solitary animals so they do spend a lot of time on their own.
But having had a partner for 18 years,
you know, she missed him.
But life never stands still.
Now two vans have just arrived in the safari park.
They've travelled from Mulhouse Zoo in Alsace, France,
and it's taken an incredible two days to get here.
On board are three very rare tigers.
They've come to live at Longleat.
It's an historic moment, and a tense one.
Just getting them unloaded into the tiger house is going to be a challenge.
No-one knows how they'll react.
The three tigers are young, little more than a year old.
They're all sisters from the same litter born at the zoo in France.
The slide is up, but there seems to be a communication problem.
What's the French for "Go on"?
"Vous etes arrive a la maison"!
-Deputy Head Warden, Ian Turner, spots the obvious solution.
turn the box round.
It's just as well for the team that these are only youngsters.
Tigers are the largest kind of cat in the world.
The males can reach three metres from their nose to the tip of their tails.
Sandari is surprisingly placid - because she's the first,
it takes a while before she bucks up the courage to enter the tiger house.
One down, two to go, but it's amazing how different sisters can be.
Next it's Svetli.
A bit more spirit, this one.
Bob's been looking after tigers for 25 years, but even he is shocked
by these fierce youngsters.
Er, one of them's fine so far.
One of them's in a grumpy old mood.
Luckily, Chowri, the third sister, isn't in such a bad mood.
In terms of temperament, she seems to be somewhere between the other two...
..or maybe not.
While all this has been going on,
Kadu has been in a separate pen at the other end of the house.
Tigers are territorial animals,
and could fight to the death to protect their own space.
As soon as he gets a moment, Bob checks to see how Kadu is taking things.
She doesn't seem that bothered about it.
She's quite happy, she just thinks she's got noisy neighbours.
She's purring away as normal in there.
She's just thinking that something's a bit strange, a bit noisy next door.
I think they'll be a bit too boisterous for mixing, that's for sure.
Safari park vet Duncan has also come to check on the new arrivals.
I think they look absolutely superb, they're beautiful animals and they're a little bit feisty.
They're certainly not what we're used to in our other tigers.
I think the best thing we can do, I mean, they've had a lot of stress travelling today,
if we can leave them alone. The sooner we do that, the better,
-because they are pretty wound up, I think.
-The three sisters
are going to keep Duncan busy for the next few months.
As they've come from France, the tigers will now have to do six months' quarantine.
But how will these ferocious young tigresses adapt with being cooped up
and how will the keepers cope with them?
There's nearly 40 tortoises in Pets' Corner and to care for them properly
the keepers need to be able to tell them apart.
Today we've been challenged to do the same and Ben thinks he's got it all under control.
Kate, this is how you learn tortoise recognition.
Sarah, teach me everything you know. Who have we got here, first of all?
Here we've got Ronay.
-We've got Winky,
the one with the wheel. Big Ted.
-This is Amos and that's Lady.
Now were you doing that just by the numbers
or are there characteristics that you're looking for?
-I was doing that by the numbers.
I know that I'm not allowed to do that. What sort of things should I look out for?
-I think we know him because he's got the wheel because I know he lost a leg, didn't he?
OK, who was this again?
This is Ronay, this is quite a good one actually for you to learn the difference.
-If you look closely at the centre of her shell, each of these sections are called scoots.
They don't actually line up like a lot.
No, they've got little bits that go up the sides.
It's a really odd shaped shell that she's got.
-That's quite a good one for you to pick out.
I've noticed that these two shells are very different.
Does that mean that they're different types of tortoises?
-Yes, these three here are Herman's tortoises.
Basically, their shell tends to be more gold in colour
and they've got more of a distinctive difference between the black and the gold colours and their shell tends
to be a little bit more wider and shorter to the ground.
Whereas, these two are spur-thighed tortoises.
So, basically, they're got more of a domed shell and they tend to be a bit darker in colour.
While we're talking about the shells, can they feel that?
They can, yeah, they do have feeling in their shell.
They have a blood supply through it so they can feel temperature, pressure and pain in their shell.
This might sound like a daft question, do they have unique characteristics?
Are there any that stand out in your mind?
Some of them are quite feisty and they'll charge around the garden when the sun's out.
There are a few characteristics that are different between them as well.
-So we'll go through one more time, we've got...
Ronay. Yeah. She's the one with the irregular pattern down the middle.
-That's Lady, number three.
-And Big Ted.
That's the biggest one of the group, that's quite an easy one to remember.
Big Ted, we've got to win this competition, honestly.
Kate, you don't stand a chance.
Tortoises are Darren's pride and joy but he was over the moon
when the first baby otters in 30 years were born in Pets' Corner.
So imagine his reaction when a second litter was born only months later.
I'm never gonna understand it.
In all the years I've worked with animals, it's odd that we go such
a long time without anything at all, and we really wanted baby otters
before now, and, lo and behold,
we got two complete beautiful litters in quick successions.
The only thing is - what's gonna happen now?
Are we gonna have two litters every year? We're gonna have to expand, aren't we?
We're gonna have to have rubber walls here, but it's a wonderful position to be in and we're really happy.
The four youngest pups are now eight months old and nearly fully grown,
though they're still learning some basic skills, like getting to grips with their food.
What we're feeding them at the moment is some guinea fowl eggs.
We collect these as surplus from the draft reserve, which is great.
We boil them up.
They've all got very good appetites, they're all very playful and they all juggle. Oh! They all like to play.
And Darren is hoping the family will keep on growing.
Obviously, the plans now really are all for the future.
We've heard of wild groups of Asian otters living in groups of up to 20,
and so we'll try and do that. We'll increase the space of this pool.
We've got to plan for the future and say, "Look, if mum has another two litters, at what point do we stop it?
"What point do we stop her having babies?
"And can we keep supplying enough food to keep these going?"
They're eating machines.
But otter keeper, Rob Savin is happy to oblige by spending more time feeding them.
I'll go and get them things from the lake occasionally.
We've got some scallops for them right now which they open very, very easily.
They'll use their skills on them, especially the adults.
The youngsters will learn off of Mum and Dad and the older children.
Also when they're searching for their food they've got very nimble paws.
What they'll do, if they've got any gaps in rocks, or logs, or branches,
or anything like that they'll put their paws down and feel around.
They can't see what they're doing. Their head is usually up here and they're feeling for their food.
-Now there are so many, it's getting harder for Rob to know which is which.
These four are gonna be really, really tricky.
I'm gonna take lots and lots of ID photos and then scroll through
on a computer and try and find little differences in their faces.
All of them, bar Dad, have got a pink nose.
At least two of the little ones look like their mum.
I was looking at them the other day and I thought, "You look just like your mum, and when you're bigger,
"it's gonna be very difficult to tell you apart."
They are, at the moment, just very slightly smaller, just recently been named, actually.
We've got Cormay, Rugan, Tika,
and somewhere over the back, we've got Malaya as well.
Understandably, the otter family are proving a favourite in Pets' Corner,
not just with the public, but also with the keepers.
This really, to be honest, is one of the many bonuses, you know.
My hobby is my job and I've said that before and I'll say it again, it's great fun coming here.
This is what we do. You have so many sad things working with animals that happen sometimes, these are what keep
you going for the next day and the next day and the next day.
My way of thinking, seeing this happy family group of otters, this really is well worth...
it's worth getting out of bed and coming to work every morning just to see this.
Time for Darren to tear himself away from his beloved otters.
He's been called on to judge the tortoise showdown
and see whether we can tell them apart.
Well, we're here at Pets' Corner. It's very tense.
We're here with head of section, Darren Beasley and keeper, Sarah,
and we've been swotting up furiously to see if we can identify one tortoise from another.
It's the moment of truth, Darren.
-Do you want to start?
We will start. One's coming straight across here.
Now remember we had the numbers on, so I'm hiding the numbers.
OK. This is a big one, it's got quite a domey shell,
-so I would say it's a spur-thigh.
Quite high ridges on this shell with a dent here,
so I would say this is Tom.
Not gonna give you the answer yet.
My turn. Are you gonna pick one out for me?
OK. Let's have a look.
A bit smaller than the rest.
Come on, Fogle!
I remember, this is where the shell doesn't meet up
and it's got a little bit of shell that goes inbetween which means this is Romey...
Are you allowed to tell me now?
-I don't know, am I?
OK, well, you keep tabs. OK?
-OK. Right, they're both pretty much the same size,
but Sandra was the one with the brighter shell,
and Dawn was the one with the very pronounced rings on the shell.
So I think that's Sandra and that's Dawn.
-Beat that, Fogle!
-OK, Sarah, give me another one.
-I can't believe you got that one!
It's the one with the wheel.
I don't have to be as scientific as you, Kate. With a wheel, er, Wonky?
Winky? Er, Wheelie?
Don't look at me! I'm not gonna win your competition for you.
-Another big one but with a very different shell shape, slightly tips up at the back here.
It's also a very different colour.
This isn't a spur-thigh tortoise.
-It's a Herman's tortoise.
And this is Topsy.
I wonder who was teacher's pet at school? OK, Sarah.
Come on, next one.
OK... Now, this shell is not as dark as the other one...
and it looks like a Lady. Lady.
-I'm gonna go for Lady.
-Well, I've only got one left, Darren.
This one has got to be George and the reason that I say that is that George was the one with this classic
kind of starburst or paint-drop on the top of the shell, but it's much smoother than Tom's shell.
So, I think this one is George.
OOH! OK, Sarah, there are two more to go, I think. Right.
-They're quite similar, these.
Can I just do a quick comparison?
I think this is Amos and this here...
is Big Ted.
-Doesn't he look like a Big Ted to you?
-He does. Definitely.
He's probably called Winky, though, or Wheelie or Wonky.
OK. So, Sarah, how did Ben do?
A couple nearly got right, but, more or less, five out of five.
More or less five out of five, what does that mean?!
-He got there in the end.
-I got there in the end.
Beat that, Humble.
Well, five tortoises, tricky job...
outstanding, top of the class.
Gold star, names exactly right, pronounced right.
The winner and the champion of the tortoise identification test is our Kate. Well done.
-Thank you, Darren.
Thank you both very much, indeed.
We will never ever fail to identify these tortoises ever again.
Will we, guys? Especially you.
Which one's this one again?
I'm racing up to the giraffery after an urgent call from Andy
with some dramatic news about Imogen.
Last time she tried to give birth, she nearly died.
With her new baby due any day now, everyone's been desperately worried.
The entire park is on tenterhooks.
The keepers have been up all night and I'm really anxious to know what's happened.
Hopefully good news, Andy...?
-We've got a baby giraffe, Imogen's actually done it.
Oh, that's fantastic!
I know you don't really want us to go in at this stage.
Yep, we always err on the side of caution and let Mum and baby bond, especially in this situation.
She's a first-time mum. Let her get on with it and bond with the baby
but she's doing brilliantly. It's just total textbook.
That's such good news, and the camera, did it get anything?
-Yes, it did. We can actually see the birth.
-Can I have a look?
Yes, sure. Just turn the TV on.
Turn the TV on. OK, let's see.
This is truly a special moment,
as it's the first time the keepers have filmed a giraffe giving birth alone.
There she is. No sign of baby yet, but clearly looking quite restless.
Yeah, you can see her going around in circles and agitated. She's quite a calm female anyway.
Women, when they're about to give birth, do feel quite restless, quite uncomfortable.
Presumably, it's sort of alleviating that discomfort?
They don't give a huge amount away.
-Because instinctively if they're flailing round and looking
-like they're distressed, every predator within the vicinity is gonna go like, "Oh, cool."
-They've got to hide it.
-They've got to hide it.
A couple of hours later and things are really starting to happen.
So is this sort of like, again, the human equivalent of waters breaking?
-This is it. And sure enough, just minutes later, the baby is on its way.
There's a leg. There you go. You can just see a leg come there.
-Look at that. That's amazing.
-Here's the calf, look.
You've got two front legs now.
-Look at that!
-There's the head.
-Oh, my goodness.
It does seem extraordinary that giraffes give birth standing up.
It's a big drop for a baby.
-It's a kind of a smack on the bum.
If the bag hits, if the bag is still around the nose it will break the bag and also as the calf hits the ground
we have heard them, "Huh!" as they hit the ground.
So it's like a human baby where they'll slap them on the back.
-Absolutely. There you go.
-There it goes.
Oh, my goodness, that's fantastic.
-Let's see Imogen's reaction to the calf.
This is a crucial time, presumably.
This is the time where you're really nervous because will this
very first reaction tell you whether Imogen's gonna be a good mum or not?
Yeah, I mean, you want her to get in there pretty quick.
She didn't freak out. She kind of knows what to do.
-It looks like she's licking it.
-This is all important, Kate.
-All this stimulation, the licking, the cleaning of the calf, the bonding...
-Is he just...
-There he is.
-There he is.
-The first kind of wobbly steps.
Oh! Look at him.
She's just standing there so calmly, so cool.
Not fretting, not jumping around. He's trying to feed now, actually.
He is. And, again, that first suckle - absolutely crucial?
Absolutely, yeah. Sometimes you'll get a problem with young females.
She's actually trying to pull him in underneath her.
She knows so well what to do and this is the amazing thing,
it's an instinctive thing she learnt by watching the others, what she has to do and she positions herself...
-Look at her.
-..over him so he can feed.
This is absolutely incredible.
-It's so nice.
It's so nice to see, it really is.
This is kind of what it's all about.
It really is, and Imogen of all of them.
That is amazing, Andy, congratulations.
Really, really good news and I hope they continue to do really well.
I can't wait to see them. We will, of course, be keeping you updated with this little ones progress.
You've got to think of a name, of course.
-And it's H this year as well.
-It's an H year. OK.
-Thanks, Andy, really good news.
I'm out in the new area with deputy head of section, Kevin Nibbs.
This extraordinary sight of your three rhino just sunbathing...
Exactly, we've crept up on them really quickly but they haven't moved an inch, really.
I have to say in all my time here I don't think I've ever seen them quite so laid back.
-Is that the heat?
-Partly, yes. They do like to sunbathe.
When it gets really hot they'll just lay down and chill out.
They've found a nice spot without much grass there, so
that means the insects won't jump out and get them too much.
I think they've found a nice spot there to lie down and have a sleep.
Does this mimic what they might do out in the wild in Africa when it gets very hot?
Exactly, yeah, they're more active in the morning and late afternoon and in
the heat of the day they'll just lie down.
Sometimes under the trees, sometimes just here just to chill out and have a bit of a snooze.
They seem incredibly docile allowing us to get this close
to them but these are potentially very dangerous animals, aren't they?
Exactly. They've been with us for about three years now.
When they came they were very, very boisterous.
They've calmed down a lot in that time.
They're happy with each other's company and they don't mind cars.
They've seen the cars and they've seen us every day. Again,
they're very happy just being here, chilling out.
So they're well at home in the West country?
-Kevin, thank you very much.
Here's what's still to come on today's programme.
Three ferocious sisters get up close and personal.
They are so powerful and so quick, they'd kill you in seconds.
The water buffaloes are under attack...
Shall I go for this one, as well?
-Do you trust my aim?
-I do, yeah.
And find out what happens when our new arrival ventures out for the first time.
Back at the tiger house the three youngsters from France are being kept in quarantine.
Only a handful of staff were allowed to have contact with the tigers
and once a week, Duncan the vet, comes to do a health check.
So I have to check them every week, make sure that they're all healthy, really.
Not showing any signs of illness, such as rabies.
They're in rabies quarantine because they've come from a country that's got rabies. They came from France.
They have to have a six month quarantine
period because the incubation for rabies is quite a long time.
It can be even longer than that. So that's the reason.
Kadu, the elderly tiger who's lived here for nearly 20 years, has also had to go into quarantine.
She's been kept in her own pen and not yet misxed with the youngsters,
but Bob is pleased as to how she's coped so far.
Well, Kadu is Kadu.
She's our little favourite.
We had a couple of months when she was on her own while we were waiting for these to come.
Now she's got three new friends.
Because quarantine restrictions are so strict, our crew must stay outside the tiger house.
Right... See what we're doing here.
This is why I've got the camera because we've got the film crew out there, who aren't allowed in.
Next door is Sandari.
The three have kept the names they were given in France where they were born.
What have you got there? Oh, ho, ho...
Sandari is turning out to be a big kitten.
There you are.
-Further along are the two ugly sisters, Svetli and Chowri.
-Hello, my darlings.
They were very grumpy when they arrived five months ago and their characters haven't really changed.
No, sit... Sit.
You're fogging up the lens now.
This is Svetli. I know.
Back with Sandari, Bob wants to get a good, close shot of her claws.
I want to see your claws. Softee...
These tigers have claws like knives, four centimetres long
so that they can rip their prey to sheds in seconds.
May be quick.
But Sandari is just not that kind of girl.
What are you doing, silly? Eh?
What's this? Something to eat?
Bob needs to build up a bond with all the newcomers and one way to do that is with food.
We'll be back to see if they bite the hand that feeds them a little later on.
I'm down at Pets' Corner with deputy head warden, Ian Turner,
and this extraordinary bit of kit, which is what?
It's a scratching post. It literally started off...
we had some lion cubs up the yard which I used to look after and we got this scratching post in for them.
-They got bigger, they went away.
-So I took it home, my six cats...
and it's been at home for 20 years.
-I've just lost the last cat now so now we're donating it to Pets' Corner for the ferrets.
So it's got a lot of cat smell and stuff on it, so hopefully it should be quite good for them.
OK, do you want me to help you get it in? Is it quite heavy?
It's not that bad but it's quite bulky.
Right, where shall I put it, Ian? Right at the front here?
Put it down there and then the public can get a view of them.
I'll just move one from underneath.
There we are, already inquisitive ferrets.
Why is it important to bring new things into the enclosure?
-They're not exactly short of stuff. They've got lots to play with.
-It's just to keep them active.
They're a very inquisitive animal, very intelligent and they just like to play in things.
It's all environmental enrichment for them.
It gives them something else to do besides what they've already got in the pen.
They've got tubes.
They love climbing through tubes.
This is just an added extra bit.
Different smells on it to give them a bit more to do and look at.
So it's all about keeping brains active, body active and that means a healthier animal?
-Correct. Absolutely right, yeah.
-No-one's coming over yet.
-Shall I see if I can get one and see what they think?
-There's one just over there.
Let's have a look and see what you think of this.
Are they climbers, ferrets?
Yeah, they're good at climbing down drainpipes.
-This is why we've got pipes in here.
It's all the next smells, look.
Ferrets aren't actually a wild animal, are they?
No, they're domesticated. Aren't you?
So their closest rival... look at that.
So the closest wild relative of a ferret would be what?
A bit like mink.
But these were bred specifically for hunting, mainly...?
Yeah, for going after rabbits.
Do they make good pets or are they high maintenance animals to keep? Are they good animals to keep?
-They make good pets if you look after them properly.
You need to handle them a lot because otherwise they can be quite aggressive.
-They've got a nasty bite when they want to.
And they like lots of space, presumably?
Lots of space, lots of things to do, lots of playing stuff to do and they like to be handled a lot.
The more you handle them the better.
-I say, look, they're good at climbing.
-Yes, it's fantastic.
They're incredibly agile, aren't they?
As you say, very athletic, they love to kind of move around and get into things. These amazing lithe bodies.
I'm just gonna pick you up, sorry, I know you are just exploring.
Look at this. They do literally bend in half, don't they?
That's right, yeah. Any little nooks and crannies they go down,
down your tops, your jumpers, they'll crawl into anywhere.
Are they one of the favourites at Pets' Corner, do you think?
-Do people love them?
-Definitely - love them and they can handle them. People just love to handle animals.
They say the more you handle them the better. And they are so bendy.
One of the things about ferrets that is a common criticism is they do have quite a strong smell.
You can smell a ferret from quite a long way off.
There's a definite odour to them.
It's not as bad as wolf, I can tell you. There is a strong smell.
-You wouldn't want them in your house, probably.
You'd want to keep them in a pen outside and then you can bring them in to play with inside.
It's amazing, it's almost like they're trying to dig through and uncover what's underneath, isn't it?
Well, we've brought in this lovely new scratching post but if you have
a look at Gary, our sound man here, he seems to be much more interesting than the scratching post.
Gary, you've been besieged!
The scratching post isn't nearly as interesting as the crew.
The same difference, all new smells.
They've never smelt the crew before, they've all got different smells on
from their wives and families and stuff - all something new to them.
I think they're gonna be very happy ferrets with their new toy.
Ian, thank you very much indeed.
We're gonna leave these ferrets to explore.
Imogen's first baby, who we witnessed being dramatically born
on camera in the middle of the night, is doing well.
It's a boy and he's been named Henry.
He's spending his first few days in a small paddock next to the giraffe
house with his mum and Jollie, the granny of the herd.
Part of the reason for having them up here to start with before they go out
into the drivethrough is we really want to see the calf and mum bond.
You know, be right on her heels because out in the drivethrough, there are other animals around.
In a giraffe environment we're pretty confident no harm will come
to the youngster, but we can't guarantee that when you have zebra that sometime hare around.
There's ostrich, camels, llamas out there.
So what we want to see is that calf following Mum everywhere and really seeing its mum as its protector.
Its whole world is centred around its mum.
The calf is four days old and so far he's been doing all the right things.
So now the time has come for him to go out and meet the gang in the East Africa reserve.
# Baby I love you But if you want to leave Take good care
# Hope you'll make a lot of nice friends out there
# Just remember there's a lot of bad and beware
# Oh, baby, baby, it's a wild world
# It's a hard to get by just upon a smile
# Oh, baby, baby, it's a wild world
# I'll always remember you Like a child, girl... #
Because there are so many potential dangers on his first day out,
keeper Carinne Hill is keeping an extra special eye on him.
It's just lovely to see him out and about with Mum.
All the other giraffes are taking an interest in him.
Giving him a bit of attention and stuff, it's absolutely lovely.
After her Caesaerian and things we weren't sure how things would go,
but absolutely lovely to know she can carry full-term, have a normal, healthy little calf,
and that she's showing really good maternal responses as well,
because it's her first time.
Really, really good. Really, really thrilled.
She's a really cool mum, actually,
but then she's seen a lot, she's an older mum.
She's starting quite late breeding, so she's seen a lot of babies born.
She knows the score.
It's another Rothschild giraffe.
There's 300 left.
They're very endangered. He's a pure Rothschild giraffe. He's a male.
He's gonna be a breeding male in the future. He's important, you know.
This was why the risk was taken with Imogen to breed her
because every animal we get out of this particular group, this herd,
are important to Rothschild in general.
I'm still out on patrol with deputy head of section, Kevin Nibbs,
and I'm about to help out with an important mission with the water buffalo.
-Kevin, what's the plan?
-This time of year when the summer's just starting,
we get a lot of flies around here and the poor buffalo get them around their eyes and we also get a lot
of horseflies as well and when they bite they leave a big mark on them.
It's more protection for the buffalo than anything, really.
So what we're gonna do is try and help them out with a little bit of insecticide.
OK, is it just the three you've got here?
That's right, we've got one male and two females...
In fact we've got a monkey on the back, 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 along very well.
So they're basking in the sun, presumably in a good place to do this?
-How do we do this?
What we need to do first is try and get them over here.
-We've got a little bit of their feed here.
So we'll split this into three bowls.
-We'll split this fairly between the three?
Bearing in mind that we're in monkey jungle, are we gonna be pestered by lots and lots of monkeys?
Hopefully not, they tend not to like this truck so whilst 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, we're gonna drop one at a time, are we?
I reckon, yeah, see who comes down. They may all come down.
Then one comes over and you've 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 suck a little bit out. If you could hold that for me.
Of course. Presumably we're wearing gloves because you don't really want to get this all over ourselves.
That's right. It is purely for animals.
It's not really good for us.
Is it just normal flies that they're pestered by?
I can see quite a few on its back there just between the horns.
Normal flies round their eyes, that does annoy them.
Sometimes we get horseflies round here quite a lot and they actually bite quite hard.
-Horsefly bites are not nice.
-They're not nice at all.
So we 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.
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 normally do is stay down
in the cool of the water and hide in the water a lot.
-Shall I put this down here?
-Just anywhere down there. Hopefully he'll come over.
-This is Herman, our male, by the way.
-Can I try this?
Just try and get a nice line down his back if possible.
So just going back, if in the wild they'd find some water to lie in?
Exactly, yes. They'd roll in the mud quite a lot and be covered in mud.
We don't have quite as much mud here as they would in the wild.
He's very tentative, isn't he, not sure about coming over?
I think he knows what's gonna happen.
I'll hide this down a little bit.
Really skittish today! Is that because they wind each other up a little bit?
-They do, yeah. They do. She's probably told them what's going on there.
-So who is this?
-This one's called Brenda, she's our oldest female.
-Oldest being, how old?
-Nearly 15 or 16 years old, so she's a fairly good age for a buffalo.
-How long would they live for, then?
Probably 20-25 years, so it's not a bad life for them here.
I'm intrigued - what's the plan now? We've two water buffalo that don't want to come anywhere near this,
and we've got the already vaccinated one gobbling up all their food.
-Do you have to think on your feet here?
-Just patience, I think.
We might have to move off in a sec.
-Here's some coming back.
-This is Herman.
I'm surprised that it was the female that came in first and that the male, perhaps, wasn't a bit more
-dominant and went straight to the food.
-That's right, this is slightly different for them.
Normally we 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 quite a lot 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 him now, I reckon.
-Do you think?
-Yeah. That's brilliant.
-Is that enough on it?
That's plenty, yeah.
We've just got one more to go.
Do you want to fill up?
Are we gonna drive forward for this one?
I think we might have to, yeah, she's quite a shy one.
OK. What am I filling this up to?
Up to about 10mls, Ben.
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.
-Who is this third one, then?
-This one's called Anja.
-Anja really isn't sure about it.
She's the youngest female, but she is very shy of us as well.
This could be a patience thing or we may be able to get her tomorrow if it doesn't come to it today.
Is that what being a keeper is all about, thinking on your feet and if it doesn't work first time...
Then we come up with a plan and change it when it doesn't work, which is quite often at the moment.
Well, Kevin, thank you very much for helping me out and as we've said we shall return another day.
Back in Tiger Territory, the three young new arrivals
are still in quarantine, but have been let out to stretch their legs in a specially constructed paddock.
It looks like the girls are loving it.
# We move like caged tigers
# Oh, we couldn't get closer than this
# The way we walk, the way we talk
# The way we stalk, the way we kiss
# We slip through the streets while everyone sleeps
# Getting bigger and sleeker and wider and brighter
# We bite and scratch and scream all night
# Let's go and throw All the songs we know...
# The Love Cats! #
The tigers come into the house at night
and that gives Bob an opportunity to try to build up their trust.
He has to teach them to take chunks of meat from a stick
so if they ever need medication, it can be easily given in their food.
It's no surprise that Sandari, the nice sister, has got the hang of it already.
But now for the two grumpy sisters, Svetli and Chowri.
Good girl. That's another achievement.
A few weeks ago
they wouldn't come up to us, but now...
you keep on breathing on that, do you?
Now, I've found they will all come up and take meat off the stick.
This is also a good way to give them a dental check-up.
The teeth are in perfect condition.
But what about the elderly tiger, Kadu?
The last survivor of the old gang.
She's still here in the house, and her teeth are not so good.
Most of her teeth were left in cars
that she's bitten over the years, I think. So, we're gonna see her.
There are so many comparisons.
You look at Kadu's eyes,
they're going a bit misty now.
Everything about the new tigers,
it's just like a younger version of Kadu.
It's nice to be able to compare different age spectrums
from most probably one of the oldest tigers in the country
to some of the youngest ones.
Whether any of the three youngsters ever become part of the family remains to be seen,
but Bob's unlikely to be inviting them round to tea in the near future.
They'd kill you in seconds. They would, honestly.
They are so powerful and quick, that's one thing that...
I suppose to a certain extent, we've been complacent with the old tigers.
They are slow,
but these, you can walk along the corridor,
and the nastier ones will just fly at you.
You get a bit of a shock, because it puts you back into perspective that they are wild animals.
Their main aim is to get you. You're a food source to them, aren't you?!
Although the new tigers are exciting, they clearly haven't replaced Kadu in Bob's heart.
She's still my favourite, no matter how nice these ones are.
There are lots of new animals at the park,
but I've come inside to discover some that have been hiding away in the libary for generations.
Longleat House is over 400 years old and crammed with thousands
of treasures, many of them behind the scenes where I am now.
Included in that collection are 40,000 books, many of them still to be catalogued and that job
falls to assistant librarian Dr Rosemary Foreman. Morning.
-How are you?
-Very well, thank you.
-That is a lot of books you've got to go through.
Yes, I've been working here for 2½ years already and I think I've got about another 15 years to go.
-So tell me a little bit about this one.
-It's by a Swiss zoologist
called Conrad Gesner, and it's regarded as the most important book on zoology from its period.
He tried to bring together a compendium of everything that
was known about all the animals at that point.
Here, for example, we've got...
Some extraordinary things, I can tell that up there must be a giraffe of sorts.
It's a sort of giraffe, but look at the size of it.
And it's called a camelopard because they thought a giraffe,
which they'd never seen, was a cross between a camel, long neck, and leopard, spots.
Today there's no confusion about what giraffes like Imogen look like.
Safari parks mean we can learn about animals from all over the world,
but 400 years ago, it was a very different matter.
Wow, look at that. He kind of looks like the lion from the Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe, doesn't he?
-So this would have been the very first time
that any of these creatures were actually documented in print?
It's the first accurate documentation of them, or as far as they knew.
What I think is really interesting
is this book also contains mythological animals like dragons.
-Can I show you a dragon?
-Yes, please do.
-This is it?
-Yeah. It's lovely, isn't it?
-It's clear that the boundaries between exotic animals, which most people have never seen,
and mythological animals, like a dragon, were very blurred.
People believed in dragons just as much as they believed in giraffes.
There's plenty of exotic animals around the safari park but Dr Rosemary Foreman's
picked out the best from the library to put them out on show.
Look at all these different creatures. How did you decide what to put in here?
I looked for pictures of animals that you can see in a safari park today.
My eyes are draw to this over here.
-I'm assuming that's supposed to be a hippopotamus?
-That is a hippopotamus.
A very scary hippopotamus according to that illustration.
That dates from 1682.
And how would they have come up with a drawing like that?
It looks like a cross between a dragon and a hippopotamus.
They'd clearly never seen a hippopotamus.
In fact, one wasn't seen in modern Europe until 1850.
I suppose looking at it, if you imagine the report came back it was a water dwelling beast with enormous
teeth which they do have, hence that's how the fangs appeared on the illustration.
-So how long will these books be on display here?
About three months, and then we'll change them and put some more out.
So you get to look through even more books, come up with more stories and
find more illustrations and the stories that go with them?
-I hope so.
-Lucky you. Rosemary, thank you very much.
We're out in the East Africa reserve with head of section, Andy Hayton,
and just over there, presenting her bottom, Andy, which isn't great, is Imogen, new mum, with little Henry.
Looking like they're fitting in beautfully.
To be honest, Imogen is the best giraffe mum I've seen up here.
-Better than Jollie.
She is absolutely incredible.
I mean, he's such a miracle baby, really. That should never have happened.
Absolutely, she went through the pregnancy and she's absolutely breezed it.
It's great, she's a breeding female now.
It looks like he's slotted beautifully into the rest of the herd.
Incredibly relaxed, they look like he's just been part of the family for years.
It's nice, giraffe really love babies.
They're all like these maiden aunts that all coo and cluck
over babies and you get all the young females like, "I'm looking after him.
"I'm hanging round with him." They get all over excited when you first put the babies in.
Imogen is just the most attentive mum, ever.
-Aw, it's such a happy scene.
-It really is and Andy, for you, another success story in your book.
You've had such a fantastic record of breeding here, and this is another one.
This is the best birth for us, or for me particularly,
because Imogen's done it. She can go on and have calves now. We know she can do it.
It's a perfectly healthy little calf and she's a breeding female.
She's gonna do what she's designed to do.
Well congratulations to you and everyone at the giraffery, they're a credit to you, they really are.
Look at that, that is a fantastic scene.
Well, sadly, that's all we've got time for on today's Animal Park
but this is what's coming up on the next programme.
Just moments before letting them out, the new tigers attack.
-Lord Bath takes a Titanic wrong turn.
-We're going the wrong way.
-And, Winston the rhino kicks up a stink.
-What does this involve?
This actually involves dung.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
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At Longleat Safari Park presenters Ben Fogle and Kate Humble learn to tell a spur-thighed from a Hermann in a tortoise challenge. Imogen the giraffe has the keepers worried as her due date approaches, and three of the most dangerous cats in the world go into quarantine.