Behind the scenes at Longleat Safari Park with Ben Fogle and Kate Humble. Today, the park gets its first new tigers in 18 years. Lord Bath test-drives two new boats on the lake.
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There hasn't been a new tiger wandering around the safari park
here at Longleat for 18 years now, but all that is about to change.
For the past six months, three brand-new tigers have been spending quarantine time in this building
over here, but now their bedding is being destroyed.
The quarantine has been lifted and, for the very first time,
these tigers will be released into the park.
Coming up on today's Animal Park.
Moments before their release, the ferocious tigers go on the attack.
Oh, my gosh!
We try to catch up with some of the fastest land mammals in the world.
And keeping bats is easy, until you have to catch one.
It's been six months since the three young tigers arrived at Longleat
from a zoo in Alsace, France.
They came to join old favourite, 22 year old Kadu.
But these youngsters have a little more bite.
Although they're sisters from the same litter,
they have very different personalities.
While the one named Soundari is a real pussycat,
Svetli and Shouri are fierce as anything and as wild as can be.
Because the girls came from abroad,
they've been kept in quarantine since arriving.
Finally, their time in isolation is up
and in just a few hours they'll be let loose into the safari park.
So at long last, we've been given permission to visit them.
It's a very exciting day for Kate and I, cos we've come up to
the tiger house to meet Longleat's three new resident tigers.
Keepers Bob Trollope and Brian Kent are on hand.
Wow, look at these guys!
-Who's this, Bob?
-This is Soundari.
Very impressive welcome, Soundari.
I can't believe that you are putting your hand right up against the bars.
She's like, dare I say it, a younger Kadu.
Very, very, very much so.
She obviously trusts us
and I'm not stupid enough to put me finger in there.
-As you can see.
-If there's the opportunity, she would get...
-She's a darling, in't she?
So where is Kadu?
-Oh, she's out.
-Oh, is she?
-Can we go and check up on Kadu?
I'll come back and get a sneak preview of these later.
-She is very impressive, Bob.
-She is an absolute darling, in't she?
-As you can see.
Come on, girl.
Come and see us. Oh, here she is, Brian,
looking a little bit raggedy around the edges
compared to those other three, but she's looking OK.
She's doing well considering her age.
She's 22 this year.
That's remarkable, isn't it?
-It's old for a tiger.
So you lost Sona, the male, last summer?
Presumably then she did have a period on her own
before these three were out of quarantine?
She was alone, I think,
for two or three months before these others arrived.
So she was finding it a bit hard.
Tigers are solitary, but she's used to other tigers.
She's been together for, I don't know, 15 years or whatever.
So we had to give her a lot of care, really.
-Which you loved, presumably?
Cos I know you and Bob are totally soppy over this tiger, aren't you?
We do, we love her to bits.
When the other three came in, how did she react?
She was a bit surprised at first. She thought, "Who are these new tigers?
"Who are they?" But straightaway, as soon as they came up near her
in the cage, they were fine with each other. You know, talking, everything.
She's out here on her own.
She's had problems with arthritis in recent years,
so she's obviously not as mobile as those three youngsters.
Is it too much of a risk to mix her with young, feisty cats?
I've been wracking my brain about that, thinking about it for ages,
-what to do.
-Do we risk it
or do we just leave her as she is, where she can see them anyway?
And, we think,
cos of her age, she hasn't got a lot of weight on her or muscle...
We're talking three young tigers.
They could probably do a lot of damage if they jumped on her.
And it's not something that you can easily go in and break up.
You can't pick them up by the scruff of the neck and separate them.
-No, that's the thing.
-She looks fantastic, Brian.
It's just great that she is going to live out her days here
where she's been so happy and spoilt rotten by you and Bob.
My wife tells me, too much.
I spend more time here than with her.
She's worth it. She is worth it. Aren't you, Du-dus?
So Kadu's companions in her latter years will be her adoring keepers.
But back inside, the three new tigers
aren't so keen on making friends with us.
-And who have we got in here?
-This is Shouri.
Oh, my God!
This is Shouri.
-She's probably the angriest one out of the three.
-And then we've got Svetli.
-Bob, they are magnificent.
How are you getting on in terms of bonding with them?
Oh, really well. Within a few days, we were able to feed all of them off
-a stick, you know, like we do with the chunks of meat?
And that was fine, bearing in mind that they most probably didn't have
an awful lot of human contact where they were before.
Coming in from France, there's a language barrier as well because
I can't speak French and they most probably don't understand English.
Can we just go and see...?
You see what I mean? She is quite feisty.
Oh, my gosh! That is amazing.
Cor, that certainly keeps you on your guard, doesn't it?
And it's very nice to have that because
for the past 18 years, we've been very used to
Kadu and Sona and Chandi, which...
They weren't like that. But having youngsters that you know will,
given the first opportunity, kill you, keeps you on the edge a bit.
We'll be back later to see just what happens when these
ferocious youngsters are let loose in the park for the very first time.
Down in Pets Corner, head of section Darren Beasley is visiting a group
of rather exotic residents.
He's getting ready to perform health checks on the colony of
Egyptian fruit bats to make sure they're all in good condition.
The bats are free to fly around Old Joe's Mine
and are only handled by the keepers during these health checks.
So Darren's keen to use this opportunity for a second purpose.
We've had an issue with identifying individual animals.
There's so many bats over there and they all look the same.
But with 24 bats in the colony, Darren wants to know which is which,
just in case any of them have any special requirements.
Today, he's conducting an experiment to find out
the best way to tell them apart.
Now, the recognised way of marking bats is a bit like an ear tag.
You put a band on their wing, or through their wing.
We don't really want to do that,
so we've tried various things like coloured markers on their feet,
which they happily just lick off and clean, so that's a complete failure.
So our next challenge is, we're going to try some of these.
Now these are good, old-fashioned bird rings.
We have the plastic type. Now these just curl round.
Being plastic, they're probably going to pull them straight off
with their teeth.
So our next tactic would be to use an aluminium split ring.
There is a risk that, the way the bats are designed,
their feet and toes go very straight, so in fact these might,
with a bit of help from the bats, just slide straight off.
So we're hoping that's not going to happen, but it'll be very interesting and if it does work,
it's going to help us and the keepers over there say, "A-ha,
"red ring, bat number one is the one that does such and such."
And as part of our data recording it can be very helpful.
Catching the bats to put the rings on is not as easy as it looks.
Egyptian fruit bats use both their eyesight
and echo location to navigate, making them very tricky to catch.
But keeper John Ovens believes he has just the tool.
This is designed by us keepers.
It's not the most technical piece of kit.
So, yeah, it was just an old pole with a...
I think it was a pillowcase. But it does the job.
And a pair of gloves cos they've got very, very sharp teeth.
They're all down your end. So it's up to John now
to do his wonderful bit and try and catch one.
A lot of the catching happens in mid-flight.
You have to get the net and be as quick as you possibly can.
I'll wave me arms around.
It's a little bit of luck. You've got to be very, very quick with them.
It is normally a bit of fun as well.
-Ready, John? When you're ready.
There's a whole gang up here. Can you see it?
-Have you got one?
-He's there. He's there. Well done.
Ah, he used his bat abilities and he got away from it.
There you are. He's got one.
OK. So, here we are. Egyptian fruit bat, beautiful animal.
And what we're looking for here is, we're looking for any eye injuries.
We're looking at teeth.
And they have very long, very strong teeth.
And this is for puncturing the thick skin of the fruit that they eat.
The other two things we're looking for...
Do you want to just gently hold the wings apart?
We're looking for any tears. The older bats tend to get a powdery,
sort of poor condition looking skin on their wings.
-And this is looking...
-He's looking tip top.
Fantastic condition. And the last thing to do is, we put our finger
on their chest here and we're feeling for a covering
of fat and meat, which it is, it's outstanding...
Having checked that the bat is in good health,
it's time to put on the tag.
For the first one in the test, Darren's using a plastic ring.
We've got to try to get a ring
on that tiny, little piece of foot there.
And what I do is, I wrap it round...the leg.
OK, like that.
It's not pinching the skin. It's just turning round.
This little fella is just about ready to go.
And the best way to do it, just let him hold on to our fingers...
..and away he goes.
Up with his friends. So we'll record that - red 36.
OK. Let's just catch another one, guys.
Oh, yeah. Just 'ere, John.
That's the easy way, cos obviously they tire out a little bit.
Hello, you. Now I can actually see a slight difference here.
This one... Generally look at the wing condition.
This is an older animal, OK. I can see a slight sort of nick in there.
It's a bit more flaky and also, teeth are a lot more worn down
on the bottom. They're nowhere near as pronounced as the last one.
Now this says that this one has been eating and wearing
those teeth down for many years.
Egyptian fruit bats can live for up to 20 years,
but as most of these bats were not born here at Longleat,
the only way of telling how old they are
is by this method of observation.
On this chap we're going to put a little split aluminium ring.
So this is... purple split aluminium, 49.
OK, you're in good nick, mate. That's a daddy of bats.
That's the king bat we've caught.
We'll just gently hold his feet and release him,
and away he goes.
There we go.
He's tired out because he's puffed back and forward, but again,
what we're trying to do is get this done as quickly and painlessly
as possible for them, so they can go back to munching bananas. Again,
he's nice. He's got good body condition, in good nick.
I'm very proud that these bats are so healthy. He looks like he's going
to sleep, so that is really good.
For the final bat in the experiment, Darren puts a ring on each leg.
One metal AND one plastic.
That's orange on the right leg
and that's a split aluminium ring on the left.
Well done. Thank you very much. Brilliant.
That actually went really, really successful.
The guys were brilliant. We caught them as quickly as we could
and, if you hear now, they've all settled down.
They're waiting for the bananas and start eating.
So 24, 48 hours, they'll be monitored. If the rings are on,
then we've got the lovely task of giving them all coloured rings
and then we've got every single bat in here identified,
which is what we want.
But will Darren's trial really work?
We'll be back later to find out.
Roaming across the safari park are a variety of different antelope.
Some, like the bongo and the eland, are easy to spot.
But today, I'm off in search of the notoriously shy black buck family.
Once hunted almost to extinction,
getting close to these beautiful creatures is near impossible.
So I've joined head of section Tim Yeo to entice them over
with a little food.
We're creeping about a little bit because we've come here
to see the black buck, to see the beautiful family just over there.
But they're very, very shy.
So Tim and I went out and fed them
a little bit earlier, snuck back in here and now we're watching them,
although, Tim, the buffalo have slightly scuppered our plans.
-They have, Kate, as they often do.
-They're looking quite calm.
-It's a much bigger herd, Tim, than it was last year.
I noticed, just as we were looking over there, that there is
one that looks very much smaller than the rest. How old is that one?
That little kid there is about two months old now really.
And we're not quite sure whether boy or girl at the moment.
Now, black buck, where are they from?
Some years ago, you would have found them very widely populated in India.
But I think because of hunting, or poaching more so,
I think you'd probably have to go to northern Nepal really.
I was going to ask you about the name
because "black buck" seems a little odd.
You've got one quite dark brown, sort of chocolatey coloured.
Clearly a male with the big horns. The rest of them are sort of beige.
Shouldn't they be called "beige buck" really?
Yes, it's an interesting one
because even adult males,
if they haven't quite reached sexual maturity,
they will retain that sort of beigey colour.
Really? So it's only the dominant male in the herd that will get that lovely dark, chocolatey colour?
Exactly, and that is apparently due to the testosterone level.
Where that rises he gets this lovely, dark coat.
And it can also change back.
They're incredibly swift, aren't they?
Look at the little one! Oh, that's fantastic. Really elegant animals.
They would have been hunted many years ago by cheetah.
They can apparently achieve sort of speeds
-of about 110km per hour, apparently.
And that leaping is a very good defence mechanism, isn't it?
-It sort of breaks up the line of concentration.
When they do that "pronking",
it really is a joy to watch because they just leap straight up.
All four feet right up in the air.
Oh, they're giving us a great show.
This is fantastic. Do you have problems with the males fighting?
That will certainly happen, particularly as a young male
comes up through the group and when he feels that he's strong enough
to take on the herd male, then we would certainly get fighting.
And it's severe fighting. It's pretty nasty.
So if this little, young one does prove to be a male,
will you then need to think about maybe splitting the herd up
or moving him away, so that you don't have this big clash
between father and son?
That certainly is an issue.
Obviously, we'll have some time before that is necessary.
It's been wonderful to see them.
They are the most difficult things I think to film at Longleat,
but they've given us a great show this morning. Thank you very much.
And thank you, black buck.
The animals at the safari park munch their way through a wide variety
of different foods, which often means a lot of work for the keepers.
So today, Ben's been called in to give them a hand.
-How are you?
-I'm very well.
-Oh, my gosh! What on earth is all this?
It's just a little bit of gruesome food preparation.
Blimey, what on earth are we preparing for?
Have some gloves. You'll find out a little bit later on.
OK. That sounds rather ominous.
I can only assume it's some very big, bloodthirsty beast.
What have we actually got here?
-These are horse hearts.
-Why on earth are we using horse hearts?
Well, it's really quite a cheap
source of offal, source of meat and it's really, really nutritious.
So is whatever creature we're preparing this for going to eat
-all of this?
-No, what we do normally is weigh it out into bags and then get a set amount every day.
-So this is about a week's worth.
So what's the process from now on?
Well, now it's all nicely sliced up, all the fat has been cut off as well.
-All the fat will be fed to the wolves.
-They really enjoy it.
-Too much fat for the animal we're going to give it to
-is not good.
-You're still leaving me in the dark!
-I am a little bit.
Over here we've got sprats.
Yes. I'll just bring the rest of these up here.
-And pop these into here.
Right. Shall I pop these into here as well?
-And now where?
Take it over to the mincer just over here.
So we're really going to chop this up fine.
-Turn the button on.
-And I just put them in here, do I?
Yes, and they should...
They should all start coming out.
I have to say, this is pretty gory.
-I'm used to it now.
How often do you do this preparation for this particular animal?
-Just once a week.
-Just once a week?
Give me a clue, is the animal that we're feeding a land-based animal?
It...is a land animal, yep. But they are semi-aquatic. They do like...
-So they spend time near water as well?
-They feed in water.
Right, I don't think I'm getting any nearer to guessing.
OK, Michelle, so here we have some thinly diced heart.
What's the plan now?
-Put some on here.
-On to this?
-Yeah, just to top it off.
And then to finish off...
-What are these?
-These are sprats.
-And this is going to be like a garnish.
This is really like a restaurant, isn't it?
It's like putting on parsley.
A pretty gory meal though being prepared.
-And that's finished and ready for...
-..this mystery animal.
I'm still totally in the dark.
-Shall we go and find out?
-Yeah, I'll trust you.
Join us a little later in the programme when you,
as will I, find out what on earth this is for.
Back over in Tiger Territory, the time has come.
After six months in quarantine,
the three new tigers are about to be released.
Ben and I aren't there because it's far too dangerous.
But head of big cats Brian Kent is standing by
and it's a very tense day for everyone.
They're going to be lively.
They're not gonna just amble around. They're going to be running
and they're going to be after the vehicles.
They will go to places where they've gotta be moved.
So we've got to be very careful.
Deputy head of section Bob Trollope
is also on hand in case they run into problems.
Although they're only two years old, these cats are hardly kittens.
They are wild animals, as dangerous as any other we've got here,
maybe more so because they're going to be frightened.
Something like Soundari, who's a lively animal,
it may be nothing to her to break your neck with one bite.
So everyone's going to have to be careful
and you've got to respect the fact that they are killing machines.
And now the moment has come to let the killing machines loose.
Craig, if you want to let them out then, please.
The only way for the sisters to get from their paddock
out into the open park of Tiger Territory is through a small gate.
Suddenly, Svetli makes a break for it.
Just a few minutes later, Shouri heads out
and Bob urgently warns the other keepers.
One of the tigers is out and following the fence line around,
so bear in mind when you open the gates, please.
The number one danger point is where the cars drive in.
Not only is it a potential escape route for the tigers,
but also someone has to stand there to work the mechanism,
and to a tiger, that someone might look like dinner.
So should one of them come down this way, it's very important
for keeper Rob Maltby to close that gate as quickly as possible.
Well, hopefully I'll get a good warning on the radio
saying that the tiger will be coming down.
As soon as that happens, I'd release the motor at the bottom, like so.
Release it like that and then I can close it a lot quicker.
And then go in my hut and hide!
They're just following the fence line round, which is quite normal.
We've just got to be careful now on how we approach
any situation, cos what we don't want to do is frighten them
into running straight down towards the gates,
cos obviously they're manned and we don't want any accidents.
Safety is everyone's first concern, as Shouri and Svetli settle
into a corner of the enclosure to size up their surroundings.
They are actually looking around, taking everything in.
Maybe they're looking for the best way out.
They're going to be able see lions, I presume, through the fencing.
That's going to be new to them.
It's looking good.
They're not looking up fences, panicking, so...
You've just got to give 'em time.
It takes a few hours before Soundari comes out of the compound.
Everyone thinks she's the nice, friendly one.
Later on, we'll find out just how wrong they are.
Earlier on, I helped keeper Michelle Stevens prepare a rather gory dish
of minced heart and sprats for a mystery animal.
Now we've come out into the park, Michelle,
to feed this mystery creature.
Now looking around, I can see flamingoes.
-Tell me it's not them.
-It's not them.
You haven't suddenly got crocodiles in the lake?
-I give up. You've got to tell me, what on earth is it?
Just over there, the sacred ibis.
-This is for the ibis?
-Yes, it is.
-They really eat all of this?
-They do, yes.
I have to say, they look so lovely.
How an earth do they end up eating horses' hearts?
Well, it's just a very nutritious food for them.
For their chicks as well. We have two at the moment.
Where are we going to put it down for them?
-Just over there. Some bowls over there.
The ibis share their enclosure with a flock of greedy spoonbills,
so there may be a battle for dinner.
So what are we going to do with this bowl of food now?
Just dish it out between the five bowls.
So what do you anticipate?
That they're going to fly straight down and just scoff the lot?
They should do, yeah.
-So are the ibis good parents?
-They are very good actually.
This is the third year running we've had chicks from them.
And that's fantastic for your breeding programme here.
-It is, yeah.
-So we've got all the food down.
-So we should step away a little bit?
That took no time. Before we even got here,
they were diving into that food.
-Yeah. They love it,
-The white birds there are obviously not ibis.
No, they're African spoonbills.
-They eat the same thing.
-And they get on with the ibis, do they?
They do, yeah. They don't fight at all.
We've got one just flying back up to the nest now.
-Yeah, that is the nest.
-Is there any order as to who's coming down first?
Do the parents get first picking?
It's first come, first served, really.
The male and the female parents will take it in turns
to come down and get some food.
They'll both take it in turns to look after the chick as well.
So they equally get a chance to feed.
And you've learnt some extra information from them?
Yeah, we've learnt quite a lot from watching the parents feed the chicks
and look after them. It's helped us hand rear our pink-backed pelicans.
We just really watch the chicks and see how much they beg for the food
before the parents give in and give them the food.
We used to feed our pelican chicks every two hours on the dot.
But now we feed them very much on demand,
they really have to beg for the food.
So what would these birds eat in the wild?
You see their long beaks? They're used for probing the soil,
so they eat worms and other insects, snails.
They also fish for aquatic invertebrates as well and fish.
So they're not fussy. They'll pretty much eat anything that moves.
Also it's quite muddy in here with the flamingoes, trampling the mud.
So that's a perfect environment for them.
They probe the mud and get any worms and things out.
-Yeah, they love it!
Michelle, thank you very much. What remarkable birds.
Although with a diet like theirs,
I don't think I'll ever look at the sacred ibis quite the same again.
I'm out in Pets Corner with this glorious creature.
It's a bearded dragon and his name is Bernard.
And keeper Sarah Clayson is with me,
with another bearded dragon called?
-This is Gizmo.
-They are absolutely beautiful animals, Sarah.
But I gather that they don't get on terribly well.
These two are both males, so we don't let them get too close to each other.
-Are they quite territorial? Will they fight?
-They would be.
They are very territorial.
They do look like they have got fairly fearsome armour here.
Is that to protect them in fights?
No, I think that's more of a warning.
Because if you actually stroke down those spines, they're very soft
-and not sharp at all really.
-Oh, no, they're not, are they?
-They're really soft.
-It's to make them look fiercer.
Now tell me more about bearded dragons. Where are they from?
Um, they live in Australia, so they like it nice and hot.
They're the lizard family.
And they can live about ten years.
And do they make good pets,
or are they quite difficult to keep healthy?
They are. There's a lot to take into consideration
when keeping a bearded dragon as a pet.
What sort of things do you need to be particularly careful of?
The heating and the lighting, it's important to get right,
Cos obviously they come from a hot country.
What sort of things will you feed them?
They eat insects, like crickets and locusts.
And we also feed them green, fresh food, like dandelion leaves
and clover and a little bit of fruit.
-So quite a varied diet.
-They are absolutely gorgeous.
Bernard is going to stay there all day.
Sarah, thank you very much. I'm going to steal your bearded dragon
and tell you what else is coming up on today's programme.
The tiger release is in jeopardy as one of them turns nasty.
Lord Bath takes a dangerous wrong turn.
We're going the wrong way.
And Winston kicks up a stink.
-What's this involve?
-This actually involves dung.
Back in Old Joe's Mine, John the keeper
has been observing the bats closely
since three of them were tagged with plastic and metal ankle rings
as part of a trial to find out
the most effective way to individually identify each bat.
And it hasn't taken them long to find out the answer.
We found the plastic rings a couple of hours afterwards.
We came up here to close up in the evening and they were on the floor
pretty much next to each other,
so they'd been roosting throughout the day, grooming each other
and they came off pretty quickly.
Head of Pets Corner, Darren, has come to get the news.
What happens, I think... John, can I just use your finger?
There's John's back leg. This has obviously gone round the finger.
They play with them in their mouth and draw them off, that way.
They've come off over the toes.
Thanks, John. So in fact,
the aluminium rings that we haven't found on the floor,
that we're now trying to see are still on the bat,
obviously are not pliable enough.
They can't draw them off the foot, which is fantastic.
It means we may have, at last, found a harmless way
of marking the bats to identify them.
What I think we'll do now
is confirm that the aluminium split rings are still on.
And then we can order in various colours,
we can have 30 different colours of these rings.
And then I think we'll have a ringing campaign
and grab every single bat,
ring every single one with a different colour.
It's going to make life so much easier
knowing that red-green, left-leg bat is eating all the banana,
whereas blue-ring, right-leg bat is actually a bit of a kiwi fruit fan
and that sort of thing.
And also activities - is there a dominant bat and stuff.
So having these harmless rings on them
is going to help us with our study and our information.
The more information we have about these guys,
the better we can make it for them, which is why we're here.
So with one bat successfully tagged, there's just another 23 to go!
Pets Corner is home to a huge array of animals,
from the sweet to the not so sweet.
But hidden behind the scenes is one rather special creature.
I've joined keeper Bev Allen
-with this very impressive African land snail.
-Yeah, that's right.
He is absolutely enormous.
He is. He's the biggest land snail
we have here at Longleat and he lives with five other snails
-in a glass tank, and he's called Geoff.
-Geoff, the snail.
So my first question is, why is Geoff not actually on display here?
We just haven't found anywhere suitable for him to be on display.
You've got to be careful with direct sunlight cos that can kill them.
So you've got to be careful of that. And also the right temperature.
So we've got him in a nice tank off-view,
but hopefully in the future, people can see them.
-So is Geoff fully grown?
-We think he's about fully grown now.
They can get to about 15cm-20cm long, which is about eight inches long.
So we're probably talking almost twice his size.
I mean, he's about eight years old now.
He used to be someone's pet and he's just arrived to us.
-Can I just have a look...
Silly question, but can you sex a snail?
They have both male and female organs, so they're hermaphrodites.
Right. Can I just turn... He's not going to fall off, is he?
-You might have to gently hold him...
-So there we can see him.
That's his foot area there, where he's holding on to.
So that's a snail's foot?
They have one foot and it's very slimy, so they can
move along the ground to protect them from cutting themselves or anything.
And of course, you've got the eyes as well.
-Are these the eyes on these little kind of stalks?
-Yeah. On the stalks.
And they can roll them in and out, the eyes can.
And they've got two feelers down the bottom to feel along the ground.
What sort of distance could a snail like this cover?
About 50 metres a day.
-Which is actually not too bad considering the size.
So they do quite well.
And of course, if it gets too hot or too cold, they do actually hibernate.
And it can go right inside that shell to get away from direct sunlight
or if it's too cold, they go into the shell and go into hibernation.
And are they predated out in the wild? Does anything eat them?
Um, yes, humans can eat them and also lots of predators like hyenas,
big birds of prey would eat them.
And also the slime makes it harder for an animal to try
and grab them, cos it's slips out of their hands or beaks.
So does Geoff ever come out and about in Pets Corner to meet anyone?
He does. We bring him out so the public can meet him.
We bring him out when it is the correct temperature.
He'll come out and say hello.
But you're hoping at some stage to eventually have
-a special compound for Geoff?
We're hoping to make a nice tank for him so that people can actually
-see him and Brian, the other snail, which will be brilliant.
Well, Bev, thank you very much.
There you go, the whole new world of the African land snail.
Back in Tiger Territory, the three feisty sisters
are exploring their new home.
Whilst Svetli and Shouri have settled in a corner
to watch the world go by,
Soundari is investigating everything in sight.
Soundari might play like a big softy, but the keepers all know
this pussy cat is a killing machine.
It's still the first time
the tigers have been out here and anything could happen.
Head of section Brian is trying to keep a close eye on them.
It's a bit awkward when they're all split up.
You have a vehicle down that end and someone up here with another one.
I'm worried about what the general public will get up to with them.
That's got deputy head warden Ian Turner worried, too.
He's come down to keep an eye on the visitors.
You've got to watch the cars.
If people have their window down like this is, she'll have 'em.
No danger. And we've put extra signs on the gates now.
There's five more signs warning about windows, but they still have windows open.
I've shouted at three people today.
The public just don't read the signs. "Please keep your window closed".
Cos they don't realise how fast they can move.
But some people are about to find out.
It's a tiger's natural instinct to stalk and chase.
When the pheasants have all flown, Soundari turns her attention
to bigger prey.
It's down to the patrol vehicles to intervene
and make Soundari back off.
But now she's really got interested in the cars.
With one swipe of her four-centimetre claws,
she could easily shred a tyre and do some serious damage.
And even large buses aren't too big for her to take on.
This may be just a game for her, but it's proven just how dangerous
these tigers could be.
It's certainly been an eventful day for the spirited three.
Soundari's been all over the place.
It's been a good day for her.
I should imagine she'll sleep well tonight.
The next step...
Well, the next challenge is getting them back in.
It's a two-vehicle operation to herd the tigers back to their house.
Go in, you naughty girl.
It's a little bit boggy over here,
so we'll have to be a little bit careful.
I think she knows what's going on.
We just have to make sure...
Come on, darling.
Good girl. Come on.
That's it. Minimum of fuss, look.
Obviously, the main thing we don't want to do is frighten her.
So far, so good.
Well, she's in. She's in the compound.
And Soundari hopefully is going to follow.
Go on, good girl.
Go on, all the way.
Finally, the keepers can breathe a sigh of relief.
Today has been
Soundari is being quite fun to watch actually.
We haven't had this sort of action for years in here.
It's not just the tigers that are new to the park.
There are two other newcomers about to set sail over on Half Mile Lake.
The lake is an artificial water feature.
It was designed over 200 years ago
by England's most famous landscape gardener, Capability Brown,
and dug out by hand.
No country estate as grand as Longleat
could possibly be without its boating lake.
Today the tradition continues and visitors are always keen
to take a trip round the lake.
It's the only way to get a close-up view
of the gorillas on their island, the hippos in the water,
and, of course, the ever-playful Californian sea lions.
But the boat trip's popularity has caused a problem.
The queues have become much too long.
The solution was obvious, build some bigger boats.
Last year, we joined head warden Keith Harris and the team
when they went to check on progress at a boatyard in Warwickshire.
It looks huge. Whether they'll look that big on the lake,
I don't know, and how they'll handle.
Longleat's most experienced sailor was there, too, Bill Lord.
This is my first time in the cabin.
Ah, I like the look of this.
The trouble with bigger boats is they have bigger bottoms.
And the lake just wasn't deep enough.
So before they arrived, it had to be drained away and a digger brought in
to deepen the shallow parts.
It was a big day when the two new boats were delivered
and put into the water.
But now the time has come to give them proper names.
They're due to be officially launched tomorrow
as Lady Bath and Lady Lenka.
Before the big day, Bill Lord, nicknamed the Admiral,
is giving the boats a last-minute test drive.
'Well, it's 68 feet long, it weighs 27 tonnes,
'it's got a beam of about 12'6",
'and it only draws about 2'6" in the water, so it sits pretty high.
You get a very good view. The engine's right in the centre.
It's only small, about 1. 6 litres capacity.
That's only about the same as a small family car.
But then this boat is state of the art.
It's all hydraulics. The whole boat is hydraulically driven.
Would you believe, we have a window wiper that works?
And we have a covered cabin, bilge pumps, PA systems, a fuel gauge.
It's all push-button stuff. It's got everything we need.
Smashing piece of equipment. Yeah, really love it.
Steve Savage is on standby, just in case extra hands are needed on deck.
he's an assistant house steward, but he started out on the boats.
40 years ago I stepped foot on here when I'd just left school.
I worked three months down here before I jumped ship
and joined the Fire Service,
but it's the first time I've been down here for 40 years.
It's the first thing like it in the country.
And to be able to go around and see the sea lions
and actually everybody feed them...
I used to sell the little buckets of fish
and it was threepence, old money, a bucket.
And at the end of the day, the sea lions were so fat
they didn't want to eat and there was fish floating all over the lake.
It wasn't quite as safe as the boats that we have now.
Everybody would go to one side and then the boat would tip.
And the sea lions would perform and everybody would end up soaking wet,
but they didn't care.
Then there was the time that Lord Bath almost caused a shipwreck.
Oh, on the lake...
I bought a boat which was really to get my children to enjoy
sailing on the lake.
I found I couldn't even sail it in the right direction
and the nearer I went to Gorilla Island,
alarms were put up on the estate
which I didn't actually know were being put up.
But I suddenly found there were protection boats
being sent to retrieve me.
They perhaps were necessary, cos I mightn't have found
such a good relationship with the gorillas as I was anticipating.
To make sure there's no chance of any maritime mishap,
the team has been rehearsing and the Admiral has plotted
every move wtih naval precision.
Right, we've got everybody
hopefully assembled in front, but we pre-position the boats.
We strap them together to make sure we have stability
and they don't part when they start spraying champagne on them.
They've got a high superstructure, prone to being blown by the wind.
And if they start to move, 27 tonnes twice is going to move and not stop.
We have to make sure that doesn't happen,
otherwise we'll have a disaster. It's fairly muddy there
and they might stick on the mud.
But these new boats are SO big and SO modern,
surely nothing could go wrong on their maiden voyage?
But of course, that's what they said about the Titanic.
Down in the new area live four stunning white rhinos.
There's Unjanu, Merashi and Resina, but it's Winston who leads the gang.
At a grand old age of 38, he's a stately elder
who's settled in to a gentler pace of life.
But today, he's in for a little excitement.
So I've joined deputy head of section Kevin Nibbs
down at the rhino house to find out exactly what's going on.
You are trying out an experiment today, Kevin, I gather?
That's right. Yep, it's totally new to us.
It's a bit of an enrichment experiment,
so it's going to be good for Winnie to be involved in this.
You've got a shovel, which always worries me.
-What's this involve?
-This actually involves dung,
believe it or not, hence the shovel.
-What we've got is some dung from another collection here.
This has come from outside Longleat?
This is rhino dung from a different collection?
It's come from another rhino, so what we're hoping to do
is to give him a bit to sniff and see what he does.
It's just like being in the wild.
-Oh, all right. OK.
-So see what he's going to do with it. Good luck.
I knew you'd get me to do the shovelling.
-OK. Well, it's all grass anyway, isn't it?
There we go. About that sort of amount?
That's fantastic, yep.
Best to try and pop it through the bars.
OK, while he's not looking.
And he'll come over and hopefully get a good whiff of that.
Now you say that this sort of mimics how a rhino would perhaps react
if it came across another rhino's dung in the wild?
Does that mean that they tend to be quite solitary usually?
Yeah, the bull white rhino is very solitary.
They have their own territory.
Within that, they have females visiting it.
That's when they go and mate with them.
But they also get other male rhinos as well, filtering through.
So he may come over, sniff this, think it's another bull rhino
and react in an aggressive way.
He'll probably want to put his own scent back on to it,
or he could come across, think it was a female and get quite excited.
Will he be able to tell that it's a male or female dung?
-He's going straight for it.
-I think he will.
There's a lot of hormones that they produce in the dung,
so he'll be able to tell if it's a female, what stage she's in in her own cycle.
If it's a male dung, he'll sniff that and become territorial.
So he'll probably put his own scent on that anyway.
And why is it important for you to do this sort of thing?
Something that interests him in other ways is what we're looking for.
So this is a fantastic idea
and hopefully he can start producing natural behaviours,
by becoming territorial or searching for which one has done this.
He might walk around for half a mile just searching for another rhino.
And they do tend to go to the loo in the same area every time.
They have their own middens to mark their territory.
Every so often around their territory
they'd be a big lump of rhino dung basically.
And they'd visit that quite often just to freshen up the scent.
And would that be...
If another rhino was encroaching on that area,
would they tend to use the same midden?
Would they come in and sort of effectively put their own dung
in there to tell the resident rhino, "I've come in and visited"?
Exactly. A new rhino would come across it, sniff it and if it was
a young or small rhino, they'd probably move away quite quickly.
But another big rhino would come in, have a good sniff
and try and take over the territory. It's just a way rhinos communicate.
He walked away, coming back again.
-It's obviously interesting him.
-Something there got him interested.
I mean, I suppose he's been here a very long time.
He has seen the three new South African rhinos come in,
a new male come in to his territory and even though they never meet,
he obviously smells him.
Do you think that the fact that he's very secure here,
he's very well looked after perhaps explains
this reaction that he's not overly bothered by another rhino's dung?
I think so. He's the biggest animal we've got here and he knows that.
So I think he's pretty secure. This is his territory, this yard.
That's his territory and he comes out everyday.
So he's got his own smell out here, his own scent.
And I think he's pretty happy there's nothing else around at the moment.
So are you a bit disappointed
that we didn't get a great reaction to your experiment?
I am kind of, in a way. It's nice for him to have a new smell here
and maybe he has picked up a little bit and gone off with that.
But I was expecting a bit more maybe.
You know, a little bit of a snort, a bit of a runaround, but he's...
He's just too laid back and comfortable, Ken.
-I blame you.
You look after him too well.
Well, thank you very, very much
and I think we'll just leave Winston to wander around in peace.
Back down by Half Mile Lake, final preparations are being made
before the launch of two brand-new boats.
There's just time for some final adjustments, hoovering the lawn
and swabbing the main deck, before Lord and Lady Bath arrive
to launch the two new vessels.
MUSIC: "What Shall We Do with the Drunken Sailor?"
They're to be named Lady Bath and Lady Lenka,
after the Baths' daughter.
The shipping forecast is good
and the Admiral, boat driver Bill Lord, is feeling quietly confident.
Oh, brilliant, yeah. I'm looking forward to this.
This is the highlight of my year,
I'd think this one is.
We've waited a few years to get these two beasties in place.
Safari park head warden Keith Harris
can hardly believe it's all happening at last.
This is almost the culmination of about three years work.
From the time we actually said, "Yes, we're going to have new boats,"
to planning, designing, building,
getting them here, getting them in service.
I think it's been about three years.
So a little champagne today is not going to go amiss.
And now the VIPs are on their way.
Guest, members of the press and, of course, Lord Bath.
Oh, my goodness. This is...
-And I'm strong!
-There's hardly a detail Bill has overlooked.
Though it's impossible to plan for every potential mishap.
Did you glue this?!
-OK, OK, it's ready.
MUSIC: "Rule, Britannia"
I name this boat...
Lady Lenka. And may all who sail in her be well preserved
and come back safely and enjoy themselves.
FOG HORNS BLARE
Christening the bows is just the start of the proceedings.
I declare her open.
Would you like the ringside seat?
It's the first time Lady Bath has ventured on to the boat
since her daughter, Lenka, and son, Ceawlin, were very young.
That's about 25 years ago.
Now before we set sail I have to tell you about safety...
As the oldest seadog they've got, it falls to Bill to do the commentary.
And the first lovely creature we see is Buster the breeding bull.
Here he is right beside us.
The sea lions are always pleased to see the first boats out on the lake,
as it means breakfast is on the way.
Here, come here.
And yet they share this lake with the most dangerous animals at Longleat:
Here he is, look, right beside us now.
For Lady Bath, it was 46-year-old Nico,
the Western Lowland silverback gorilla, who stole the show.
Lord Bath did get to hold the wheel,
if only for a few seconds to pose for the press.
And towards me again, sir.
Long enough for the boat to start veering off course.
Just give me a good smile on it, sir.
-That's lovely. One more, sir.
-Right, but we're going the wrong way.
It never felt as if it was under my command.
We were heading that way and it didn't turn when I turned.
For Steve Savage, who worked on the boats 40 years ago,
it's been a day to remember.
Good bless the ships.
To the boats! To you all!
It was absolutely fantastic.
I'm quite emotional about it really.
It was fun. It was more than fun, it was brilliant.
For the Admiral, it's a relief to have the fleet safely set sail.
The worst disaster was Lord Bath trying to get the cork out of the bottle.
But all in all the day turned out shipshape and Bristol fashion.
And Lord Bath enjoyed ruling the waves, if only for a morning.
Oh, I had to live up to the hat.
And almost promptly drove into the side,
but he persuaded me to turn the wheel at the right moment.
It's nearly the end of the programme, but before we go,
Kate and I just had to come back up here
to catch up with the three new tigers.
We're here with keeper Bob Trollope.
Bob, they're looking fantastic out in the sunlight.
They look brilliant, don't they?
You're still learning about their traits when they're out like this.
Cos you've had some problems with them attacking cars, haven't you?
Soundari more so than these two.
Soundari is very adventurous and nothing seems to faze her.
And obviously coming from a zoo environment,
vehicles are new to her, so it's a game. It's hunting.
So, Bob, who's this coming up to us now?
-This is Soundari.
-Are we OK with the windows open?
-Ah, it might be advisable to shut yours, Ben.
Cos I'm quite slow with this window.
So what does she make of cars?
I think they are prey to her.
This is something that's moving and it's quite often the moving
-that gets her reaction.
She does actually
chase parked cars...
She is magnificent.
It's wonderful to watch her kind of gait.
Isn't it? Yeah. And those enormous paws, enormous paws.
I mean, you just see there's such strength there.
It's like this whole sort of pent-up energy.
She looks quite like a relaxed cat
and you know in one moment she could completely change.
And she's still got a bit of growing to do.
-She's not fully grown?
She's not quite two years old.
Here she comes, running alongside.
Bob, I bet you can't get enough of this,
in terms of just watching them and observing them.
This is absolutely brilliant.
Cos it's nice to have any new animal, but when you've got
something like these, then you know that's pure power there.
And what do they make of the local wildlife?
Well, they've had to rethink,
-the local squirrels and pheasants, I must admit.
I'm sure they got so used to...
Kadu sort of ambling past, and now, Soundari, she chases after them,
-at lightning speed.
And she don't stop at the base of a tree, she goes up the tree!
So there's no escape.
So the squirrels and the pheasants are all packing their bags?
They are, yes.
Well, Bob, it's great to see that they're doing well out here.
I hope they don't attack too many more cars in the following weeks.
We, of course, will be keeping you updated
with the new tigers' progress.
Sadly, that's the end of today's programme.
But here's what's coming up on the next Animal Park.
Last year, the pregnant sea lions
defended their territory against the keepers.
But it's birthing time again and another fight is brewing.
They've decided they don't want the beach, they want my bridge.
So I'm not having it. I will win.
The tigers tear into something new.
And the great house goes under wraps for a monumental makeover.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media
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.