Episode 2 Animal Park


Episode 2

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There hasn't been a new tiger wandering around the safari park

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here at Longleat for 18 years now, but all that is about to change.

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For the past six months, three brand-new tigers have been spending quarantine time in this building

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over here, but now their bedding is being destroyed.

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The quarantine has been lifted and, for the very first time,

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these tigers will be released into the park.

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Coming up on today's Animal Park.

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Moments before their release, the ferocious tigers go on the attack.

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Wow!

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TIGER ROARS

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Oh, my gosh!

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We try to catch up with some of the fastest land mammals in the world.

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And keeping bats is easy, until you have to catch one.

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It's been six months since the three young tigers arrived at Longleat

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from a zoo in Alsace, France.

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They came to join old favourite, 22 year old Kadu.

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But these youngsters have a little more bite.

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Although they're sisters from the same litter,

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they have very different personalities.

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While the one named Soundari is a real pussycat,

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Svetli and Shouri are fierce as anything and as wild as can be.

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SHE SNARLS

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Because the girls came from abroad,

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they've been kept in quarantine since arriving.

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Finally, their time in isolation is up

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and in just a few hours they'll be let loose into the safari park.

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So at long last, we've been given permission to visit them.

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It's a very exciting day for Kate and I, cos we've come up to

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the tiger house to meet Longleat's three new resident tigers.

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Keepers Bob Trollope and Brian Kent are on hand.

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Wow, look at these guys!

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-Who's this, Bob?

-This is Soundari.

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Very impressive welcome, Soundari.

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I can't believe that you are putting your hand right up against the bars.

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She's like, dare I say it, a younger Kadu.

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Very, very, very much so.

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She obviously trusts us

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and I'm not stupid enough to put me finger in there.

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-THEY LAUGH

-As you can see.

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-Wow!

-If there's the opportunity, she would get...

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-She's a darling, in't she?

-Absolutely gorgeous.

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So where is Kadu?

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-Oh, she's out.

-Oh, is she?

-Yeah.

-Can we go and check up on Kadu?

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I'll come back and get a sneak preview of these later.

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-She is very impressive, Bob.

-She is an absolute darling, in't she?

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-As you can see.

-THEY LAUGH

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Come on, girl.

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Come and see us. Oh, here she is, Brian,

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looking a little bit raggedy around the edges

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compared to those other three, but she's looking OK.

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She's doing well considering her age.

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She's 22 this year.

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That's remarkable, isn't it?

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-It's old for a tiger.

-Oh.

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So you lost Sona, the male, last summer?

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Yep.

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Presumably then she did have a period on her own

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before these three were out of quarantine?

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She was alone, I think,

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for two or three months before these others arrived.

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So she was finding it a bit hard.

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Tigers are solitary, but she's used to other tigers.

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She's been together for, I don't know, 15 years or whatever.

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So we had to give her a lot of care, really.

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-Which you loved, presumably?

-Yeah.

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Cos I know you and Bob are totally soppy over this tiger, aren't you?

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We do, we love her to bits.

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When the other three came in, how did she react?

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She was a bit surprised at first. She thought, "Who are these new tigers?

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"Who are they?" But straightaway, as soon as they came up near her

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in the cage, they were fine with each other. You know, talking, everything.

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She's out here on her own.

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She's had problems with arthritis in recent years,

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so she's obviously not as mobile as those three youngsters.

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Is it too much of a risk to mix her with young, feisty cats?

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I've been wracking my brain about that, thinking about it for ages,

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-what to do.

-Yeah.

-Do we risk it

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or do we just leave her as she is, where she can see them anyway?

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And, we think,

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cos of her age, she hasn't got a lot of weight on her or muscle...

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We're talking three young tigers.

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They could probably do a lot of damage if they jumped on her.

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And it's not something that you can easily go in and break up.

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You can't pick them up by the scruff of the neck and separate them.

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-No, that's the thing.

-She looks fantastic, Brian.

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It's just great that she is going to live out her days here

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where she's been so happy and spoilt rotten by you and Bob.

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Yes, apparently.

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My wife tells me, too much.

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I spend more time here than with her.

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She's worth it. She is worth it. Aren't you, Du-dus?

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So Kadu's companions in her latter years will be her adoring keepers.

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But back inside, the three new tigers

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aren't so keen on making friends with us.

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-And who have we got in here?

-This is Shouri.

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SHOURI ROARS

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Oh, my God!

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This is Shouri.

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-SHE SNARLS

-Eh, eh!

-Wow!

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-She's probably the angriest one out of the three.

-Right.

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-And then we've got Svetli.

-Bob, they are magnificent.

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How are you getting on in terms of bonding with them?

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Oh, really well. Within a few days, we were able to feed all of them off

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-a stick, you know, like we do with the chunks of meat?

-Oh, yes.

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And that was fine, bearing in mind that they most probably didn't have

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an awful lot of human contact where they were before.

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Coming in from France, there's a language barrier as well because

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I can't speak French and they most probably don't understand English.

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Can we just go and see...?

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TIGER ROARS

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Wow!

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You see what I mean? She is quite feisty.

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Oh, my gosh! That is amazing.

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Cor, that certainly keeps you on your guard, doesn't it?

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And it's very nice to have that because

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for the past 18 years, we've been very used to

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Kadu and Sona and Chandi, which...

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They weren't like that. But having youngsters that you know will,

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given the first opportunity, kill you, keeps you on the edge a bit.

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We'll be back later to see just what happens when these

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ferocious youngsters are let loose in the park for the very first time.

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Down in Pets Corner, head of section Darren Beasley is visiting a group

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of rather exotic residents.

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He's getting ready to perform health checks on the colony of

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Egyptian fruit bats to make sure they're all in good condition.

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The bats are free to fly around Old Joe's Mine

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and are only handled by the keepers during these health checks.

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So Darren's keen to use this opportunity for a second purpose.

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We've had an issue with identifying individual animals.

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There's so many bats over there and they all look the same.

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But with 24 bats in the colony, Darren wants to know which is which,

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just in case any of them have any special requirements.

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Today, he's conducting an experiment to find out

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the best way to tell them apart.

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Now, the recognised way of marking bats is a bit like an ear tag.

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You put a band on their wing, or through their wing.

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We don't really want to do that,

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so we've tried various things like coloured markers on their feet,

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which they happily just lick off and clean, so that's a complete failure.

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So our next challenge is, we're going to try some of these.

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Now these are good, old-fashioned bird rings.

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We have the plastic type. Now these just curl round.

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Being plastic, they're probably going to pull them straight off

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with their teeth.

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So our next tactic would be to use an aluminium split ring.

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There is a risk that, the way the bats are designed,

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their feet and toes go very straight, so in fact these might,

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with a bit of help from the bats, just slide straight off.

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So we're hoping that's not going to happen, but it'll be very interesting and if it does work,

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it's going to help us and the keepers over there say, "A-ha,

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"red ring, bat number one is the one that does such and such."

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And as part of our data recording it can be very helpful.

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Catching the bats to put the rings on is not as easy as it looks.

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Egyptian fruit bats use both their eyesight

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and echo location to navigate, making them very tricky to catch.

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But keeper John Ovens believes he has just the tool.

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This is designed by us keepers.

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It's not the most technical piece of kit.

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So, yeah, it was just an old pole with a...

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I think it was a pillowcase. But it does the job.

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And a pair of gloves cos they've got very, very sharp teeth.

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They're all down your end. So it's up to John now

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to do his wonderful bit and try and catch one.

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A lot of the catching happens in mid-flight.

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You have to get the net and be as quick as you possibly can.

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I'll wave me arms around.

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It's a little bit of luck. You've got to be very, very quick with them.

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It is normally a bit of fun as well.

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-Ready, John? When you're ready.

-DARREN LAUGHS

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No pressure.

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There's a whole gang up here. Can you see it?

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-Have you got one?

-Ace.

-He's there. He's there. Well done.

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Ah, he used his bat abilities and he got away from it.

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There you are. He's got one.

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Fantastic.

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OK. So, here we are. Egyptian fruit bat, beautiful animal.

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And what we're looking for here is, we're looking for any eye injuries.

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We're looking at teeth.

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And they have very long, very strong teeth.

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And this is for puncturing the thick skin of the fruit that they eat.

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The other two things we're looking for...

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Do you want to just gently hold the wings apart?

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We're looking for any tears. The older bats tend to get a powdery,

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sort of poor condition looking skin on their wings.

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-And this is looking...

-He's looking tip top.

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Fantastic condition. And the last thing to do is, we put our finger

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on their chest here and we're feeling for a covering

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of fat and meat, which it is, it's outstanding...

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Having checked that the bat is in good health,

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it's time to put on the tag.

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For the first one in the test, Darren's using a plastic ring.

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We've got to try to get a ring

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on that tiny, little piece of foot there.

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And what I do is, I wrap it round...the leg.

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OK, like that.

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It's not pinching the skin. It's just turning round.

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This little fella is just about ready to go.

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And the best way to do it, just let him hold on to our fingers...

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..and away he goes.

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Up with his friends. So we'll record that - red 36.

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OK. Let's just catch another one, guys.

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Oh, yeah. Just 'ere, John.

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Thank you.

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That's the easy way, cos obviously they tire out a little bit.

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Hello, you. Now I can actually see a slight difference here.

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This one... Generally look at the wing condition.

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This is an older animal, OK. I can see a slight sort of nick in there.

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It's a bit more flaky and also, teeth are a lot more worn down

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on the bottom. They're nowhere near as pronounced as the last one.

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Now this says that this one has been eating and wearing

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those teeth down for many years.

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Egyptian fruit bats can live for up to 20 years,

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but as most of these bats were not born here at Longleat,

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the only way of telling how old they are

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is by this method of observation.

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On this chap we're going to put a little split aluminium ring.

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So this is... purple split aluminium, 49.

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OK, you're in good nick, mate. That's a daddy of bats.

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That's the king bat we've caught.

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We'll just gently hold his feet and release him,

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and away he goes.

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There we go.

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He's tired out because he's puffed back and forward, but again,

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what we're trying to do is get this done as quickly and painlessly

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as possible for them, so they can go back to munching bananas. Again,

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he's nice. He's got good body condition, in good nick.

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I'm very proud that these bats are so healthy. He looks like he's going

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to sleep, so that is really good.

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For the final bat in the experiment, Darren puts a ring on each leg.

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One metal AND one plastic.

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That's orange on the right leg

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and that's a split aluminium ring on the left.

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Well done. Thank you very much. Brilliant.

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That actually went really, really successful.

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The guys were brilliant. We caught them as quickly as we could

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and, if you hear now, they've all settled down.

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They're waiting for the bananas and start eating.

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So 24, 48 hours, they'll be monitored. If the rings are on,

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then we've got the lovely task of giving them all coloured rings

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and then we've got every single bat in here identified,

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which is what we want.

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But will Darren's trial really work?

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We'll be back later to find out.

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Roaming across the safari park are a variety of different antelope.

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Some, like the bongo and the eland, are easy to spot.

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But today, I'm off in search of the notoriously shy black buck family.

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Once hunted almost to extinction,

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getting close to these beautiful creatures is near impossible.

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So I've joined head of section Tim Yeo to entice them over

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with a little food.

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We're creeping about a little bit because we've come here

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to see the black buck, to see the beautiful family just over there.

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But they're very, very shy.

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So Tim and I went out and fed them

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a little bit earlier, snuck back in here and now we're watching them,

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although, Tim, the buffalo have slightly scuppered our plans.

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-They have, Kate, as they often do.

-They're looking quite calm.

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-It's a much bigger herd, Tim, than it was last year.

-Yes.

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I noticed, just as we were looking over there, that there is

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one that looks very much smaller than the rest. How old is that one?

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That little kid there is about two months old now really.

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And we're not quite sure whether boy or girl at the moment.

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Now, black buck, where are they from?

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Some years ago, you would have found them very widely populated in India.

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But I think because of hunting, or poaching more so,

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I think you'd probably have to go to northern Nepal really.

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I was going to ask you about the name

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because "black buck" seems a little odd.

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You've got one quite dark brown, sort of chocolatey coloured.

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Clearly a male with the big horns. The rest of them are sort of beige.

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Shouldn't they be called "beige buck" really?

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Yes, it's an interesting one

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because even adult males,

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if they haven't quite reached sexual maturity,

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they will retain that sort of beigey colour.

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Really? So it's only the dominant male in the herd that will get that lovely dark, chocolatey colour?

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Exactly, and that is apparently due to the testosterone level.

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Where that rises he gets this lovely, dark coat.

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And it can also change back.

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They're incredibly swift, aren't they?

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Look at the little one! Oh, that's fantastic. Really elegant animals.

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They would have been hunted many years ago by cheetah.

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They can apparently achieve sort of speeds

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-of about 110km per hour, apparently.

-That's extraordinary.

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And that leaping is a very good defence mechanism, isn't it?

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-It sort of breaks up the line of concentration.

-Quite.

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When they do that "pronking",

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it really is a joy to watch because they just leap straight up.

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All four feet right up in the air.

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Oh, they're giving us a great show.

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This is fantastic. Do you have problems with the males fighting?

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That will certainly happen, particularly as a young male

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comes up through the group and when he feels that he's strong enough

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to take on the herd male, then we would certainly get fighting.

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And it's severe fighting. It's pretty nasty.

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So if this little, young one does prove to be a male,

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will you then need to think about maybe splitting the herd up

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or moving him away, so that you don't have this big clash

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between father and son?

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That certainly is an issue.

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Obviously, we'll have some time before that is necessary.

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It's been wonderful to see them.

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They are the most difficult things I think to film at Longleat,

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but they've given us a great show this morning. Thank you very much.

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And thank you, black buck.

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The animals at the safari park munch their way through a wide variety

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of different foods, which often means a lot of work for the keepers.

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So today, Ben's been called in to give them a hand.

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-Hi, Michelle.

-Hiya, Ben.

-How are you?

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-I'm very well.

-Oh, my gosh! What on earth is all this?

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It's just a little bit of gruesome food preparation.

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Blimey, what on earth are we preparing for?

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Have some gloves. You'll find out a little bit later on.

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OK. That sounds rather ominous.

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I can only assume it's some very big, bloodthirsty beast.

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What have we actually got here?

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-These are horse hearts.

-Why on earth are we using horse hearts?

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Well, it's really quite a cheap

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source of offal, source of meat and it's really, really nutritious.

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So is whatever creature we're preparing this for going to eat

0:18:450:18:48

-all of this?

-No, what we do normally is weigh it out into bags and then get a set amount every day.

0:18:480:18:53

-OK.

-So this is about a week's worth.

0:18:530:18:56

So what's the process from now on?

0:18:560:18:57

Well, now it's all nicely sliced up, all the fat has been cut off as well.

0:18:570:19:01

-All the fat will be fed to the wolves.

-Really?

-They really enjoy it.

0:19:010:19:05

-Fantastic.

-Too much fat for the animal we're going to give it to

0:19:050:19:09

-is not good.

-You're still leaving me in the dark!

-I am a little bit.

0:19:090:19:12

Over here we've got sprats.

0:19:120:19:14

Sprats.

0:19:140:19:16

Yes. I'll just bring the rest of these up here.

0:19:160:19:18

-OK.

-And pop these into here.

0:19:180:19:21

Right. Shall I pop these into here as well?

0:19:210:19:22

-Yeah, yeah.

-And now where?

0:19:220:19:24

Take it over to the mincer just over here.

0:19:240:19:26

So we're really going to chop this up fine.

0:19:260:19:28

-Turn the button on.

-And I just put them in here, do I?

0:19:280:19:30

Yes, and they should...

0:19:300:19:32

They should all start coming out.

0:19:320:19:34

OK.

0:19:340:19:37

I have to say, this is pretty gory.

0:19:370:19:40

-I'm used to it now.

-I'm sure.

0:19:400:19:42

I'm not.

0:19:420:19:44

How often do you do this preparation for this particular animal?

0:19:440:19:47

-Just once a week.

-Just once a week?

-That's enough.

0:19:470:19:50

Give me a clue, is the animal that we're feeding a land-based animal?

0:19:500:19:55

It...is a land animal, yep. But they are semi-aquatic. They do like...

0:19:550:19:59

-So they spend time near water as well?

-They feed in water.

0:19:590:20:02

Right, I don't think I'm getting any nearer to guessing.

0:20:020:20:06

OK, Michelle, so here we have some thinly diced heart.

0:20:060:20:11

What's the plan now?

0:20:110:20:13

-Put some on here.

-On to this?

0:20:130:20:15

-Yeah, just to top it off.

-OK.

0:20:150:20:18

And then to finish off...

0:20:180:20:20

-What are these?

-These are sprats.

-Sprats.

-Yeah.

0:20:200:20:22

-And this is going to be like a garnish.

-Yes.

0:20:220:20:25

This is really like a restaurant, isn't it?

0:20:250:20:27

It's like putting on parsley.

0:20:270:20:29

A pretty gory meal though being prepared.

0:20:290:20:32

-And that's finished and ready for...

-Yeah.

-..this mystery animal.

0:20:320:20:36

-It is.

-OK, Michelle.

0:20:360:20:37

I'm still totally in the dark.

0:20:370:20:39

-Shall we go and find out?

-Yeah, I'll trust you.

0:20:390:20:41

Join us a little later in the programme when you,

0:20:410:20:44

as will I, find out what on earth this is for.

0:20:440:20:47

Back over in Tiger Territory, the time has come.

0:20:510:20:55

After six months in quarantine,

0:20:550:20:57

the three new tigers are about to be released.

0:20:570:21:00

Ben and I aren't there because it's far too dangerous.

0:21:000:21:04

But head of big cats Brian Kent is standing by

0:21:040:21:08

and it's a very tense day for everyone.

0:21:080:21:12

They're going to be lively.

0:21:120:21:14

They're not gonna just amble around. They're going to be running

0:21:140:21:17

and they're going to be after the vehicles.

0:21:170:21:20

They will go to places where they've gotta be moved.

0:21:200:21:22

So we've got to be very careful.

0:21:220:21:25

Deputy head of section Bob Trollope

0:21:250:21:27

is also on hand in case they run into problems.

0:21:270:21:31

Although they're only two years old, these cats are hardly kittens.

0:21:310:21:35

They are wild animals, as dangerous as any other we've got here,

0:21:350:21:39

maybe more so because they're going to be frightened.

0:21:390:21:42

Something like Soundari, who's a lively animal,

0:21:420:21:45

it may be nothing to her to break your neck with one bite.

0:21:450:21:49

So everyone's going to have to be careful

0:21:490:21:51

and you've got to respect the fact that they are killing machines.

0:21:510:21:55

And now the moment has come to let the killing machines loose.

0:21:550:21:59

Craig, if you want to let them out then, please.

0:21:590:22:02

The only way for the sisters to get from their paddock

0:22:020:22:06

out into the open park of Tiger Territory is through a small gate.

0:22:060:22:10

Suddenly, Svetli makes a break for it.

0:22:100:22:14

Just a few minutes later, Shouri heads out

0:22:170:22:20

and Bob urgently warns the other keepers.

0:22:200:22:23

One of the tigers is out and following the fence line around,

0:22:250:22:29

so bear in mind when you open the gates, please.

0:22:290:22:31

The number one danger point is where the cars drive in.

0:22:310:22:36

Not only is it a potential escape route for the tigers,

0:22:360:22:40

but also someone has to stand there to work the mechanism,

0:22:400:22:44

and to a tiger, that someone might look like dinner.

0:22:440:22:48

So should one of them come down this way, it's very important

0:22:480:22:52

for keeper Rob Maltby to close that gate as quickly as possible.

0:22:520:22:58

Well, hopefully I'll get a good warning on the radio

0:22:580:23:01

saying that the tiger will be coming down.

0:23:010:23:03

As soon as that happens, I'd release the motor at the bottom, like so.

0:23:030:23:08

Release it like that and then I can close it a lot quicker.

0:23:080:23:12

And then go in my hut and hide!

0:23:130:23:16

They're just following the fence line round, which is quite normal.

0:23:200:23:24

We've just got to be careful now on how we approach

0:23:240:23:27

any situation, cos what we don't want to do is frighten them

0:23:270:23:30

into running straight down towards the gates,

0:23:300:23:33

cos obviously they're manned and we don't want any accidents.

0:23:330:23:37

Safety is everyone's first concern, as Shouri and Svetli settle

0:23:370:23:42

into a corner of the enclosure to size up their surroundings.

0:23:420:23:46

They are actually looking around, taking everything in.

0:23:460:23:49

Maybe they're looking for the best way out.

0:23:490:23:53

They're going to be able see lions, I presume, through the fencing.

0:23:530:23:57

That's going to be new to them.

0:23:570:24:00

It's looking good.

0:24:000:24:02

They're not looking up fences, panicking, so...

0:24:020:24:05

You've just got to give 'em time.

0:24:050:24:07

It takes a few hours before Soundari comes out of the compound.

0:24:070:24:11

Everyone thinks she's the nice, friendly one.

0:24:110:24:14

Later on, we'll find out just how wrong they are.

0:24:140:24:19

Earlier on, I helped keeper Michelle Stevens prepare a rather gory dish

0:24:300:24:35

of minced heart and sprats for a mystery animal.

0:24:350:24:38

Now we've come out into the park, Michelle,

0:24:380:24:41

to feed this mystery creature.

0:24:410:24:43

Now looking around, I can see flamingoes.

0:24:430:24:46

-Tell me it's not them.

-It's not them.

0:24:460:24:48

You haven't suddenly got crocodiles in the lake?

0:24:480:24:50

-No, no.

-I give up. You've got to tell me, what on earth is it?

0:24:500:24:54

Just over there, the sacred ibis.

0:24:540:24:56

-This is for the ibis?

-Yes, it is.

0:24:560:24:58

-They really eat all of this?

-They do, yes.

0:24:580:25:01

I have to say, they look so lovely.

0:25:010:25:03

How an earth do they end up eating horses' hearts?

0:25:030:25:06

Well, it's just a very nutritious food for them.

0:25:060:25:09

For their chicks as well. We have two at the moment.

0:25:090:25:12

Where are we going to put it down for them?

0:25:120:25:14

-Just over there. Some bowls over there.

-OK.

0:25:140:25:16

The ibis share their enclosure with a flock of greedy spoonbills,

0:25:160:25:20

so there may be a battle for dinner.

0:25:200:25:22

So what are we going to do with this bowl of food now?

0:25:220:25:25

Just dish it out between the five bowls.

0:25:250:25:27

So what do you anticipate?

0:25:270:25:29

That they're going to fly straight down and just scoff the lot?

0:25:290:25:32

They should do, yeah.

0:25:320:25:34

-So are the ibis good parents?

-They are very good actually.

0:25:340:25:37

This is the third year running we've had chicks from them.

0:25:370:25:40

And that's fantastic for your breeding programme here.

0:25:400:25:43

-It is, yeah.

-So we've got all the food down.

0:25:430:25:46

-So we should step away a little bit?

-We shall.

0:25:460:25:49

That took no time. Before we even got here,

0:25:500:25:52

they were diving into that food.

0:25:520:25:54

-Yeah. They love it,

-The white birds there are obviously not ibis.

0:25:540:25:58

No, they're African spoonbills.

0:25:580:26:00

-They eat the same thing.

-And they get on with the ibis, do they?

0:26:000:26:04

They do, yeah. They don't fight at all.

0:26:040:26:06

We've got one just flying back up to the nest now.

0:26:060:26:08

-Yeah, that is the nest.

-Is there any order as to who's coming down first?

0:26:080:26:12

Do the parents get first picking?

0:26:120:26:14

It's first come, first served, really.

0:26:140:26:16

The male and the female parents will take it in turns

0:26:160:26:19

to come down and get some food.

0:26:190:26:21

They'll both take it in turns to look after the chick as well.

0:26:210:26:24

So they equally get a chance to feed.

0:26:240:26:26

And you've learnt some extra information from them?

0:26:260:26:29

Yeah, we've learnt quite a lot from watching the parents feed the chicks

0:26:290:26:33

and look after them. It's helped us hand rear our pink-backed pelicans.

0:26:330:26:37

We just really watch the chicks and see how much they beg for the food

0:26:370:26:40

before the parents give in and give them the food.

0:26:400:26:43

We used to feed our pelican chicks every two hours on the dot.

0:26:430:26:46

But now we feed them very much on demand,

0:26:460:26:48

they really have to beg for the food.

0:26:480:26:51

So what would these birds eat in the wild?

0:26:510:26:54

You see their long beaks? They're used for probing the soil,

0:26:540:26:57

so they eat worms and other insects, snails.

0:26:570:26:59

They also fish for aquatic invertebrates as well and fish.

0:26:590:27:03

So they're not fussy. They'll pretty much eat anything that moves.

0:27:030:27:07

Also it's quite muddy in here with the flamingoes, trampling the mud.

0:27:070:27:11

So that's a perfect environment for them.

0:27:110:27:13

They probe the mud and get any worms and things out.

0:27:130:27:16

-Fantastic.

-Yeah, they love it!

0:27:160:27:18

Michelle, thank you very much. What remarkable birds.

0:27:180:27:21

Although with a diet like theirs,

0:27:210:27:23

I don't think I'll ever look at the sacred ibis quite the same again.

0:27:230:27:27

I'm out in Pets Corner with this glorious creature.

0:27:350:27:38

It's a bearded dragon and his name is Bernard.

0:27:380:27:41

And keeper Sarah Clayson is with me,

0:27:410:27:44

with another bearded dragon called?

0:27:440:27:46

-This is Gizmo.

-They are absolutely beautiful animals, Sarah.

0:27:460:27:50

But I gather that they don't get on terribly well.

0:27:500:27:52

These two are both males, so we don't let them get too close to each other.

0:27:520:27:56

-Are they quite territorial? Will they fight?

-They would be.

0:27:560:27:59

They are very territorial.

0:27:590:28:01

They do look like they have got fairly fearsome armour here.

0:28:010:28:05

Is that to protect them in fights?

0:28:050:28:07

No, I think that's more of a warning.

0:28:070:28:09

Because if you actually stroke down those spines, they're very soft

0:28:090:28:13

-and not sharp at all really.

-Oh, no, they're not, are they?

0:28:130:28:17

-They're really soft.

-It's to make them look fiercer.

0:28:170:28:20

Now tell me more about bearded dragons. Where are they from?

0:28:200:28:23

Um, they live in Australia, so they like it nice and hot.

0:28:230:28:26

They're the lizard family.

0:28:260:28:30

And they can live about ten years.

0:28:300:28:32

And do they make good pets,

0:28:320:28:33

or are they quite difficult to keep healthy?

0:28:330:28:36

They are. There's a lot to take into consideration

0:28:360:28:38

when keeping a bearded dragon as a pet.

0:28:380:28:41

What sort of things do you need to be particularly careful of?

0:28:410:28:46

The heating and the lighting, it's important to get right,

0:28:460:28:49

Cos obviously they come from a hot country.

0:28:490:28:51

What sort of things will you feed them?

0:28:510:28:54

They eat insects, like crickets and locusts.

0:28:540:28:58

And we also feed them green, fresh food, like dandelion leaves

0:28:580:29:02

and clover and a little bit of fruit.

0:29:020:29:04

-So quite a varied diet.

-They are absolutely gorgeous.

0:29:040:29:07

Bernard is going to stay there all day.

0:29:070:29:09

Sarah, thank you very much. I'm going to steal your bearded dragon

0:29:090:29:12

and tell you what else is coming up on today's programme.

0:29:120:29:15

The tiger release is in jeopardy as one of them turns nasty.

0:29:150:29:21

Lord Bath takes a dangerous wrong turn.

0:29:210:29:23

We're going the wrong way.

0:29:230:29:25

And Winston kicks up a stink.

0:29:250:29:29

-What's this involve?

-This actually involves dung.

0:29:290:29:32

Back in Old Joe's Mine, John the keeper

0:29:400:29:42

has been observing the bats closely

0:29:420:29:44

since three of them were tagged with plastic and metal ankle rings

0:29:440:29:48

as part of a trial to find out

0:29:480:29:50

the most effective way to individually identify each bat.

0:29:500:29:53

And it hasn't taken them long to find out the answer.

0:29:530:29:58

We found the plastic rings a couple of hours afterwards.

0:29:580:30:01

We came up here to close up in the evening and they were on the floor

0:30:010:30:05

pretty much next to each other,

0:30:050:30:07

so they'd been roosting throughout the day, grooming each other

0:30:070:30:10

and they came off pretty quickly.

0:30:100:30:12

Head of Pets Corner, Darren, has come to get the news.

0:30:130:30:17

What happens, I think... John, can I just use your finger?

0:30:170:30:21

There's John's back leg. This has obviously gone round the finger.

0:30:210:30:24

They play with them in their mouth and draw them off, that way.

0:30:240:30:28

They've come off over the toes.

0:30:280:30:31

Thanks, John. So in fact,

0:30:310:30:33

the aluminium rings that we haven't found on the floor,

0:30:330:30:36

that we're now trying to see are still on the bat,

0:30:360:30:39

obviously are not pliable enough.

0:30:390:30:41

They can't draw them off the foot, which is fantastic.

0:30:410:30:43

It means we may have, at last, found a harmless way

0:30:430:30:46

of marking the bats to identify them.

0:30:460:30:48

What I think we'll do now

0:30:480:30:50

is confirm that the aluminium split rings are still on.

0:30:500:30:53

And then we can order in various colours,

0:30:530:30:56

we can have 30 different colours of these rings.

0:30:560:30:59

And then I think we'll have a ringing campaign

0:30:590:31:01

and grab every single bat,

0:31:010:31:03

ring every single one with a different colour.

0:31:030:31:06

It's going to make life so much easier

0:31:060:31:08

knowing that red-green, left-leg bat is eating all the banana,

0:31:080:31:11

whereas blue-ring, right-leg bat is actually a bit of a kiwi fruit fan

0:31:110:31:16

and that sort of thing.

0:31:160:31:17

And also activities - is there a dominant bat and stuff.

0:31:170:31:20

So having these harmless rings on them

0:31:200:31:24

is going to help us with our study and our information.

0:31:240:31:27

The more information we have about these guys,

0:31:270:31:29

the better we can make it for them, which is why we're here.

0:31:290:31:33

So with one bat successfully tagged, there's just another 23 to go!

0:31:330:31:39

Pets Corner is home to a huge array of animals,

0:31:470:31:50

from the sweet to the not so sweet.

0:31:500:31:52

But hidden behind the scenes is one rather special creature.

0:31:520:31:56

I've joined keeper Bev Allen

0:31:560:31:59

-with this very impressive African land snail.

-Yeah, that's right.

0:31:590:32:04

He is absolutely enormous.

0:32:040:32:06

He is. He's the biggest land snail

0:32:060:32:08

we have here at Longleat and he lives with five other snails

0:32:080:32:13

-in a glass tank, and he's called Geoff.

-Geoff.

-Geoff, the snail.

0:32:130:32:16

So my first question is, why is Geoff not actually on display here?

0:32:160:32:21

We just haven't found anywhere suitable for him to be on display.

0:32:210:32:25

You've got to be careful with direct sunlight cos that can kill them.

0:32:250:32:28

So you've got to be careful of that. And also the right temperature.

0:32:280:32:32

So we've got him in a nice tank off-view,

0:32:320:32:34

but hopefully in the future, people can see them.

0:32:340:32:37

-So is Geoff fully grown?

-We think he's about fully grown now.

0:32:370:32:40

They can get to about 15cm-20cm long, which is about eight inches long.

0:32:400:32:45

So we're probably talking almost twice his size.

0:32:450:32:49

I mean, he's about eight years old now.

0:32:490:32:51

He used to be someone's pet and he's just arrived to us.

0:32:510:32:54

-Can I just have a look...

-Yeah.

-..underneath.

0:32:540:32:57

Silly question, but can you sex a snail?

0:32:570:33:00

They have both male and female organs, so they're hermaphrodites.

0:33:000:33:05

Right. Can I just turn... He's not going to fall off, is he?

0:33:050:33:08

-You might have to gently hold him...

-So there we can see him.

0:33:080:33:11

That's his foot area there, where he's holding on to.

0:33:110:33:14

So that's a snail's foot?

0:33:140:33:15

They have one foot and it's very slimy, so they can

0:33:150:33:19

move along the ground to protect them from cutting themselves or anything.

0:33:190:33:23

And of course, you've got the eyes as well.

0:33:230:33:26

-Are these the eyes on these little kind of stalks?

-Yeah. On the stalks.

0:33:260:33:30

And they can roll them in and out, the eyes can.

0:33:300:33:33

And they've got two feelers down the bottom to feel along the ground.

0:33:330:33:37

What sort of distance could a snail like this cover?

0:33:370:33:39

About 50 metres a day.

0:33:390:33:41

-Which is actually not too bad considering the size.

-Yeah!

0:33:410:33:45

So they do quite well.

0:33:450:33:47

And of course, if it gets too hot or too cold, they do actually hibernate.

0:33:470:33:51

And it can go right inside that shell to get away from direct sunlight

0:33:510:33:56

or if it's too cold, they go into the shell and go into hibernation.

0:33:560:34:00

And are they predated out in the wild? Does anything eat them?

0:34:000:34:03

Um, yes, humans can eat them and also lots of predators like hyenas,

0:34:030:34:08

big birds of prey would eat them.

0:34:080:34:09

And also the slime makes it harder for an animal to try

0:34:090:34:13

and grab them, cos it's slips out of their hands or beaks.

0:34:130:34:17

So does Geoff ever come out and about in Pets Corner to meet anyone?

0:34:170:34:21

He does. We bring him out so the public can meet him.

0:34:210:34:24

We bring him out when it is the correct temperature.

0:34:240:34:27

He'll come out and say hello.

0:34:270:34:29

But you're hoping at some stage to eventually have

0:34:290:34:31

-a special compound for Geoff?

-Yeah.

0:34:310:34:33

We're hoping to make a nice tank for him so that people can actually

0:34:330:34:37

-see him and Brian, the other snail, which will be brilliant.

-Fantastic.

0:34:370:34:42

Well, Bev, thank you very much.

0:34:420:34:44

There you go, the whole new world of the African land snail.

0:34:440:34:48

Back in Tiger Territory, the three feisty sisters

0:34:540:34:57

are exploring their new home.

0:34:570:35:01

Whilst Svetli and Shouri have settled in a corner

0:35:010:35:04

to watch the world go by,

0:35:040:35:07

Soundari is investigating everything in sight.

0:35:070:35:11

Soundari might play like a big softy, but the keepers all know

0:35:250:35:29

this pussy cat is a killing machine.

0:35:290:35:32

It's still the first time

0:35:350:35:37

the tigers have been out here and anything could happen.

0:35:370:35:41

Head of section Brian is trying to keep a close eye on them.

0:35:420:35:47

It's a bit awkward when they're all split up.

0:35:470:35:49

You have a vehicle down that end and someone up here with another one.

0:35:490:35:53

I'm worried about what the general public will get up to with them.

0:35:530:35:57

That's got deputy head warden Ian Turner worried, too.

0:35:570:36:02

He's come down to keep an eye on the visitors.

0:36:020:36:06

You've got to watch the cars.

0:36:060:36:07

If people have their window down like this is, she'll have 'em.

0:36:070:36:10

No danger. And we've put extra signs on the gates now.

0:36:100:36:14

There's five more signs warning about windows, but they still have windows open.

0:36:140:36:18

I've shouted at three people today.

0:36:180:36:20

The public just don't read the signs. "Please keep your window closed".

0:36:200:36:24

Cos they don't realise how fast they can move.

0:36:240:36:28

But some people are about to find out.

0:36:280:36:30

It's a tiger's natural instinct to stalk and chase.

0:36:320:36:36

When the pheasants have all flown, Soundari turns her attention

0:36:360:36:40

to bigger prey.

0:36:400:36:41

It's down to the patrol vehicles to intervene

0:36:530:36:56

and make Soundari back off.

0:36:560:36:59

But now she's really got interested in the cars.

0:37:010:37:05

With one swipe of her four-centimetre claws,

0:37:110:37:15

she could easily shred a tyre and do some serious damage.

0:37:150:37:19

And even large buses aren't too big for her to take on.

0:37:230:37:27

This may be just a game for her, but it's proven just how dangerous

0:37:280:37:32

these tigers could be.

0:37:320:37:35

It's certainly been an eventful day for the spirited three.

0:37:360:37:41

Soundari's been all over the place.

0:37:410:37:43

It's been a good day for her.

0:37:430:37:45

I should imagine she'll sleep well tonight.

0:37:450:37:47

The next step...

0:37:470:37:49

Well, the next challenge is getting them back in.

0:37:490:37:52

It's a two-vehicle operation to herd the tigers back to their house.

0:37:520:37:58

Go in, you naughty girl.

0:37:580:38:01

It's a little bit boggy over here,

0:38:060:38:08

so we'll have to be a little bit careful.

0:38:080:38:12

I think she knows what's going on.

0:38:120:38:14

We just have to make sure...

0:38:140:38:16

Come on, darling.

0:38:180:38:19

Good girl. Come on.

0:38:190:38:22

That's it. Minimum of fuss, look.

0:38:240:38:26

Obviously, the main thing we don't want to do is frighten her.

0:38:260:38:30

So far, so good.

0:38:320:38:34

Well, she's in. She's in the compound.

0:38:350:38:38

And Soundari hopefully is going to follow.

0:38:400:38:44

Go on, good girl.

0:38:440:38:47

Good girl.

0:38:470:38:48

Go on, all the way.

0:38:500:38:52

Finally, the keepers can breathe a sigh of relief.

0:38:540:38:58

Today has been

0:38:580:39:01

excellent really.

0:39:010:39:03

Soundari is being quite fun to watch actually.

0:39:030:39:07

We haven't had this sort of action for years in here.

0:39:070:39:10

It's not just the tigers that are new to the park.

0:39:160:39:19

There are two other newcomers about to set sail over on Half Mile Lake.

0:39:190:39:25

The lake is an artificial water feature.

0:39:250:39:29

It was designed over 200 years ago

0:39:290:39:32

by England's most famous landscape gardener, Capability Brown,

0:39:320:39:37

and dug out by hand.

0:39:370:39:38

No country estate as grand as Longleat

0:39:380:39:41

could possibly be without its boating lake.

0:39:410:39:44

Today the tradition continues and visitors are always keen

0:39:520:39:56

to take a trip round the lake.

0:39:560:39:58

It's the only way to get a close-up view

0:39:580:40:00

of the gorillas on their island, the hippos in the water,

0:40:000:40:03

and, of course, the ever-playful Californian sea lions.

0:40:030:40:08

But the boat trip's popularity has caused a problem.

0:40:080:40:13

The queues have become much too long.

0:40:130:40:15

The solution was obvious, build some bigger boats.

0:40:150:40:20

Last year, we joined head warden Keith Harris and the team

0:40:200:40:24

when they went to check on progress at a boatyard in Warwickshire.

0:40:240:40:27

It looks huge. Whether they'll look that big on the lake,

0:40:270:40:30

I don't know, and how they'll handle.

0:40:300:40:32

Longleat's most experienced sailor was there, too, Bill Lord.

0:40:320:40:37

This is my first time in the cabin.

0:40:370:40:39

Ah, I like the look of this.

0:40:390:40:41

The trouble with bigger boats is they have bigger bottoms.

0:40:410:40:45

And the lake just wasn't deep enough.

0:40:450:40:47

So before they arrived, it had to be drained away and a digger brought in

0:40:470:40:52

to deepen the shallow parts.

0:40:520:40:54

It was a big day when the two new boats were delivered

0:40:570:41:00

and put into the water.

0:41:000:41:02

But now the time has come to give them proper names.

0:41:050:41:09

They're due to be officially launched tomorrow

0:41:090:41:12

as Lady Bath and Lady Lenka.

0:41:120:41:15

Before the big day, Bill Lord, nicknamed the Admiral,

0:41:150:41:20

is giving the boats a last-minute test drive.

0:41:200:41:22

'Well, it's 68 feet long, it weighs 27 tonnes,

0:41:290:41:33

'it's got a beam of about 12'6",

0:41:330:41:36

'and it only draws about 2'6" in the water, so it sits pretty high.

0:41:360:41:40

You get a very good view. The engine's right in the centre.

0:41:400:41:43

It's only small, about 1. 6 litres capacity.

0:41:430:41:46

That's only about the same as a small family car.

0:41:460:41:49

But then this boat is state of the art.

0:41:490:41:53

It's all hydraulics. The whole boat is hydraulically driven.

0:41:530:41:56

Would you believe, we have a window wiper that works?

0:41:560:41:59

And we have a covered cabin, bilge pumps, PA systems, a fuel gauge.

0:41:590:42:05

It's all push-button stuff. It's got everything we need.

0:42:050:42:08

Smashing piece of equipment. Yeah, really love it.

0:42:080:42:11

Steve Savage is on standby, just in case extra hands are needed on deck.

0:42:170:42:22

Nowadays,

0:42:220:42:24

he's an assistant house steward, but he started out on the boats.

0:42:240:42:29

40 years ago I stepped foot on here when I'd just left school.

0:42:290:42:33

I worked three months down here before I jumped ship

0:42:330:42:36

and joined the Fire Service,

0:42:360:42:38

but it's the first time I've been down here for 40 years.

0:42:380:42:41

It's the first thing like it in the country.

0:42:430:42:46

And to be able to go around and see the sea lions

0:42:460:42:50

and actually everybody feed them...

0:42:500:42:52

I used to sell the little buckets of fish

0:42:520:42:54

and it was threepence, old money, a bucket.

0:42:540:42:57

And at the end of the day, the sea lions were so fat

0:42:570:42:59

they didn't want to eat and there was fish floating all over the lake.

0:42:590:43:04

It wasn't quite as safe as the boats that we have now.

0:43:040:43:07

Everybody would go to one side and then the boat would tip.

0:43:070:43:11

And the sea lions would perform and everybody would end up soaking wet,

0:43:110:43:15

but they didn't care.

0:43:150:43:17

Then there was the time that Lord Bath almost caused a shipwreck.

0:43:170:43:21

Oh, on the lake...

0:43:210:43:23

I bought a boat which was really to get my children to enjoy

0:43:230:43:28

sailing on the lake.

0:43:280:43:31

I found I couldn't even sail it in the right direction

0:43:310:43:35

and the nearer I went to Gorilla Island,

0:43:350:43:37

alarms were put up on the estate

0:43:370:43:40

which I didn't actually know were being put up.

0:43:400:43:43

But I suddenly found there were protection boats

0:43:430:43:45

being sent to retrieve me.

0:43:450:43:47

They perhaps were necessary, cos I mightn't have found

0:43:470:43:51

such a good relationship with the gorillas as I was anticipating.

0:43:510:43:55

To make sure there's no chance of any maritime mishap,

0:43:560:44:00

the team has been rehearsing and the Admiral has plotted

0:44:000:44:03

every move wtih naval precision.

0:44:030:44:06

Right, we've got everybody

0:44:060:44:07

hopefully assembled in front, but we pre-position the boats.

0:44:070:44:11

We strap them together to make sure we have stability

0:44:110:44:14

and they don't part when they start spraying champagne on them.

0:44:140:44:17

They've got a high superstructure, prone to being blown by the wind.

0:44:170:44:21

And if they start to move, 27 tonnes twice is going to move and not stop.

0:44:210:44:26

We have to make sure that doesn't happen,

0:44:260:44:28

otherwise we'll have a disaster. It's fairly muddy there

0:44:280:44:31

and they might stick on the mud.

0:44:310:44:33

But these new boats are SO big and SO modern,

0:44:330:44:37

surely nothing could go wrong on their maiden voyage?

0:44:370:44:41

But of course, that's what they said about the Titanic.

0:44:410:44:44

Down in the new area live four stunning white rhinos.

0:44:530:44:58

There's Unjanu, Merashi and Resina, but it's Winston who leads the gang.

0:44:580:45:03

At a grand old age of 38, he's a stately elder

0:45:030:45:07

who's settled in to a gentler pace of life.

0:45:070:45:11

But today, he's in for a little excitement.

0:45:110:45:14

So I've joined deputy head of section Kevin Nibbs

0:45:140:45:17

down at the rhino house to find out exactly what's going on.

0:45:170:45:20

You are trying out an experiment today, Kevin, I gather?

0:45:200:45:24

That's right. Yep, it's totally new to us.

0:45:240:45:26

It's a bit of an enrichment experiment,

0:45:260:45:29

so it's going to be good for Winnie to be involved in this.

0:45:290:45:32

You've got a shovel, which always worries me.

0:45:320:45:34

-What's this involve?

-This actually involves dung,

0:45:340:45:38

believe it or not, hence the shovel.

0:45:380:45:40

-OK.

-What we've got is some dung from another collection here.

0:45:400:45:43

This has come from outside Longleat?

0:45:430:45:45

This is rhino dung from a different collection?

0:45:450:45:48

It's come from another rhino, so what we're hoping to do

0:45:480:45:51

is to give him a bit to sniff and see what he does.

0:45:510:45:54

It's just like being in the wild.

0:45:540:45:56

-Oh, all right. OK.

-So see what he's going to do with it. Good luck.

0:45:560:46:00

I knew you'd get me to do the shovelling.

0:46:000:46:02

-OK. Well, it's all grass anyway, isn't it?

-Exactly, yeah.

0:46:020:46:06

There we go. About that sort of amount?

0:46:060:46:08

That's fantastic, yep.

0:46:080:46:10

Best to try and pop it through the bars.

0:46:100:46:12

OK, while he's not looking.

0:46:120:46:14

And he'll come over and hopefully get a good whiff of that.

0:46:140:46:17

Now you say that this sort of mimics how a rhino would perhaps react

0:46:170:46:23

if it came across another rhino's dung in the wild?

0:46:230:46:26

Does that mean that they tend to be quite solitary usually?

0:46:260:46:30

Yeah, the bull white rhino is very solitary.

0:46:300:46:33

They have their own territory.

0:46:330:46:35

Within that, they have females visiting it.

0:46:350:46:37

That's when they go and mate with them.

0:46:370:46:40

But they also get other male rhinos as well, filtering through.

0:46:400:46:43

So he may come over, sniff this, think it's another bull rhino

0:46:430:46:47

and react in an aggressive way.

0:46:470:46:49

He'll probably want to put his own scent back on to it,

0:46:490:46:52

or he could come across, think it was a female and get quite excited.

0:46:520:46:56

Will he be able to tell that it's a male or female dung?

0:46:560:46:59

-He's going straight for it.

-I think he will.

0:46:590:47:01

There's a lot of hormones that they produce in the dung,

0:47:010:47:04

so he'll be able to tell if it's a female, what stage she's in in her own cycle.

0:47:040:47:08

Oh, right.

0:47:080:47:10

If it's a male dung, he'll sniff that and become territorial.

0:47:100:47:13

So he'll probably put his own scent on that anyway.

0:47:130:47:16

And why is it important for you to do this sort of thing?

0:47:160:47:19

Something that interests him in other ways is what we're looking for.

0:47:190:47:23

So this is a fantastic idea

0:47:230:47:25

and hopefully he can start producing natural behaviours,

0:47:250:47:28

by becoming territorial or searching for which one has done this.

0:47:280:47:32

He might walk around for half a mile just searching for another rhino.

0:47:320:47:36

And they do tend to go to the loo in the same area every time.

0:47:360:47:41

They have their own middens to mark their territory.

0:47:410:47:44

Every so often around their territory

0:47:440:47:46

they'd be a big lump of rhino dung basically.

0:47:460:47:49

And they'd visit that quite often just to freshen up the scent.

0:47:490:47:53

And would that be...

0:47:530:47:54

If another rhino was encroaching on that area,

0:47:540:47:57

would they tend to use the same midden?

0:47:570:47:59

Would they come in and sort of effectively put their own dung

0:47:590:48:02

in there to tell the resident rhino, "I've come in and visited"?

0:48:020:48:07

Exactly. A new rhino would come across it, sniff it and if it was

0:48:070:48:10

a young or small rhino, they'd probably move away quite quickly.

0:48:100:48:14

But another big rhino would come in, have a good sniff

0:48:140:48:17

and try and take over the territory. It's just a way rhinos communicate.

0:48:170:48:21

He walked away, coming back again.

0:48:210:48:23

-It's obviously interesting him.

-Something there got him interested.

0:48:230:48:27

I mean, I suppose he's been here a very long time.

0:48:270:48:30

He has seen the three new South African rhinos come in,

0:48:300:48:34

a new male come in to his territory and even though they never meet,

0:48:340:48:39

he obviously smells him.

0:48:390:48:41

Do you think that the fact that he's very secure here,

0:48:410:48:44

he's very well looked after perhaps explains

0:48:450:48:47

this reaction that he's not overly bothered by another rhino's dung?

0:48:470:48:51

I think so. He's the biggest animal we've got here and he knows that.

0:48:510:48:55

So I think he's pretty secure. This is his territory, this yard.

0:48:550:48:59

That's his territory and he comes out everyday.

0:48:590:49:01

So he's got his own smell out here, his own scent.

0:49:010:49:04

And I think he's pretty happy there's nothing else around at the moment.

0:49:040:49:08

So are you a bit disappointed

0:49:080:49:10

that we didn't get a great reaction to your experiment?

0:49:100:49:13

I am kind of, in a way. It's nice for him to have a new smell here

0:49:130:49:17

and maybe he has picked up a little bit and gone off with that.

0:49:170:49:21

But I was expecting a bit more maybe.

0:49:210:49:23

You know, a little bit of a snort, a bit of a runaround, but he's...

0:49:230:49:26

He's just too laid back and comfortable, Ken.

0:49:260:49:29

-Exactly.

-I blame you.

0:49:290:49:31

You look after him too well.

0:49:310:49:32

Well, thank you very, very much

0:49:320:49:34

and I think we'll just leave Winston to wander around in peace.

0:49:340:49:38

Back down by Half Mile Lake, final preparations are being made

0:49:440:49:48

before the launch of two brand-new boats.

0:49:480:49:50

There's just time for some final adjustments, hoovering the lawn

0:49:500:49:54

and swabbing the main deck, before Lord and Lady Bath arrive

0:49:540:49:58

to launch the two new vessels.

0:49:580:50:00

MUSIC: "What Shall We Do with the Drunken Sailor?"

0:50:000:50:04

They're to be named Lady Bath and Lady Lenka,

0:50:100:50:15

after the Baths' daughter.

0:50:150:50:17

The shipping forecast is good

0:50:170:50:19

and the Admiral, boat driver Bill Lord, is feeling quietly confident.

0:50:190:50:24

Oh, brilliant, yeah. I'm looking forward to this.

0:50:240:50:27

This is the highlight of my year,

0:50:270:50:29

I'd think this one is.

0:50:290:50:30

We've waited a few years to get these two beasties in place.

0:50:300:50:34

They're brilliant.

0:50:340:50:35

Safari park head warden Keith Harris

0:50:370:50:40

can hardly believe it's all happening at last.

0:50:400:50:43

This is almost the culmination of about three years work.

0:50:430:50:47

From the time we actually said, "Yes, we're going to have new boats,"

0:50:470:50:51

to planning, designing, building,

0:50:510:50:53

getting them here, getting them in service.

0:50:530:50:56

I think it's been about three years.

0:50:560:50:58

So a little champagne today is not going to go amiss.

0:50:580:51:01

And now the VIPs are on their way.

0:51:010:51:04

Guest, members of the press and, of course, Lord Bath.

0:51:040:51:08

Oh, my goodness. This is...

0:51:100:51:13

-And I'm strong!

-There's hardly a detail Bill has overlooked.

0:51:130:51:17

Though it's impossible to plan for every potential mishap.

0:51:170:51:21

Did you glue this?!

0:51:210:51:23

-OK, OK, it's ready.

-OK.

0:51:230:51:25

MUSIC: "Rule, Britannia"

0:51:250:51:28

WOMAN: Bottoms!

0:51:310:51:33

LAUGHTER

0:51:330:51:34

I name this boat...

0:51:350:51:39

Lady Lenka. And may all who sail in her be well preserved

0:51:390:51:44

and come back safely and enjoy themselves.

0:51:440:51:47

THEY APPLAUD

0:51:480:51:50

FOG HORNS BLARE

0:51:520:51:54

Christening the bows is just the start of the proceedings.

0:51:570:52:01

I declare her open.

0:52:030:52:07

Yes!

0:52:070:52:09

Would you like the ringside seat?

0:52:110:52:14

It's the first time Lady Bath has ventured on to the boat

0:52:140:52:17

since her daughter, Lenka, and son, Ceawlin, were very young.

0:52:170:52:21

That's about 25 years ago.

0:52:210:52:22

Now before we set sail I have to tell you about safety...

0:52:220:52:25

As the oldest seadog they've got, it falls to Bill to do the commentary.

0:52:250:52:29

And the first lovely creature we see is Buster the breeding bull.

0:52:290:52:33

Here he is right beside us.

0:52:330:52:35

The sea lions are always pleased to see the first boats out on the lake,

0:52:350:52:40

as it means breakfast is on the way.

0:52:400:52:42

Here, come here.

0:52:430:52:45

And yet they share this lake with the most dangerous animals at Longleat:

0:52:510:52:55

Ugandan hippos.

0:52:550:52:57

Here he is, look, right beside us now.

0:52:570:52:59

For Lady Bath, it was 46-year-old Nico,

0:53:010:53:04

the Western Lowland silverback gorilla, who stole the show.

0:53:040:53:09

Lord Bath did get to hold the wheel,

0:53:090:53:12

if only for a few seconds to pose for the press.

0:53:120:53:15

And towards me again, sir.

0:53:150:53:17

Long enough for the boat to start veering off course.

0:53:170:53:19

Just give me a good smile on it, sir.

0:53:190:53:21

-That's lovely. One more, sir.

-Right, but we're going the wrong way.

0:53:210:53:25

It never felt as if it was under my command.

0:53:250:53:30

We were heading that way and it didn't turn when I turned.

0:53:300:53:33

For Steve Savage, who worked on the boats 40 years ago,

0:53:330:53:38

it's been a day to remember.

0:53:380:53:40

Good bless the ships.

0:53:400:53:42

To the boats! To you all!

0:53:420:53:44

It was absolutely fantastic.

0:53:440:53:46

I'm quite emotional about it really.

0:53:460:53:49

It was fun. It was more than fun, it was brilliant.

0:53:490:53:52

For the Admiral, it's a relief to have the fleet safely set sail.

0:53:520:53:57

The worst disaster was Lord Bath trying to get the cork out of the bottle.

0:53:570:54:01

But all in all the day turned out shipshape and Bristol fashion.

0:54:010:54:05

And Lord Bath enjoyed ruling the waves, if only for a morning.

0:54:050:54:09

Oh, I had to live up to the hat.

0:54:090:54:14

And almost promptly drove into the side,

0:54:140:54:16

but he persuaded me to turn the wheel at the right moment.

0:54:160:54:20

It's nearly the end of the programme, but before we go,

0:54:450:54:48

Kate and I just had to come back up here

0:54:480:54:50

to catch up with the three new tigers.

0:54:500:54:53

We're here with keeper Bob Trollope.

0:54:530:54:55

Bob, they're looking fantastic out in the sunlight.

0:54:550:54:58

They look brilliant, don't they?

0:54:580:55:00

You're still learning about their traits when they're out like this.

0:55:000:55:04

Cos you've had some problems with them attacking cars, haven't you?

0:55:040:55:08

Soundari more so than these two.

0:55:080:55:10

Soundari is very adventurous and nothing seems to faze her.

0:55:100:55:14

And obviously coming from a zoo environment,

0:55:140:55:17

vehicles are new to her, so it's a game. It's hunting.

0:55:170:55:20

So, Bob, who's this coming up to us now?

0:55:200:55:22

-This is Soundari.

-Are we OK with the windows open?

0:55:220:55:25

-Ah, it might be advisable to shut yours, Ben.

-OK.

0:55:250:55:28

Cos I'm quite slow with this window.

0:55:280:55:31

So what does she make of cars?

0:55:310:55:33

I think they are prey to her.

0:55:330:55:37

This is something that's moving and it's quite often the moving

0:55:370:55:42

-that gets her reaction.

-Mm-hm.

0:55:420:55:43

She does actually

0:55:430:55:46

chase parked cars...

0:55:460:55:48

She is magnificent.

0:55:480:55:50

It's wonderful to watch her kind of gait.

0:55:500:55:52

Isn't it? Yeah. And those enormous paws, enormous paws.

0:55:520:55:55

I mean, you just see there's such strength there.

0:55:550:55:59

It's like this whole sort of pent-up energy.

0:55:590:56:02

She looks quite like a relaxed cat

0:56:020:56:04

and you know in one moment she could completely change.

0:56:040:56:08

And she's still got a bit of growing to do.

0:56:080:56:10

-She's not fully grown?

-Not yet.

0:56:100:56:13

She's not quite two years old.

0:56:130:56:15

Here she comes, running alongside.

0:56:150:56:17

Bob, I bet you can't get enough of this,

0:56:170:56:20

in terms of just watching them and observing them.

0:56:200:56:22

This is absolutely brilliant.

0:56:220:56:24

Cos it's nice to have any new animal, but when you've got

0:56:240:56:28

something like these, then you know that's pure power there.

0:56:280:56:31

And what do they make of the local wildlife?

0:56:310:56:35

Well, they've had to rethink,

0:56:360:56:38

-the local squirrels and pheasants, I must admit.

-Oh, really?

0:56:380:56:42

I'm sure they got so used to...

0:56:420:56:44

Kadu sort of ambling past, and now, Soundari, she chases after them,

0:56:440:56:48

-at lightning speed.

-Really?

0:56:480:56:50

And she don't stop at the base of a tree, she goes up the tree!

0:56:500:56:53

So there's no escape.

0:56:530:56:55

So the squirrels and the pheasants are all packing their bags?

0:56:550:56:58

They are, yes.

0:56:580:57:00

Well, Bob, it's great to see that they're doing well out here.

0:57:000:57:03

I hope they don't attack too many more cars in the following weeks.

0:57:030:57:07

We, of course, will be keeping you updated

0:57:070:57:09

with the new tigers' progress.

0:57:090:57:11

Sadly, that's the end of today's programme.

0:57:110:57:13

But here's what's coming up on the next Animal Park.

0:57:130:57:16

Last year, the pregnant sea lions

0:57:160:57:18

defended their territory against the keepers.

0:57:180:57:21

But it's birthing time again and another fight is brewing.

0:57:210:57:25

They've decided they don't want the beach, they want my bridge.

0:57:250:57:29

So I'm not having it. I will win.

0:57:290:57:32

The tigers tear into something new.

0:57:320:57:36

And the great house goes under wraps for a monumental makeover.

0:57:360:57:40

Subtitles by Red Bee Media

0:58:030:58:05

Stories from Longleat Safari Park with Ben Fogle and Kate Humble. The park gets its first new tigers in 18 years. Lord Bath test-drives two new boats on the lake. Meanwhile, Kate meets the park's fastest animals and Ben meets its slowest.


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