Episode 7 Animal Park


Episode 7

Kate Humble goes down to Wolf Wood to get food for the tortoises. Meanwhile Ben Fogle puts out some super-sized cat toys for the lions, and babies are imminent on Meerkat Mountain.


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Transcript


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The meerkats are some of the most popular animals here at Longleat,

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but following their story has been a heartbreaking experience.

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There have been many glorious births, but also, tragically, many deaths at Meerkat Mountain.

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Everyone has their fingers crossed as their journey continues today.

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'Today on Animal Park, I'll be helping to put up new toys for the lions,

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'to prove they're just big pussycats.'

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'The pygmy goats have had a baby boom. We'll be meeting the new kids on the block.'

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And Kate goes in search of the world's most dangerous tortoise food.

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But we're starting off with high drama on Meerkat Mountain.

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Meerkat Mountain is one of the most dangerous places in the park.

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The collective name for a gang of meerkats is a mob,

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which is quite appropriate, after all the violence and tragedy that has happened here in recent times.

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-Hi, guys.

-Darren Beasley is the keeper in charge.

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His mission has always been to get them to breed.

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But before that could ever happen, the mob had to become a settled and stable family group.

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We've been trying to get the meerkat balance here right,

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and it's been a real trial for all the keepers down here.

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We brought in some new blood from two collections -

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some girls and a single boy, a breeding male.

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And it was a nightmare. There was fighting, there was squabbling,

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and in the end, very sadly, there was a fatality.

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They fought so badly that they killed each other.

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Meerkats come from the barren deserts of southern Africa,

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a landscape so harsh that the only rule is kill or be killed.

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But after that murder, the mob did settle down.

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An alpha male and female emerged as leaders, and finally, they began to breed.

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Three pups from their first litter have survived, and they're now four months old.

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It's taken years, and tears and heartache along the way,

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but we're there, and long may it reign.

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Once there's an established alpha couple,

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there's no reason why they shouldn't just keep breeding.

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A mob can easily have over 30 family members.

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But at Meerkat Mountain, it seems that tragedy is never far away.

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When the next litter came, there were two pups.

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But one soon died, and the other was abandoned by her parents.

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So, keeper John Reynolds took on the labour intensive and emotionally charged task of hand rearing.

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He looked after the baby for five weeks.

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And then, the time came to try to reintegrate her into the mob.

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'I think she is ready to go back in with the male.

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'She is old enough now, she is strong enough, she is healthy enough.

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'She really needs to be back with her own kind, it's good for her.

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'I mean, I can't teach her to dig in the ground

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'or stand up on her two legs. I can't teach her to be a meerkat.'

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This is the moment of truth.

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Will the mob accept the baby back, or kill her as an intruder?

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So far, this is looking good.

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I'm absolutely thrilled with what's happened here,

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it's gone better than I could have possibly imagined.

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They've taken to her like she was never gone.

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It really is absolutely incredible.

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But sadly, this early success was short-lived.

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Nobody knows why or how it happened, but a few days later,

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John's little baby was found dead.

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But this wasn't the last drama on Meerkat Mountain,

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because the alpha female is now pregnant again.

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And we'll be back soon to see what happens

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when the next litter of pups comes along.

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They may be ferocious killers who'd as soon rip your throat out as look at you,

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but lions also like nothing more than a good play.

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So last year, we helped put up some giant cat toys,

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and it was fantastic to see how much they enjoyed the apparatus.

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Unfortunately, it didn't take the lions long to tear the lot to shreds,

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though the toys may have lasted longer if only they'd been a bit bigger.

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Over there are some very keen lions.

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I'm out in the lion enclosure with a very unusual toy,

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and I've come to catch up with keeper Bob Trollope.

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-Hi, Bob.

-Hi, Ben.

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-A lion toy.

-Yes.

-Mark two, because we have done this before, haven't we?

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Yes, we have, and they absolutely love this sort of stimulation.

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-We've got a few new designs.

-OK. So, presumably, this is a swing.

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A swingy-type thing, obviously, with added extras.

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You won't find that in your normal playground!

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And I've noticed the rope here is really solid.

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-That is a think rope.

-This is thicker than we've used in the past.

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Several reasons for that - lions have got sharp teeth and they do tend to eat it!

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OK. So, where are we going to put this enormous ball?

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We're going to hang it from this log here, so that they can swing and dangle on it.

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But this is basically to keep them busy and occupied...

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-Yeah.

-It's not just for show, is it?

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No. They have each other to play with, obviously,

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but we do try to stimulate them with other things.

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-And toys are something that we can...

-We've got Craig there, helping us. Morning, Craig.

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Just pass that up and over.

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-I think we've have to wrap this round a few times.

-Shall we put that through there?

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-And pull that back.

-Then if we let that down and tighten that up around...

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So, just remind me which pride this is.

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This is Kabir's pride. One of the reasons why we do it in this pride

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is because there's a lot of youngsters. If we go over that way...

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We have to send this over now, so Craig, if you can get that.

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We have to send it round quite a few times until we get it to the right height.

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So this is Kabir's pride. And of course, there are some youngsters in with them now,

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-who last year could barely even reach...

-They were too small last year to play with the toys we had.

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-So this is going to be really new to them.

-Yeah.

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-They played with the remains!

-Yeah.

-Because lions, as we know, are...

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-Now, let's just see...

-Will that swing?

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-I think...

-I reckon they could do a lot with that, yeah.

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Because if we go any higher, it's going to be too close to it.

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I think that'll be a pretty good level.

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And do you think it's going to be those youngsters that will come out here first of all,

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-and just jump on it? Because walking in, they were all looking at me.

-They're keen to get out,

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you can see them there. Youngsters will definitely play with this.

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More likely, mum... I like to think Kabir will come over and investigate,

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but whether he plays with it or not... He might just watch the kids playing, I think.

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OK. Well, shall we get in?

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And join us later in the programme,

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and we'll find out what Kabir's pride make of their new toys.

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OK, take her away, Craig!

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It's not obvious, but Meerkat Mountain is hollow.

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Underneath is the mob's indoor pen.

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And that's where the keep in charge of them, Darren Beasley, has just made an exciting discovery.

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HIGH PITCHED YELPING (You can hear the noise!)

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(One, two, three, four five.)

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Five brand new babies.

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And mum's been brilliant, she's been nursing them, so they've had their first milk.

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Hopefully this will boost our numbers again and it'll be a happy little meerkat mob.

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That's what we want. So we'll leave them in peace now.

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In the wild, it would be very unusual for all five to survive.

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We always have this problem with any baby animal -

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we get all excited on day one, but it's just the beginning of mum and dad's real hard work,

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so the thing with the meerkats, if they get it right, which we know these guys can now,

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is that the older brothers and sisters will help.

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Bit of nice weather and they'll be out like little teddy bear miniature meerkats very soon.

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And touch wood - I know it's only the first couple of hours they've been born - but it's looking excellent.

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But Darren knows only too well that when there's good news on Meerkat Mountain,

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bad news is often not far behind.

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We'll be back very soon.

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Earlier in the series, we saw what happened when Sour, the nanny goat, had triplets.

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Unfortunately, she just couldn't cope with three, and so rejected the smallest one.

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The little kid would certainly have died if senior warden Bev Evans hadn't intervened.

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And for a while there, it was still touch and go.

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But the baby did survive, was named Bubble, and has had to be bottle fed ever since.

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But that was just the start of this year's pygmy goat birthing season,

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so Kate has gone to meet Bev and catch up with developments.

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-There seem, suddenly, to be thousands of them!

-Yes, we've got quite a lot at the moment.

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We've got about 21. We had a bit of a prosperous year this year for breeding,

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-we had nine kids born.

-That's fantastic.

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Although you would think that goats could breed very easily,

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pygmy goats are quite difficult to breed, is that right?

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They can be. They conceive quite well, but the breed does have

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quite a high stillborn and mortality rate with the youngsters.

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So it can be quite a difficult birth for them, because they are so small.

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And all of them doing well, all the parents doing the things they should do?

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Er, kind of. We do have two hand reared females.

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Basically, two of our girls had triplets.

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One didn't have enough milk, so we took one of the females off,

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and the other one just kind of abandoned one of the little ones.

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Oh, really? Quite often with sheep, they'll take one away and give it to another mother.

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So why did you hand rear and not give it to one of the other adults?

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We didn't have anyone, really, who could take one on.

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They all had enough babies of their own, so we were able to hand rear them from powdered milk instead.

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So which two need feeding, and how on earth do you manage to feed them and not all the others?

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-Well, there are two, you can see...

-These two!

-..they're the two keenest. This is Dora and Bubble.

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Bubble was the one who was abandoned by her mum, Sour.

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We don't really know why, she just was,

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so we had to intervene quite dramatically.

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Now, I heard that really, you were key in saving Bubble's life, she wasn't going to make it.

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Yes, Andy and I kept an eye on her throughout the day, but she went downhill.

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She got a little bit cold, and generally, she was kind of at death's door, to be blunt.

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But we just kept rubbing her with a towel, things like that,

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syringed some colostrum, which we milked off Sour,

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and just tried to keep her spirits up.

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And it didn't take too long, just a few hours, until she stood up on her own.

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Shall we try giving them some food now, and see what they want to do?

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I don't think I've ever hand fed a goat before! Lambs, yes, goats, no.

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This is Bubble, she has a little less milk as she's a bit smaller.

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Is there a knack to it?

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Just head it towards her mouth and just lift up slightly,

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she kind of does the rest, but she's incredibly strong for her size.

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As you can see!

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It must be quite hard being a mother goat, actually!

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They really do push to get the milk out, don't they?

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Yeah, and as you can see, it doesn't take them very long to actually drink most of the milk.

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They're absolutely adorable. It must be very rewarding for you

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to get them to this stage, get them to the stage where they can almost go and be completely independent.

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They've done very well the whole way through,

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we haven't had any problems with them at all, touch wood!

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So yeah, it's been really good.

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You're getting it all over your head!

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That's it, crikey! Absolutely done and dusted, Bubble,

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you can keep sucking on that, but I don't think you're going to find any more.

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Bev, they're a complete credit to you, very well done.

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You're not going to give up, are you, little one?

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And we look forward to seeing her out and grazing on the grass very, very soon.

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Well done, you two! Aren't you brilliant? Yes!

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Keeping the safari park running smoothly seven days a week, 52 weeks a year

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is a massive logistical operation.

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There are over 100 members of staff responsible for everything

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from caring for the animals to maintaining the grounds.

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But of all the jobs, one of the most important is just keeping the animals well fed.

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With 900 animals in the park, there's a lot of mouths to feed,

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about 90 species, you know, it's a big operation.

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Mark Tye is the keeper in charge of looking after all the lake animals.

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But he's also responsible for supplying food to the entire safari park.

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We have to make sure that it's all done and ordered,

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and delivered on time. Animals don't wait for anybody, they expect their food on time,

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at the right time and in the right way, so we have to make sure we're on the ball

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and we all get it sorted every day.

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Hardly a day goes by without a food delivery of some sort.

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With some many different species, each with their own dietary requirement,

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Lake animals keeper Michelle Stephens also has a lot on her plate.

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'This is the feed store, this is where it all happens.

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'This is where we make all the feed up for the whole safari park,

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'and we distribute it out to everyone.'

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And it's important to keep the pantry organised.

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Dog biscuits and whole maize, which are given to the monkeys.

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Bran in this one, which is given to the giraffes.

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We've got some primate pellets - this is a very good specialist diet for the monkeys

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and our gorilla, as well.

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This is something called cattle crunch, and it's what some of the hoof stock have.

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-Over here, we've got the fruit and vegetables.

-The monkeys in particular are big fruit eaters.

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And we get a lot of boxes of apples and oranges a year, just for those alone.

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In this bin here, we've got the flamingo food.

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It's a specialist diet for the flamingos.

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It's got a colouring agent in it, which keeps the flamingos nice and pink.

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In the wild, flamingos go pink because of a natural substance in their food.

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But here, they need that supplement.

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Here we've got linseed lozenges, which we give to the giraffes,

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as a supplementary diet. We have chinchilla pellets...

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'The other major thing is the fish delivery, which is important to me, for my animals,

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'the sea lions and pelicans.'

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We get this about every six to eight weeks.

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It's a fair amount, keeps us going for a little while.

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Also, here, we've got some salt licks and some copper licks.

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This is given to the hoof stock, just a vitamin boost for them.

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We've got large mixed nuts, things like walnuts, brazil nuts, that sort of thing.

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The parrots in Pets Corner absolutely love these, it's like a treat that they get.

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And that's basically the whole feed room.

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Every year, between them, the animals consume 44 tonnes of meat...

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13 tonnes of fish...

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42 tonnes of high fibre food,

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8,000 bales of hay,

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3,600 apples,

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29,000 oranges,

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23,000 bananas,

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21,000 cabbages,

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and 1,500 lettuces.

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Plus a whole host of other fruit, vegetables, nuts, maize, bran,

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corn, biscuits... and some very juicy bugs.

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First thing every morning, Mark loads up his van and heads off round the park.

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All the sections are keen that they get their food as early as they can.

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so we have to get in early and get it all delivered as quick as possible.

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-Anything else you need?

-That's all.

-That's all? All right, cheers, then.

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It's one of those things, people just expect their food to arrive every morning,

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and sometimes they don't appreciate what it takes to get it there, so, you know, there's a lot of work

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that goes into making sure that all of this food is delivered on time.

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It's a big job to make sure we don't forget anything, because if we do, then on our heads be it, you know!

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We'll be back with Mark and Michelle later

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to discover who's the greediest feeder,

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and to find out some of the strange things that animals eat.

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I am out in Wolf Wood,

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and I mean OUT in Wolf Wood, with Deputy Head Warden, Ian Turner.

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Ian, this seems very, very unwise!

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Usually, we only ever get out to feed the wolves

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and then get back into the feed truck.

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-But we're just here with our Land Rover - why?

-We need tortoise food.

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-Tortoise food?!

-This is tortoise food.

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Plantain, which we need to get. We haven't been able to do this for the last three or four weeks,

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-because of the wolf pups.

-Right.

-The parents have got a bit better now, they're letting us do this.

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When you say, "a bit better," what were they like before?

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-You literally couldn't get on the grass. If you did, they would be over here now.

-Really?

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Quite aggressive. I mean, they are beginning, in a slightly nerve-wracking way,

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to move round, in a sort of pincer movement!

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I'm just looking over there...OK, so we'd better pick this grass.

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OK, why is this good for tortoises, and surely, it grows somewhere else in the park?

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It does, but because we haven't been able to do this for the last four weeks,

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I've been depleting the stocks of it everywhere else.

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And now the wolves have quietened down, it's the ideal time to grab it.

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And what's so good about it for tortoises?

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It's got all the vitamins they need. Perfect tortoise food.

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-OK. So we need to get this whole sackful?

-Yeah.

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Blimey. That's quite a lot, Ian. I'll pick, you just keep an eye on the wolves!

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-Go for this big stuff, it's always best.

-OK.

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So, I mean, presumably, the wolves are a bit more relaxed now

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-because the cubs are a little bit...

-Bit bigger, they can defend for themselves now.

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They're not worried about us doing anything to them.

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Right.

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..He says with his fingers crossed. LAUGHTER

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Now these are Canadian timber wolves. What would their prey be?

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They'd look for rabbits and stuff like that in the wild and they'd look out for moose.

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-Right.

-So, if you've got a sick moose they would follow it

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maybe for 20, 30 miles until it collapses and then they'll be on it.

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OK, well we've got a pretty good amount there. How many tortoises have we got to feed?

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-We've got lots, we need a bit more.

-We need more.

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-If you bring the sack here.

-OK.

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So, is this a special treat for tortoises

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or something that you try and give them as often as possible?

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-Dandelions which are more or less coming out of season now.

-Right.

0:20:370:20:42

And plantain as I say is a big one.

0:20:420:20:44

We don't want to take too much, we can always come back another day.

0:20:440:20:48

-That's a good sackful, all right?

-OK.

0:20:480:20:50

We're going to run back in.

0:20:500:20:52

Fine. So...

0:20:590:21:00

Mission successfully accomplished, now all we've got to do is go and feed the tortoises.

0:21:000:21:06

Join us later.

0:21:060:21:07

At Meerkat Mountain, the five new babies are no six weeks old

0:21:170:21:21

and it's a very special day for them and their keeper John Reynolds.

0:21:210:21:25

It's a lovely day today so we've decided that we're going to let the meerkats out.

0:21:250:21:29

We have let them out before but this is going to be the first full day.

0:21:290:21:33

It's very rare for them to have five

0:21:330:21:36

and, to be honest, we didn't expect all of them to survive.

0:21:360:21:39

And we've got the results now, we've got all five still living

0:21:390:21:43

and absolutely incredible.

0:21:430:21:45

And now, here they come.

0:21:470:21:48

Meerkats don't start to get their adult markings until they're around three months old

0:21:500:21:54

but they are born with those black patches round their eyes

0:21:540:21:59

which make them look like little gangsters.

0:21:590:22:02

There's a large enclosure to be explored and plenty of mischief to get up to.

0:22:050:22:09

Already their personalities are starting to show. Some are more adventurous than others.

0:22:260:22:30

And, at the end of the day, they're all exhausted

0:22:300:22:34

and ready to go back into their house under the Mountain.

0:22:340:22:37

Eagle-eyed John has been watching them closely

0:22:370:22:40

and has spotted that one has a minor injury.

0:22:400:22:42

They've been bounding around, playing,

0:22:440:22:46

having a whale of a time out there but one of them has hurt his eye or something.

0:22:460:22:51

It's either got caught on a stick or something outside or possibly been fighting.

0:22:510:22:55

So it's gone a bit sore.

0:22:550:22:56

So we're just going to put some medication on it

0:22:560:22:59

if there's any infection to clear any infections

0:22:590:23:02

but also just for our peace of mind, really.

0:23:020:23:04

'Meerkats identify each other mainly by smell

0:23:040:23:08

'so John makes sure he gets the mob's scent on his hands

0:23:080:23:11

'before he administers the eye drops.'

0:23:110:23:13

Come on. Here we go.

0:23:130:23:16

Right, here he is.

0:23:170:23:18

We don't really want to work unless we absolutely have to

0:23:180:23:22

but we're just trying to step in there before anything happens.

0:23:220:23:25

You all right?

0:23:320:23:34

Over the next few days, John keeps a close eye on them.

0:23:370:23:41

By watching their parents, the babies quickly learn

0:23:410:23:44

to eat bugs and fruit, the staples of a meerkat diet.

0:23:440:23:46

And because there are five brothers and sisters,

0:23:460:23:49

there's a lot of rough and tumble at dinner time.

0:23:490:23:52

From a young age, even in the wild, the babies, they would fight amongst themselves

0:23:520:23:57

cos they want more food, they want to be the strongest and biggest.

0:23:570:24:00

In the wild, it would be survival of the fittest.

0:24:000:24:03

In the barren deserts where they come from, food is very scarce

0:24:030:24:07

and an extra mouthful can be the difference between life and death.

0:24:070:24:11

Meerkat Mountain is a much safer place to grow up

0:24:110:24:14

but it's not completely without hazards.

0:24:140:24:17

One has had fall and is limping.

0:24:180:24:20

Although John's concerned,

0:24:200:24:21

he knows it could be more dangerous to intervene.

0:24:210:24:24

We'll keep an eye on it for now, the next couple of days -

0:24:250:24:28

monitor it, make sure it's all right.

0:24:280:24:30

We'll do it from a distance to begin with, we don't really want to go in there, picking it up every day.

0:24:300:24:35

For one thing, it'll stress it and the mum out and we don't want that

0:24:350:24:39

so we'll just keep an eye on it, see how it goes.

0:24:390:24:41

So far there's only been a couple of minor injuries

0:24:410:24:45

but these little ones still have a long way to go.

0:24:450:24:48

We'll be back later to see if they all survive.

0:24:480:24:51

Earlier on, I helped keeper Bob Trollope put out some cat toys for the lions

0:25:030:25:08

and not it's time to release them.

0:25:080:25:10

So, Bob, we've got all of the rope out there.

0:25:100:25:14

It's all looking pretty good. So, are we ready to let the lions out?

0:25:140:25:18

Yeah, I'll just give Craig a shout.

0:25:180:25:20

Can you let them out now, Craig, please.

0:25:200:25:22

And any idea which... Here they come!

0:25:220:25:24

I was going to ask which one might come first.

0:25:240:25:27

So who is that that's come straight in?

0:25:270:25:29

That's Jasira and then you've got the small ones, last year's youngsters.

0:25:290:25:34

So they like the swing. Straightaway!

0:25:340:25:37

Oh, that's it!

0:25:370:25:38

Wow, look at the power of that.

0:25:380:25:41

So, they're not nervous about new things, are they?

0:25:410:25:44

No, there's curiosity.

0:25:440:25:46

Straightaway one them gets on the top and starts chewing.

0:25:460:25:49

And it's almost like it's co-ordinated,

0:25:490:25:52

that a few have gone up to the top and the rest are down at the bottom.

0:25:520:25:55

Using their mouths and claws,

0:25:550:25:57

are they feeling it or are they playing with it still?

0:25:570:26:01

That's... Everything that they would use is as if that was a prey animal.

0:26:010:26:05

Oh, here they go for the middle one.

0:26:050:26:08

So, who's that playing there?

0:26:080:26:10

That is Jasira again. She seems to be the one that investigates them first.

0:26:100:26:14

And there's a lot of weight on that.

0:26:140:26:17

So, obviously...

0:26:170:26:18

She's weighing in the region of about 150 pounds and that's taking that easily.

0:26:180:26:23

Look at those teeth going into it and the claws!

0:26:230:26:26

They have actually...

0:26:260:26:27

They haven't spotted the ball which is my favourite.

0:26:270:26:30

But as soon as they do...

0:26:300:26:32

See a lot of them want to go up the top and play.

0:26:320:26:34

And is that partly because the smell from us

0:26:340:26:37

when we were actually putting them up?

0:26:370:26:39

Yeah, we've been clambering all over the top of them

0:26:390:26:42

and actually there's a vegetable oil soaked into the rope as well,

0:26:420:26:46

so that'll be wafting around as well.

0:26:460:26:49

They put that on there to keep the rope supple, so it's easier to work.

0:26:490:26:54

Bob, it's such a fantastic sight

0:26:540:26:56

just seeing them all playing like little household cats.

0:26:560:26:59

Yeah, and that will keep them going for hours and hours and hours.

0:26:590:27:02

And it's only when they actually chew through the rope

0:27:020:27:06

that they become defunct.

0:27:060:27:08

And, obviously, that's the big debate, you know,

0:27:080:27:11

how long these are realistically going to last.

0:27:110:27:14

What do you think will be the first thing to give way?

0:27:140:27:17

Probably that one that Zazzie's playing on.

0:27:170:27:20

The thing is, you know, you've got to use rope that is degradable.

0:27:200:27:26

If they're biting it and then they're going to get little bits of them,

0:27:260:27:30

if that was nylon rope then...

0:27:300:27:32

Now, we've got going over to the ball... Who is that?

0:27:320:27:35

-That is Luna.

-So Luna's going over to test out...

0:27:350:27:39

-Oh, it's moving!

-Not really quite sure what to make of that.

0:27:390:27:42

Might need a bit of backup!

0:27:420:27:43

Exactly what I was going to say, the others are busy.

0:27:430:27:47

Look, look, look! That's so cool!

0:27:470:27:49

That is so cool!

0:27:490:27:51

Look, now we've got a little bit more confidence with the ball

0:27:540:27:57

over there with Luna although she still would like some backup.

0:27:570:28:00

As soon as they realise that there's another toy,

0:28:000:28:03

then they're going to play with that as well.

0:28:030:28:06

They get hours of enjoyment.

0:28:060:28:07

It's almost as if they're trying to take them down.

0:28:070:28:10

Up on the top of the tree stump there,

0:28:100:28:13

they're tearing at the rope that we tied around the top.

0:28:130:28:16

They obviously remember from last time that,

0:28:160:28:19

"If I chew this bit then that falls off and we can run around with it."

0:28:190:28:23

And they loved running around with it, didn't they?

0:28:230:28:25

-They did.

-And that's not a worry for you because it's all safe...

0:28:250:28:29

It's safe. That will break down

0:28:290:28:31

and any little bits that are left on the ground, they will rot

0:28:310:28:35

and that is ultimately what we want.

0:28:350:28:37

If you were using nylon then that would stay there for years and years and years as you know.

0:28:370:28:42

But this all rots down to nothing.

0:28:420:28:44

Fantastic. Well, Bob, thank you for letting me help you

0:28:440:28:50

and I think we have some very, very contented lions.

0:28:500:28:54

This is a fantastic new addition to Pets Corner.

0:29:040:29:08

I'm here with keeper, Jo Hawthorn and this beautiful, beautiful snake.

0:29:080:29:13

-What is it Jo?

-It's a corn snake.

0:29:130:29:15

What? I'm amazed, I thought corn snakes are usually smaller than this.

0:29:150:29:19

They are. They're really colourful, Kate, and they start off like little colour pencils if you like.

0:29:190:29:24

Obviously he's nine now and, believe it or not, although they stay very long and thin,

0:29:240:29:29

they can go up to kind of five, six foot long.

0:29:290:29:31

He's incredible!

0:29:310:29:33

The colours are stunning, aren't they?

0:29:330:29:35

-They are.

-Absolutely stunning.

0:29:350:29:37

He's a he, as you say. Has he got a name?

0:29:370:29:40

Yeah - MC.

0:29:400:29:42

-MC?

-Which is short for something.

0:29:420:29:44

THEY LAUGH

0:29:440:29:45

OK! Come on, what is it?

0:29:450:29:46

Mischievous Corn Snake.

0:29:460:29:48

-A-ha!

-He's always trying to escape.

0:29:480:29:50

-Really?

-So, we all lock him away in his vivarium, lock the lock...

0:29:500:29:55

-Yeah.

-..And he's just got that tiny head there and, obviously, these are very strong.

0:29:550:30:00

-And he always, he just manages to get out.

-Really?!

0:30:000:30:05

He is, he's like Houdini.

0:30:050:30:07

We should have called him Houdini!

0:30:070:30:09

-Can get out of everything!

-Yeah, definitely.

0:30:090:30:11

How amazing, I mean, he is incredibly strong, just holding him.

0:30:110:30:15

He's a constrictor like the pythons that you've got.

0:30:150:30:18

He is. So he's really strong. It's obviously mostly muscle and you can feel round your arm now.

0:30:180:30:25

They really do catch on.

0:30:250:30:27

He's absolutely gorgeous but to humans, presumably, no danger at all.

0:30:270:30:31

They're not normally seen out in daytime.

0:30:310:30:34

They normally come out at night anyway and if you were walking where these hang out

0:30:340:30:38

they will get out your way, they are a very secretive kind of snake.

0:30:380:30:42

They're not harmful in any way to us.

0:30:420:30:44

He is absolutely gorgeous even if you are mischievous!

0:30:440:30:48

Well, Jo, thank you very much for introducing me.

0:30:480:30:51

Do you think you'll stick around long enough to tell us what's on the rest of the programme?

0:30:510:30:56

Still to come on today's Animal Park...

0:30:570:30:59

..we're going back to Meerkat Mountain to find out if all five babies survive.

0:31:010:31:05

Will Winky the one-wheel tortoise go for the wolves' weeds?

0:31:050:31:10

And Jamie Oliver's got nothing to beat Alexa's secret recipe -

0:31:110:31:15

just ask the ferrets.

0:31:150:31:16

Just a few months ago, three brothers arrived at Longleat

0:31:210:31:24

to begin a reign of terror in the East Africa reserve.

0:31:240:31:28

Their names -

0:31:280:31:29

Vlad The Impaler,

0:31:290:31:31

Attila The Hun

0:31:310:31:32

and Genghis Khan.

0:31:320:31:34

# What's that coming over the hill?

0:31:360:31:38

# Is it a monster? Is it a monster?

0:31:380:31:42

# What's that... #

0:31:420:31:43

They're warthogs, the first ones they've ever had here.

0:31:430:31:47

The keeper in charge of them is Andy Hayton and he's still getting to know the brothers.

0:31:470:31:53

Already he's found their names are not completely silly.

0:31:530:31:57

When we got hold of them we did think,

0:31:570:31:59

"Oh, yes. Pigs with big teeth" kind of thing.

0:31:590:32:01

We weren't that blase we knew that they were aggressive, we had read up on them.

0:32:010:32:05

We've learnt very quickly that these guys go from flat calm

0:32:050:32:09

to absolutely freaking and running around at 1,000 miles an hour in the bat of an eye.

0:32:090:32:14

And full speed is flying and they can be three or four feet off the ground.

0:32:140:32:19

Pigs can't jump.

0:32:190:32:21

Well, these guys can.

0:32:210:32:23

Very hard, you don't get any warning when they're going to get frightened or start running around.

0:32:230:32:29

You do have to treat them with kid gloves but they are aggressive, they're pretty scary when they start.

0:32:290:32:34

One of these guys here, it would be like getting hit by a steamroller at 40 miles an hour.

0:32:360:32:40

I really do not want one of these guys to get a hold of me, they're scary!

0:32:400:32:44

For now, Vlad, Attila and Genghis are being kept in a paddock by themselves

0:32:440:32:49

until Andy can assess just how wild and dangerous they really are.

0:32:490:32:54

We haven't got anything else like them.

0:32:540:32:56

You say warthog to somebody, they know exactly what you mean!

0:32:560:33:00

You know, they're characters and these three boys are something else.

0:33:000:33:04

When you're with them in the morning and you go and check them,

0:33:040:33:08

they'll come over the brow of the hill and they're looking at you.

0:33:080:33:11

There's stuff going on inside their heads and they're so ugly that they're cute.

0:33:110:33:15

In Africa where they come from warthogs are omnivorous. You name it, they'll eat it!

0:33:160:33:22

In turn, they are a favourite foodstuff for lions

0:33:220:33:25

and because of that, warthogs have evolved an unusual posture for grazing.

0:33:250:33:30

They've got pads, thick pads on their knees.

0:33:300:33:33

So, they graze down on their knees. Plus if they were to bow their head a lot to eat,

0:33:330:33:37

predators, obviously, would be able to take a shot at them a lot easier

0:33:370:33:40

but as they go on their knees,

0:33:400:33:42

they keep their heads up so their vision's better.

0:33:420:33:44

Come on, boys!

0:33:470:33:48

The three brothers were about a year old when they came here from Colchester Zoo.

0:33:480:33:53

Keeper Ryan Hockley has noticed

0:33:530:33:55

they've calmed down a lot since they first arrived.

0:33:550:33:59

I think they're getting there.

0:33:590:34:00

Much better than they were to start with.

0:34:000:34:03

But it's just been a matter of them sort of settling into their area

0:34:030:34:06

and just giving them time to settle down.

0:34:060:34:08

I don't think there'll ever be any sort of physical contact.

0:34:080:34:12

You know, we'll never be petting them or anything like that, I don't think.

0:34:120:34:17

They have their little squabbles in the day, but like I say, it's pretty good natured.

0:34:170:34:22

But at the end of the day, they are definitely a trio.

0:34:220:34:25

Ryan and Andy are still getting to know the terrible trio

0:34:250:34:29

and later on we'll join them to find out what Vlad, Attila and Genghis

0:34:290:34:34

get up to when no-one's looking.

0:34:340:34:37

There are about 900 animals at Longleat

0:34:460:34:49

and most of them are fussy eaters.

0:34:490:34:51

The job of supplying food to the whole park

0:34:520:34:55

falls on the shoulders of Mark Tye and his team.

0:34:550:34:58

The making up of the feeds and stuff

0:34:580:35:01

is probably not my most enjoyable part of my job.

0:35:010:35:04

It's a job that's got to be done.

0:35:040:35:06

We do it, hopefully very well.

0:35:060:35:08

First thing every morning,

0:35:080:35:10

the food is distributed to all the different sections of the safari park.

0:35:100:35:14

Then, the keepers in each section make up the meals for each of their animals.

0:35:140:35:18

And food at Longleat can be served in any number of ways.

0:35:180:35:22

It can be dropped from the back of a tractor,

0:35:220:35:24

thrown off the side of a boat,

0:35:240:35:26

trailed out the door of a car, hidden up a tree,

0:35:260:35:29

dangled from a tree, stuffed in a tree,

0:35:290:35:32

or sprinkled on the ground.

0:35:320:35:34

Carefully chopped, handfed, bottle-fed,

0:35:340:35:37

spoon-fed and even sometimes, just for a change,

0:35:370:35:41

served up on a plate.

0:35:410:35:43

Down in Pets Corner, head of section Darren Beasley and his team

0:35:440:35:48

have got food preparation down to a fine art.

0:35:480:35:51

We've got more animals in Pets Corner than the rest of the park put together.

0:35:510:35:55

They all have their own dietary requirements.

0:35:550:35:57

We are up against it here. We have so many hungry animals all the time,

0:35:570:36:01

it's a never-ending cycle.

0:36:010:36:02

Breakfast!

0:36:020:36:04

Everything from exotic fruit from papaya and mango,

0:36:040:36:08

all the way down to whole chickens and things like that.

0:36:080:36:12

It's an incredible amount of food.

0:36:120:36:14

You've got to remember, how many animals have I got in that enclosure?

0:36:140:36:17

What time do they need their food? How do they need it presented?

0:36:170:36:21

Do they like it with multivitamins sprinkled on it? Chopped lengthways

0:36:210:36:25

or in segments? And this is just skimming the surface.

0:36:250:36:28

We tease the poor guys up in the lion reserve -

0:36:280:36:30

they probably do the most dangerous job in the park,

0:36:300:36:32

but they drive a tractor and chuck meat out! What's the skill in that?

0:36:320:36:36

Today, in addition to the regular order,

0:36:360:36:40

keeper Alexa Fairbairn has asked Mark for some special ingredients for the ferrets.

0:36:400:36:44

We get requests to get things that they don't normally have on an everyday basis -

0:36:440:36:50

the ferrets, for example,

0:36:500:36:52

so we've gone off and had to go around the supermarket and shops

0:36:520:36:55

looking for the necessary things they require.

0:36:550:36:59

Let's see how much he weighs.

0:36:590:37:01

A few months ago, we did have a problem. A mystery illness

0:37:020:37:06

swept in, basically and a few of them did get very poorly.

0:37:060:37:09

So we requested for Mark to bring down some different treats for them,

0:37:090:37:13

to build them up a little bit more, and hopefully, they'll like it.

0:37:130:37:16

Back in the kitchen, Alexa has a recipe for today's special -

0:37:160:37:22

ferret food cordon bleu.

0:37:220:37:24

-MUSIC: M&S ADVERT

-Simply take one finely chopped cucumber,...

0:37:240:37:28

..toss in a spattering of raisins...

0:37:300:37:32

..two spoonfuls of creamy peanut butter.

0:37:350:37:38

They love peanut butter but it does have to be the smooth variety.

0:37:380:37:42

Anything with chunks can get lodged in their digestive system.

0:37:420:37:45

..Gently squeeze on some delicious multivitamin paste,...

0:37:450:37:49

..add a generous dollop of succulent dog food,

0:37:510:37:54

stir briskly,

0:37:540:37:56

and then, the finishing touch -

0:37:560:37:59

drench with aromatic cod liver oil.

0:37:590:38:01

This isn't just ferret food,

0:38:010:38:04

this is special dietary supplement ferret food.

0:38:040:38:08

And there we go.

0:38:100:38:12

That's all very well but will they like it?

0:38:120:38:15

There we are.

0:38:150:38:17

There, boys.

0:38:170:38:18

Well, this is brilliant to see, a lot of them are tucking in,

0:38:180:38:22

particularly some of the older ones,

0:38:220:38:24

they obviously like it.

0:38:240:38:26

We'll keep weighing them every couple of weeks,

0:38:260:38:28

particularly the older ones like little Angus here.

0:38:280:38:32

We'll keep weighing him to make sure he's OK.

0:38:320:38:34

We'll try another recipe in a couple of weeks,

0:38:340:38:36

and see how they get on with that one as well.

0:38:360:38:39

Pick out their favourites

0:38:390:38:41

and maybe make it into a more regular thing.

0:38:410:38:44

The ferrets aren't the only ones with special requests.

0:38:440:38:47

The keepers always try to give their animals just what they want -

0:38:470:38:50

whether that's hot potatoes to keep the monkeys warm in the winter,

0:38:500:38:54

or blackcurrant squash.

0:38:540:38:56

Nice?

0:38:560:38:59

Dates and natural yoghurt for Nico the gorilla.

0:38:590:39:02

'Medicine for Nico has to be disguised.'

0:39:020:39:05

So the only way we've found to get him to take it every day

0:39:050:39:08

is to mix it with yoghurt.

0:39:080:39:10

But out of Longleat's 90 species, who has the largest appetite of all?

0:39:100:39:16

In fact, there's no mystery. The biggest eater is the biggest animal.

0:39:160:39:20

Winston, the bull rhino weighs two and a half tonnes.

0:39:200:39:25

And every day, he consumes 25 kilos of hay,

0:39:250:39:29

and up to four and a half kilos of high-fibre pellets.

0:39:290:39:33

But while Winston eats the most food,

0:39:330:39:35

he's not the greediest.

0:39:350:39:37

In fact, that title goes to one of the smallest animals -

0:39:370:39:40

the Egyptian fruit bats.

0:39:400:39:42

Every day, each of them will eat their own body weight in fruit.

0:39:430:39:48

That's like me eating a hundred pineapples or 600 bananas

0:39:480:39:52

or even a thousand plums

0:39:520:39:54

each day!

0:39:540:39:57

Well, I'm back with Deputy Head Warden, Ian Turner.

0:40:060:40:09

We're out in Pets Corner with lots of hungry tortoises.

0:40:090:40:13

A sackful of plantain, which you've washed, Ian.

0:40:130:40:16

Why did you bother to do that?

0:40:160:40:18

Just to get the smell of wolves off it, just in case they've marked it.

0:40:180:40:21

Oh, yes, of course, because wolves do scent-mark quite a lot.

0:40:210:40:25

And presumably, that wouldn't be very tasty for the tortoises!

0:40:250:40:28

So that's washed now, so...

0:40:280:40:30

So let's put this out, do we, into these trays...

0:40:300:40:32

Into these trays.

0:40:320:40:33

They're probably not going to eat so much today,

0:40:330:40:36

because of the weather, and being a bit cold.

0:40:360:40:38

Do we need to leave it whole?

0:40:380:40:40

Yeah, they'll just tuck in.

0:40:400:40:42

-Here we are.

-34's coming in already.

0:40:430:40:46

Look at that. Oh, yeah! Already heading in.

0:40:460:40:49

And is this, as well as being really good for them,

0:40:490:40:52

is it a bit of a favourite?

0:40:520:40:54

Yeah, yeah. It is.

0:40:540:40:55

This and dandelions...is probably their favourite two things.

0:40:550:40:59

And apart from this wild food that you give them,

0:40:590:41:03

what else is it important to feed tortoises to keep them healthy?

0:41:030:41:06

Well, literally, the best thing that you can do is get the wild stuff.

0:41:060:41:10

-Oh, is it?

-By a long way.

0:41:100:41:12

I mean, lettuce isn't very good because it's got no goodness in it,

0:41:120:41:15

tomatoes is a bit of extra stuff you can do,

0:41:150:41:19

but literally, it's the wild stuff from your garden.

0:41:190:41:22

Dandelions. They like cuttlefish, it's good for them,

0:41:220:41:27

which birds get and nibble on, so all that sort of thing's good,

0:41:270:41:31

so it's all natural stuff, really. You've just got to get something which you can naturally get.

0:41:310:41:36

Right, I'll tell you what I'll do. I'm gonna do a little bit of a help here,

0:41:360:41:40

because one of my favourite tortoises, Winky down here,

0:41:400:41:44

so called because he's got a wheel instead of his back leg,

0:41:440:41:48

haven't you, mate? I'm just going to help you over...

0:41:480:41:50

and see if you would like a go at this plantain,

0:41:500:41:54

which Ian and I picked at great peril to ourselves.

0:41:540:41:58

Is he impressed?

0:41:580:42:00

Not really, Ian!

0:42:000:42:02

Oh, Winky! Show some gratitude!

0:42:020:42:06

Well, Ian, thank you very much, that was indeed an experience.

0:42:060:42:10

Probably the most dangerous way to collect tortoise food there is in the world.

0:42:100:42:15

Just enjoy it and be grateful, you lot!

0:42:150:42:18

At Meerkat Mountain, the mob are in mourning.

0:42:280:42:32

Although all five babies survived for two months,

0:42:320:42:36

and seemed to be doing well,

0:42:360:42:38

there's now been some very bad news.

0:42:380:42:40

A few days ago, Darren Beasley arrived

0:42:400:42:43

to find that the baby with the poorly eye had died in the night.

0:42:430:42:46

If that wasn't bad enough,

0:42:480:42:50

the next day, he discovered that another of the pups

0:42:500:42:53

had succumbed to a mystery ailment.

0:42:530:42:56

One minute, everyone's really elated, and really happy,

0:42:560:42:59

and we're all raising the roof and swapping the cigars,

0:42:590:43:02

cos we've got babies,

0:43:020:43:03

and the next minute it's all very sad

0:43:030:43:05

because nature can be so cruel and heartless,

0:43:050:43:08

and we've lost a couple of babies, which is really quite sad.

0:43:080:43:12

It's yet another blow for meerkat keeper, John Reynolds.

0:43:120:43:15

It was just shock to begin with, but we were absolutely devastated.

0:43:150:43:21

But we've got used to the fact that they've gone.

0:43:210:43:24

So we've just got to get on with it and focus on the three that are still here.

0:43:240:43:28

John doesn't have time to dwell on these sad events,

0:43:280:43:31

because right now, they're expecting a special visitor.

0:43:310:43:35

Lord Bath himself has come down from the Great House

0:43:400:43:44

to meet the meerkat pups.

0:43:440:43:46

He's concerned to find there's now only three.

0:43:460:43:49

Can you be sure it's not the parents killing them?

0:43:490:43:53

We don't think it's the parents killing them,

0:43:530:43:56

because if it was, there'd be bite marks and blood.

0:43:560:43:59

We'll keep a close eye on the rest of these ones, and hope for the best.

0:43:590:44:03

Hello!

0:44:030:44:05

Well, now they've got this far, which is what, three months old?

0:44:070:44:11

Two months old, nearly. About eight weeks.

0:44:110:44:13

How good are the chances that they'll reach adulthood?

0:44:130:44:16

Another month or so, they'll be more or less self-sufficient.

0:44:160:44:19

And hopefully, they will survive, the rest of them.

0:44:190:44:22

Hello!

0:44:220:44:24

Do they nip?

0:44:240:44:25

You wouldn't ever put your hand underneath and pick up?

0:44:250:44:28

Er, no. Not without gauntlets or for very good reason.

0:44:280:44:32

I think I'm liable to surreptitious attack from behind!

0:44:320:44:37

Of course, the meerkats aren't really gangsters or bandits,

0:44:420:44:46

despite the names that John suggested for the three little ones.

0:44:460:44:50

Possibly the Good, the Bad and the Ugly!

0:44:500:44:53

It's just that they look so mischievous.

0:44:530:44:55

And, despite all the tragedies,

0:44:550:44:58

there's something about the mob that many people can identify with.

0:44:580:45:02

We can relate to them because they're a family group. Everybody looking after each other.

0:45:020:45:07

I could spend hours in here, if I didn't have a real job to do!

0:45:070:45:11

If I didn't have to do proper work, I'd just sit in here for hours and enjoy this.

0:45:110:45:15

It's nice to have things to be proud of, and I'm really proud of this.

0:45:150:45:20

CLOCK BELLS RING

0:45:300:45:32

I'm in the hall with head cleaner, June Windass,

0:45:380:45:41

and we've just listened to one of the fantastic clocks in this house.

0:45:410:45:45

Now, they can't all do that, surely?

0:45:450:45:47

No, not all of them.

0:45:470:45:48

This one is the oldest clock in the house.

0:45:480:45:51

It's the original clock,

0:45:510:45:53

and it is still able to do all the functions that it's always been carried out to do.

0:45:530:45:58

And this dates back to practically when this house was first built.

0:45:580:46:02

It's hundreds and hundreds of years old.

0:46:020:46:05

It's a 17th-century clock. Beautiful.

0:46:050:46:07

Now, I'm assuming this isn't the only clock in the house.

0:46:070:46:10

Oh, no. We've got lots more.

0:46:100:46:11

All different shapes and sizes.

0:46:110:46:14

-Shall we go and see some?

-Yes.

-OK. Lead the way.

0:46:140:46:16

-First one's in the ante-library.

-OK, down this way.

0:46:160:46:19

'In fact, there are nearly 30 clocks in Longleat's 128 rooms,

0:46:240:46:30

'many of them very rare and precious.'

0:46:300:46:33

Ah, now, this looks slightly more manageable. A slightly smaller clock here.

0:46:360:46:40

-Now, I'm assuming you have a number of different keys for all the different clocks in the house.

-Yes.

0:46:400:46:46

-That's this one.

-So do you have a special collection for all the other ones?

0:46:460:46:53

-Yes.

-Is this the key bag?

0:46:530:46:55

Oh, yes!

0:46:550:46:57

The biggest one of the collection is this one.

0:46:570:47:00

Look at that! That is quite a key.

0:47:000:47:02

And how do you know how far you can wind?

0:47:020:47:06

I wind them just so much. Just enough to know that the clock will work,

0:47:060:47:11

but not to overwind it and bust the springs.

0:47:110:47:13

We just go very carefully.

0:47:130:47:15

Then we check the time. That is a little bit fast, but I'll leave it as is.

0:47:150:47:19

Now, June, I know you've been working here for 25 years! I have to whisper it.

0:47:190:47:24

You must obviously have your favourite parts of the house,

0:47:240:47:27

favourite rooms, favourite clocks.

0:47:270:47:29

Where is your favourite, then?

0:47:290:47:31

My favourite room is the state drawing room.

0:47:310:47:34

It is so opulent. It's beautiful.

0:47:340:47:37

-And my clock's in there, too.

-Is it?

-Yes.

0:47:370:47:40

-Can we go?

-Yes, we can.

-OK. I'll follow you.

0:47:400:47:43

CLOCKS TICK AND CHIME

0:47:470:47:50

So, June, this is your favourite room, is it?

0:47:560:47:59

Yes, it is. It's beautiful.

0:47:590:48:01

It's comfortable, it's homely...

0:48:010:48:04

and it's got so many lovely things in it.

0:48:040:48:07

I can hear the clock before I can actually see it.

0:48:070:48:09

This is fantastically ornate, isn't it?

0:48:090:48:12

It is. It's gorgeous.

0:48:120:48:13

This is your favourite of all the clocks you have to wind up?

0:48:130:48:16

-Yes.

-This is what the enormous key is for?

0:48:160:48:18

-Yes, that's right!

-I'll let you do the winding of this one.

0:48:180:48:23

While you're doing that, before you came along in the house,

0:48:230:48:26

who would have done this in days of old?

0:48:260:48:28

Well, there used to be a chap, Eddie, his name was,

0:48:280:48:33

and he used to come round and do all the clocks for us.

0:48:330:48:36

When he retired, it was handed down to me.

0:48:360:48:40

And we take care of them as much as we can.

0:48:400:48:44

We don't wind them any more than we feel is necessary.

0:48:440:48:47

Once it starts becoming tight, we stop.

0:48:470:48:51

With so many clocks to look after, you must be a very good timekeeper!

0:48:510:48:55

-I'm always late!

-Are you?

0:48:550:48:56

Speaking of late, Jane, I think we've got a lot more clocks to do.

0:48:560:49:00

You'd better leave us to it.

0:49:000:49:02

Just look at the number of keys still left to go!

0:49:020:49:05

When Vlad the Impaler, Attila the Hun and Genghis Khan arrived a couple of months ago,

0:49:100:49:16

it was the first time they'd ever had warthogs at Longleat.

0:49:160:49:20

To start with, the three brothers charged around like monsters,

0:49:200:49:24

but they've calmed down a bit.

0:49:240:49:26

Andy Hayton and the other keepers are still getting to know them.

0:49:260:49:30

Now, he wants to find out what they get up to while no-one's looking,

0:49:300:49:34

after dark, in the warthog house.

0:49:340:49:37

Can you turn that infra-red lamp on, mate?

0:49:370:49:40

This is the small camera, that's wired up to a hard drive. Infra-red camera.

0:49:410:49:45

So we should hopefully be able to see when they come in

0:49:450:49:48

how many come in, when they lie down...

0:49:480:49:51

the more that we can learn about the animals we look after,

0:49:510:49:53

hopefully, the better we can do for them.

0:49:530:49:55

Some mornings you come in and this place is absolutely trashed,

0:49:550:49:59

so I think there are a few parties now and again. Must be.

0:49:590:50:02

In the wild, warthogs sleep in burrows.

0:50:020:50:05

Usually, it's one they've taken over from whoever actually dug it.

0:50:050:50:09

Often, some poor aardvark.

0:50:090:50:12

But for Vlad, Attila and Genghis, does sundown mean party time?

0:50:120:50:17

Early next morning, the brothers are back outside in their paddock as usual,

0:50:200:50:25

while Andy and keeper Ryan Hockley rendezvous at the house

0:50:250:50:29

to see what the spy camera has recorded.

0:50:290:50:31

There's only one at the moment.

0:50:310:50:33

But I think this was about ten o'clock.

0:50:330:50:35

We put their food in the pen next door, so they may have come in and eaten. We haven't seen that.

0:50:350:50:41

This is just when they're coming in, kind of almost settling down for the night.

0:50:410:50:45

As you can tell when you go in in the morning, if the bed's been laid in or not, cos they normally...

0:50:450:50:51

We've heard they huddle together to keep warm. So that'll be quite interesting if we see this.

0:50:510:50:56

See if they do do it at night.

0:50:560:50:58

Spinning on an hour, it looks like bedtime.

0:50:580:51:02

-This guy down here's really pulling it around.

-Pulling hay?

-Yeah, yeah.

0:51:020:51:07

-It's almost like they're nesting, isn't it?

-Yeah.

0:51:070:51:11

Nice to see all three of them in there, though.

0:51:110:51:14

Mmm.

0:51:140:51:15

So we know that nobody...nobody gets pushed out or anything.

0:51:150:51:20

Settling down now.

0:51:200:51:21

See them going backwards a lot into these corners, as well.

0:51:210:51:24

-Almost like they're backing into a hole.

-Into a burrow, yeah.

0:51:240:51:28

Quite interesting, they're eating a lot of straw as well. Really filling up on the straw.

0:51:280:51:33

But if they eat their bedding, how are they going to keep warm?

0:51:330:51:38

They'll actually huddle together like this to keep warm,

0:51:380:51:42

because they find it quite hard to regulate their body temperature.

0:51:420:51:46

That's why you'll see this. But there is only two here...

0:51:460:51:49

Unless the other one is actually tucked right down in the corner or they're laid on top of him.

0:51:490:51:54

Possibly one of them is out there, staying awake, standing guard.

0:51:540:51:58

Exactly. Sort of like a sentry, almost.

0:51:580:52:00

Lots of animals will do it. One will stay awake watching the rest of the group sleep.

0:52:000:52:05

Maybe these guys do it too.

0:52:050:52:08

Yeah, it's always fascinating, really, to see your animals at night.

0:52:080:52:12

Things you've worked with for donkey's years during the day,

0:52:120:52:15

it may seem completely different at night. It's a very strange thing,

0:52:150:52:18

it's hard to put your finger on it, but it's quite weird.

0:52:180:52:22

They look quite cute when they're asleep!

0:52:230:52:25

Like most things.

0:52:250:52:27

I wouldn't like to go and wake 'em up quick, mind.

0:52:270:52:30

We knew they were coming in, because like I say, the bed has been disturbed

0:52:310:52:35

and obviously food disappears. Just nice to see animals when we're not here. It's kind of their place

0:52:350:52:41

in the middle of the night.

0:52:410:52:42

Very rarely do we see what's going on here then, so it is quite intriguing.

0:52:420:52:47

With Vlad, Attila and Genghis looking so peaceful,

0:52:470:52:51

you almost wonder if they've got the names wrong.

0:52:510:52:54

How about Flopsy, Mopsy and Cottontail?

0:52:540:52:58

Or maybe not.

0:53:020:53:04

I'm out in the deer park with head of section Tim Yeo.

0:53:120:53:16

Something that the public love, Tim, is coming in here

0:53:160:53:20

and feeding the deer from their cars. So we're snuck in

0:53:200:53:25

to our Land Rover here, watching these beautiful if rather skittish

0:53:250:53:29

fallow deer, Tim, the one with the spots.

0:53:290:53:32

That's right, Kate, yes. They're actually in regrowth at the moment.

0:53:320:53:37

Annually, their antlers fall off, and very, very quickly after that,

0:53:370:53:41

you start to get the regrowth coming.

0:53:410:53:45

It takes...I think about four months for it to be fully regrown again.

0:53:450:53:51

And what I notice from these antlers

0:53:510:53:54

is that they're obviously very smooth and bony,

0:53:540:53:59

but looking at the ones out here, they look like they're almost furry.

0:53:590:54:05

It's a protective layer of skin and hair

0:54:050:54:08

which has a vast amount of blood vessels within it,

0:54:080:54:13

which is constantly feeding that growing bone, as it were.

0:54:130:54:19

Right, so that is...it's giving the bone, there...

0:54:190:54:22

it's almost like the sort of fertiliser surrounding the bone.

0:54:220:54:26

What about - I mean, we've obviously got very different sizes here.

0:54:260:54:30

What determines the size of an antler?

0:54:300:54:33

Well, we certainly...we have a very young animal here.

0:54:330:54:38

-This animal is about two to three years old.

-Right.

0:54:380:54:43

About three years old. And then we go into an animal

0:54:430:54:48

-about four or five years old.

-Yep.

0:54:480:54:51

And then we come into a rather impressive-looking monster, this thing!

0:54:510:54:56

I mean, I hasten to add that not all bucks grow antlers quite like this,

0:54:560:55:02

but that really is a very good example of a fallow deer's antler.

0:55:020:55:06

This is where the antler casts from what is known as the pedicle,

0:55:060:55:09

which grows from the skull of the animal.

0:55:090:55:12

And it's actually here, when it's cast,

0:55:120:55:14

it's broken a bit of the pedicle away there.

0:55:140:55:17

It's quite a brutal thing, it's not just like breaking a fingernail.

0:55:170:55:21

It must be a very strange feeling when they get rid of them.

0:55:210:55:24

Oh, very much, because they often don't cast them -

0:55:240:55:27

we call it casting when they fall off. It often doesn't happen simultaneously,

0:55:270:55:32

so they're left with...

0:55:320:55:33

So they could be completely lopsided? They're incredible things,

0:55:330:55:38

it's absolutely fascinating. All our males have now left us, so maybe that should be our sign to go too.

0:55:380:55:44

Tim, thank you very much indeed. Beautiful things.

0:55:440:55:47

Earlier in the programme, I helped to put out some brand new toys for the lions here.

0:55:560:56:01

And now, Kate and I have come back up to see what they've made of them!

0:56:010:56:05

-Er, they've done a pretty good job, Craig.

-Yes!

0:56:050:56:08

-Pretty much finished them off.

-They did.

0:56:080:56:11

This is marine rope. Ships ply the world with this,

0:56:140:56:18

and they've shredded it. They've just pulled it apart.

0:56:180:56:21

-Look at that!

-So this, Kate, cos you didn't necessarily see it in its former glory, was a swing...

0:56:210:56:27

-Right.

-..which they've eaten most of the wood.

-They have, yes.

0:56:270:56:30

Now, just down this way, we had a big ball that seems to have totally gone.

0:56:300:56:35

-Is there anything left?

-Is this the remains of it, do you think?

-That's it, yep.

0:56:350:56:41

Was there one lion in particular that you think did most of this damage, or was it teamwork?

0:56:420:56:47

Mainly teamwork. The little ones, mainly. Kabir, he didn't really pay much attention to it.

0:56:470:56:52

-Right.

-He just sat in the background.

-Yeah, and...

0:56:520:56:55

This is gone as well!

0:56:550:56:57

-This is actually the remains of one of the balls.

-One of the balls!

0:56:570:57:01

That is as... I mean, joking apart, it's quite funny,

0:57:040:57:08

-but can you imagine if this was you?

-Urgh.

0:57:080:57:10

It really shows you how powerful they are, doesn't it?

0:57:100:57:14

You can see one of the claw marks as well on the trees.

0:57:140:57:17

Look at that! That is astonishing.

0:57:170:57:19

-And this is young lions just playing.

-Yeah. About a year old, year old ones.

-Amazing.

0:57:190:57:24

I tell you what, last year when we put them up,

0:57:240:57:27

we thought we had to build them even stronger this time, which we did,

0:57:270:57:31

-and no difference at all.

-Yeah. No, Fogle, you're hopeless.

0:57:310:57:34

Next year they're gonna be this big!

0:57:340:57:36

Ha-ha! Well, Craig, thank you very much indeed.

0:57:360:57:39

We'll have to, as you say, think of something new for the lions next year.

0:57:390:57:43

Sadly, though, that's all we've got time for on today's programme,

0:57:430:57:46

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

0:57:460:57:49

When it's feeding time for the tigers, you'd think they'd go for the meat, not our tyres!

0:57:510:57:56

Oi!

0:57:560:57:57

Is this the latest food fad from the Far East?

0:57:570:58:01

No. It's a fiendish plot to make the otters work harder.

0:58:010:58:05

And four keepers from Longleat have volunteered to help with conservation projects deep in

0:58:070:58:12

the African Bush. We'll be following the action when their trip turned into the adventure of a lifetime.

0:58:120:58:18

So don't miss the next Animal Park.

0:58:180:58:21

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

0:58:280:58:31

E-mail [email protected]

0:58:310:58:34

Stories from Longleat Safari Park with Ben Fogle and Kate Humble.

Kate bravely goes down to Wolf Wood to get food for the tortoises. Meanwhile Ben puts out some super-sized cat toys for the lions, and all eyes are on Meerkat Mountain as some babies are imminent.


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