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Pere David's deer are extremely rare and are on the critically endangered
list, but Longleat is involved in a vital reintroduction programme.
So, as the birthing season approaches, the keepers are
bracing themselves because every live birth could well contribute
to the survival of the species.
Coming up on today's Animal Park...
there's an emergency in the deer park, as the vet battles to save
the life of an unborn calf.
I get a good look at the meerkat babies,
but they just show me their teeth.
Gorgeous, even though you want to kill me.
And down at Half Mile Lake,
keeper Mark Tye's preparing for two precious new arrivals.
But first, it's straight over to Pets Corner.
Up on meerkat mountain, life is good.
Ever since Basil turned up, it's been a happy place,
as they've been having lots of babies.
The most recent additions were born a few months ago,
so Kate's gone to see how they're getting on.
It's great great news this year.
It's been the most successful breeding year so far.
Yeah. These four are doing really well,
so we're looking forward to the future,
and these ones are growing stronger by the day.
So, presumably, we've got these gloves on because they need handling.
What are you doing with them?
Today, we're going to attempt to sex them.
OK, but how do you catch a meerkat, John?
Basically, you've just got to be very quick.
-Do you get in?
-Yeah. You can get in.
-Shall I try?
-Do you want to have a go at getting in?
-Shall I have a go?
I'm going to make a complete mess of this, I imagine.
But, let's see, cos the last time we were with them...
You've got to be very brave and go straight for one.
Oh, look at you!
-So, presumably, you need to look under the tail, do you?
And what are you actually looking for?
-Any signs of testicles, or anything like that?
Males have particularly large scent glands, as well.
-That's fairly big.
-That's the scent gland...
-Could possibly be.
-opening at the bottom there.
-So that's possibly a male.
All right. Do you want to hold on to that one?
-Now, this one, by contrast, is a lot quieter.
Very sweet. A little bit smaller.
-There we go. That does look smaller, doesn't it?
-It does. Yeah.
That little opening at the back, so we think this one is probably female.
-And that one male.
-So you put them back in with the adults.
-Yes, we will.
Just wait. MEERKAT SQUAWKS
You are fierce. Come on.
A little fighter with you.
I know. Oh, yes. Look at those teeth.
It's always the last one, isn't it?
-Little drawing pins.
-I'm very glad I am wearing gloves.
Look at you. Don't be so cross! Look at those amazing teeth.
And these teeth presumably, very important for catching insects,
holding on to wriggly prey.
Yeah. Ripping up meat.
Now, I'd like to say you're probably a male. What do you think?
-It is fairly big and substantial, isn't it?
So we think you might be a boy.
-So two boys, so far. What do you think? And that's...?
Could possibly be a boy, as well.
So you think three boys...
-And a girl.
-And a girl.
Is that going to be a good mix in with the family?
It should be. Yes. They should get on quite well together.
Well, they're quite sociable animals, aren't they?
In the wild, they would live in big groups.
Yeah, in big groups and then as and when they need to, they'll either
-kick members out their group or members will leave.
John, that was a real treat.
I know you're furious with me but I'm just going to enjoy the moment
and because it's not every day you get to hold a tiny little meerkat,
and again, congratulations for such a successful breeding year.
You're all gorgeous, even though you want to kill me.
From one animal that's certainly not endangered in the wild to one
that's on the brink of extinction...
the Pere David deer.
The name Pere David comes from a 19th century French missionary...
Father David, who told the western world about this new species of deer
found in China.
Just 100 years later and the entire Chinese population of Pere David deer
had totally disappeared. And it's only still on the planet today
thanks to another English animal park.
This herd of about 300 lives on the Duke of Bedford's estate at Woburn,
but they died out in China when the walls of the park were beached
by floods in 1894.
There were only five left in the world
which were all collected at Woburn
and from them, the present flock has grown.
In 1980, Woburn gave Longleat 20 of their herd so that they could
do their part in saving this species.
Today, they're still part of a successful breeding programme
and they've just been celebrating the birth of a new male calf.
He was born a week ago and for head of section Tim Yeo,
this baby is extra special.
I think the calf is so terribly important to our very small herd
here simply because our numbers have decreased to the level now.
There are now only seven Pere David deer left at the safari park.
Some were actually reintroduced to China, while others sadly died from
disease and natural causes.
It's not the easiest animal to raise and with only two females now capable
of breeding, the keepers are desperate to increase the herd.
One of the biggest problems they've had over the years has been
with the females giving birth.
They're able to carry a lot of fat reserve and it's stored around the
animal's birthing canal, causing huge problems when they go into labour.
If these hinds carry the foetus to full-term and they're ready to calf,
when it comes out it has to go through a very narrow canal.
And it's there it gets stuck because there is too much fat lying there
and then you're left with the nightmarish situation where
the mother, whatever she does, she can't deliver the calf,
so you've got to get in there quickly and deliver it.
So, the recent healthy birth was a fantastic boost.
But this morning, the park's on red alert as there's an emergency
with the other breeding female.
I've just heard that one of the Pere David deer is
going into labour, but there seems to be a complication,
so I've come up to try and find keepers Tim and Kevin
and safari park vet Duncan to find out what's going on.
It appears she went into labour last night but there's no sign of a calf.
The deer is clearly distressed,
so Tim and Duncan are having to act quickly.
Taking aim from a car, Tim is using a tranquiliser as a gun in an attempt
to temporarily knock out the deer.
Ben has joined them back at the yard to get the latest.
I don't want to disturb too much. Obviously, something's going on.
We're trying to knock out the Pere David deer and we think
she's got a baby stuck inside her.
And presumably, it's pretty important
that you get to her as soon as possible, I imagine.
Well, the chances of having a live baby now are probably pretty remote,
I think... She should probably have had it last night, or overnight.
So this morning, by now, it's already too late.
We've probably already got a dead calf.
-Her own health is obviously...
-We want to save her, really.
And Tim, I don't want to disturb you
too much, but obviously, quite a tense time for you, really.
One of your precious deer.
Yeah. It's an awful shame, Ben,
because this was a first-time calfer and as you say,
we need every Pere David we can get and so, it's not good.
-But the sort of emphasis now is just sort of tunnel vision
and you're just trying to capture her really, as quickly as we can.
'Before Duncan can start treating the deer,
'he needs to be sure that she's fully sedated.'
Well, we're following behind Tim, Duncan and Kevin,
who are all in the park vehicle.
It's now just a case of getting as close to the Pere David deer
as we can.
Always a very tense time for any of the keepers.
They might have to dart it anyway, just to ensure that...
They're getting very close to it.
Tim is just touching it, but a tense moment because the safari park vet,
Duncan, doesn't know if he should administer any more medicine or not.
It's strange that they're moving on, but we should probably
follow suit, do the same thing.
So, Tim, can I quickly ask whether
it has been successfully anaesthetised from before?
At the moment, Ben, we don't really know.
Kev's going to rush off and get a net and we'll put a net over it.
-I've prodded her and she's not reacted to that.
-You would have thought she'd have got up and gone off.
But we have to move quite quickly now because obviously,
we don't want the anaesthetic to wear off, you know,
then she could be up and away again.
So, it's a race against time to save this precious deer
before the anaesthetic wears off.
But will they be able to save the calf or even the mother?
One hugely important role many animal parks now concentrate on
Longleat is home to many animals, like the Pere David,
that are perilously close to extinction,
due to hunting and the destruction of their habitats.
Soundari, Svetli and Shouri are Amur tigers
found in North Eastern Russia.
There are just 400 left in the wild.
Rothschild giraffe, like Imogen, have been breeding well at the park,
but there are less than 500 of these left in Africa.
And barbary lions, like Kabir, were hunted so viciously
that today, this species of lion is actually extinct in the wild.
But one species at the park has been to the edge of extinction
and actually come back.
The white rhino.
The slaughter of white rhinoceros in
Africa for their highly-prized horn was so ruthless that 100 years ago,
there were only 14 individual white rhino left in the world.
But, thanks to pioneering protected breeding and careful animal
management programmes in South Africa, the species just survived.
And head warden Keith Harris knows that captive breeding has never
been so important for this animal.
What they're doing is they're moving rhinos all over the world,
starting new breeding groups, so if anything ever happens again, either
poaching, disease, there are stocks from the breeding captive population
that can then be taken back.
So it's almost a safety valve for the future of these beautiful animals.
And we're going to take a look back to a time when Longleat
played an important part in securing their future.
White rhino have been at the park since 1970
and there were many successful births,
but by 2004, there was a problem.
Winston, Babs and Gingen were all wild-born rhino from South Africa,
but they were becoming too old to breed.
Keith needed some new blood and that was going to come from South Africa,
where saving the rhino all started.
He embarked on an incredible mission, to capture three wild rhino
and bring them back to Longleat.
I haven't done this for many years, so it's bringing back the memories
of all the planning and getting everything right, which is
the most important thing. Doesn't matter how long that bit takes...
it's better to do the planning than something go wrong on route.
So, yeah, just building up now.
In South Africa,
the white rhino were breeding well, but raising some young calves
in captivity would secure the species an even brighter future.
The capture team, lead by Dr Charles Van Niekerk,
had done this many times, but they had to be careful.
The sedative they use is extremely powerful.
The sedative we use is highly highly toxic to humans.
We as a species are very very susceptible to it and,
as a result, I've just got to be very careful when I work with it.
We've got specific antidote for humans on standby,
as there's a risk you'll end up dead!
We don't want any casualties.
Vet Will Dowling was in charge of the ground team.
I'm going to be...
obviously in contact with Charles who will be in the helicopter
and they'll give us an indication of when the animal's gone down,
in which case we'll move in quite quickly.
Charles used a gas-powered gun
to shoot the rhino with a sedative-filled dart.
It wasn't easy.
For the ground team, it was a bumpy two-mile ride through the bush to
where the young female they planned to capture, was last sighted.
Charles spotted the target.
A young female with her mother.
RADIO: OK, you guys, you can come down.
It was the daughter they were after.
But getting a clean shot was not easy.
They're struggling to get in a shot at the moment. She's either...
planted herself under a tree and is not going anywhere
or they're just struggling to get in a shot.
The calf was approaching two years of age,
the time when in the wild, the mother would drive the baby away.
RADIO: OK, dart's in.
Having got the news that the dart was in, a race against time
began to get to the sedated rhino as quickly as possible.
Meanwhile, the chopper attempted to shoo the mother away.
Cotton wool was put in the rhino's ears and a cloth over her eyes
to keep her calm.
It looks like a textbook catch by the look of it, so far.
Ever so good condition.
She seems to be pretty stable.
She's lying OK so we don't need to panic too much about that.
So far, I've just treated the dart wound and I've given her
a small dose of a partial reversal.
And that basically just
stimulates their respiration, keeps their respiration going.
But she's fairly stable at the moment. The respiration is OK.
She went down in the middle of the bush,
so to get the crate to her,
they had to hack a path through to the capture site.
The mother could have returned at any minute.
One two three four, up.
To get the young female into the transporter,
she was given an injection to bring her round.
But only enough so she could be led into the transporter.
This was still a totally wild animal.
Just given it the reviver to wake it up properly.
And then I think they'll just leave it quiet now, not interfere any more.
With a successful capture under their belt,
the team breathed a sigh of relief.
But three rhino were going with Keith,
so there was plenty more work to do.
Back now to the dramatic events up in the deer park.
One of the incredibly rare Pere David deer has gone into labour,
but it's in trouble
and the keepers and safari park vet Duncan are having to intervene.
Here comes Kevin.
Now, hopefully, he'll have a net.
tense moment now...
for all the keepers because they don't want
to harm the deer and they don't want to be harmed themselves,
so they're just being very slow...
pulling the net over.
And they're on it.
We'll wait for a minute. I don't want to interfere.
Can we come out now? Yeah. We can get out now.
See if I can be of any help.
All right. Please tell me if I can help with anything.
-Do you want me to?
-Could you grab the bucket and the water?
So we think she's successfully sedated enough
-to be working on her now.
-It appears so. It appears so.
So you've put the cloth on her eyes.
That's just in case her eyes open up and she becomes distressed.
It helps an awful lot if they're not aware of what's going...
movement and different things around them.
So, presumably, this is some iodine
you've put in there for sterile water.
Yeah, for disinfectant.
So should you be able to feel almost straightaway?
Can't even get my hand in.
I can't feel a calf yet.
Oh, yeah, here it is.
-The calf's there, is it?
-Yeah. The calf's here.
Cos she's never had a baby before, it's just ever so tight.
I can hardly get my hand in,
but you know the size of calves that come out of these.
-They're huge compared to...
-So do you think that's the problem?
And do you think the calf is dead in there?
With the discharge like that coming out, yeah.
Be surprised if it's still alive.
It's not moving.
-Can you tell which way the calf is inside?
This is the back end I've got here.
These legs are so long it's hard to tell. No. It's a front leg.
There we go.
-You can see the size of it.
That's just a foot there.
So have you basically got to gently try and...
Try and find the other leg and head...
It's right in. My hand's all the way down there.
You can probably take the net off now.
Can we shift her?
If we put her downhill.
Shall I give you a hand?
Where do you want her moved to?
Where shall we move her head?
Leave her head where it is. We'll just turn the back end round.
-Just use gravity, basically.
-Can somebody watch?
-Keep an eye out.
Absolutely. Yeah. Keep an eye out.
I will keep an eye out for anything.
-Why is there so much blood there?
the fluid around the placenta.
So that's not too bad for her.
Oh... I've pulled the legs out,
and I can't get my hand in far enough to get the neck.
'Duncan is having trouble getting the calf out because its head is bent
'back instead of facing forward.'
I think, basically, it hasn't had it because the head's bent back and
I can't get my hand in far enough.
As you can see, things are not looking good, at the moment.
The calf, sadly, did die inside the mother, but they're working to get
the calf out and hopefully, the mother will make a full recovery.
Join us later in the programme when we find out what happens.
Every morning, at the beach on
Half Mile Lake, the six Californian sea lions come for their breakfast.
It's a great opportunity for head of lake animals, Mark Tye,
to see them all out of the water and make sure they're all healthy.
But in early summer, there's an extra-special reason
to keep a close eye on the girls.
We've hopefully got two pregnant sea lions.
This one here, Sealia,
and one of the other young females in the pen next door, Zook.
That'll be her first baby.
The ideal case scenario for us is that both of them give birth
down here, either on the beach or in the pen, there.
Preferably, one here, one there, because mums
can get a little bit anxious with each other when they've got babies.
Sealia, I have no real worries with, at all. She's such a good mother,
you know, an old hand at this, done it plenty of times before.
My only concern is Zook and how she takes to a new baby.
She's a little bit skitzy, you know, a bit young
and sometimes, a firstborn can be a bit shocking for them.
They're not really sure about it.
In that case, the ideal scenario would be that she had it in there,
cos we could then shut her in with it and give them time to bond.
Sea lions are born on the land and it may be a few days before
they even get close to water.
Whether they go in the water is normally dependent on the mother.
Some mums really don't mind, like Sealia, she's such a good mother,
she knows it can go in the water.
They can swim, instinctively, from birth.
They're not very good at it but they can do it.
Whereas some mothers can be a little bit neurotic.
I had one mum, years ago, who didn't let her pup near the water
for nearly a month and as soon as the baby was inquisitive,
wanting to go and have a look, she'd drag it away.
Mark can't wait to see the new pups and this year he has a secret wish.
It would be really nice to have some females for a change.
We had two males last year.
Females would be nice,
because we've got
our old girl, Ozzie, who probably won't see out many more years.
She's coming up to 30, which is a very good age for a sea lion,
so it would be nice to have young females to bring on, once she goes.
And we'll keep you posted on Sealia and Zook's imminent arrivals.
Is this a face only a mother could love?
Well, Sarah certainly loves her.
This is Gladys, the iguana and we're here in the iguana house which is a
-very lovely warm place to be, Sarah.
-It is, isn't it?
Now, I know these animals look absolutely spectacular,
but they're not the ideal pet, are they?
Not really. I don't think so.
As you can see, they grow to quite a substantial size,
so you would need a lot of space if you were going to have one at home.
So if you went in to a pet shop
and saw an iguana, what would it look like?
Usually, the little baby ones are absolutely tiny and they're a lovely
bright green colour because in the wild they need more camouflage.
So, they're really cute, really small, lovely colour and people
tend to fall in love with them on first sight, take them home.
They don't realise that they do grow to that size... His size.
So it's quite a large animal to have in your house, I think.
It is a very large animal to have in your house.
And I mean, looking at Gladys here...
big claws, quite nasty teeth in there, long tail.
Again, perhaps not the friendliest animal if it's not handled right.
That's it. If they don't get a lot of handling from a young age,
they can be a bit nasty, as well.
We have got a couple in here that are a bit more feisty than Gladys.
But yeah, they've got a very strong tail and what they can do as defence
-is swing it back and whip as well, which is quite nasty.
Very sharp claws, as well.
So, if you had to handle an iguana for any reason, it can be quite...
dangerous, cos they're such a large animal, it's hard to overpower them
if they do get nervous.
They look very healthy, but as you say, I think they're probably
better off in Pets Corner or in the wild.
Sarah, thank you very much for introducing me to Gladys.
Thank you, Gladys, for being so good
and we've got lots more coming up on today's programme.
Two new arrivals in Half Mile Lake are attracting a crowd.
Oh, look and we've got the swan family coming down. That's great.
And head of section Tim Yeo has to make a decision every keeper dreads.
But first, we're heading back in time to when the park welcomed through its
doors, three wild white rhino.
'The three animals came from a protected area
'within the South African bush
'and were the perfect age to be caught and moved into
'Longleat's breeding programme, as they were of an age
'that they would soon naturally leave their mother's side.
'Following their capture, the rhino were put in quarantine.
'Kate was lucky enough to be on hand when they started
'their journey to the UK, but also, when deputy head warden
'Ian Turner met his new rhinos.'
This is where the three rhino that are going to Longleat have been kept
quarantined for two months and Ian is about to see them for the first time.
-How you feeling?
This is Charles Van Niekerk. Good morning. How are you?
Welcome to our country and let's introduce you to your new babies.
'Two females and a male were due to be sent back to the park
'in the hope that they would breed.'
These are two of the three and they've settled down fantastically.
I've been very happy with their progress through the quarantine.
Grab some hay, there. They'll actually eat out of your hand.
-It's unbelievable. Yeah.
Just watch your fingers.
If they accidentally jam them against the poles with their horns,
it can be quite painful, but stick your hand through.
Two months earlier, these were completely wild rhinos.
By breeding them in captivity, it would help to ensure that
the white rhino never goes to the brink of extinction ever again.
Ian was smitten by his new charges.
Really, really good. Better than I thought. I mean, you know,
sizewise, about the right size I would have thought they were.
But so quiet.
For two months, from completely in the wild to like, this.
Really excited. Hopefully, they'll never have to come back to Africa.
They'll never get in the state in Africa
that they'll need stuff to come back,
but if it ever happens, then we've got rhinos to do that.
You know, this is a big step for us and it's really exciting.
The time to start the big move had finally arrived.
To reduce the stress on the animals during loading,
wildlife vet Charles Van Niekerk gave them a mild sedative.
It's not a hassle for them. Just that fright as the dart goes in,
that's all it is. Make sure it's gone through.
-See the plunger's gone in.
After a few minutes, the drug
began to take effect and the rhino were tempted into the travel box.
Charles, why are you waving a pillowcase at them?
It's meant to be a white flag.
Peace. No. Jokes aside, what it basically does is when they get to
a semi-state of immobilisation, they tend to follow something white.
So no other colour works?
I don't know. I haven't tried anything other than white.
It works for us.
It walks in incredibly calmly.
Is it a risk that if he's still a little bit lively and
you start putting the bars in, that he tries to break out
-and hurt himself?
-Yeah. That's our biggest concern.
If they can't go backwards
and they try and go forwards, then the horn is their weapon.
They'll just use it to try and smash their way out
and they won't get out of the crate but they'll hurt themselves.
All that stood between Ian and a future in white rhino breeding
was a 5,000-mile journey.
We'll be back later when they touch down in the UK.
After his long-term partner, Samba, died,
Nico has been at a bit of a loose end.
Always looking for something to occupy him.
Oi, oi. Nico!
He may not be very physically active these days,
but mentally, he's still alert.
If he's not watching TV, then he's being cheeky with the likes of me.
Don't you even think about pinching my bum.
-He still has to have a cheeky go, doesn't he?
As he doesn't have anyone to play with, his keeper Michelle Stevens,
is constantly thinking up ingenious ways of keeping him entertained.
Nico's a very intelligent animal so it's very much a challenge for us
keepers to make sure that we think of things that will
be a challenge for him.
One very good way of enriching his daily routine
is to include feeding enrichments.
Feed time to him is the best time of day,
so trying to figure different ways of
hiding his food and making it last longer, making it more interesting
when he finds his food, so that's our basis of the enrichment.
But striking the right balance is all-important.
The last thing Michelle wants is to overfeed him.
Being that he's on his own, you sometimes feel a bit sorry
for him because you think, "Bless him,"
give him an extra apple or something like that.
Even though you do care for him, you have to not kill him with kindness.
You have to make sure that you're not overdoing certain types of food.
It can actually work in a negative way.
To spread out his diet and spice up his mealtimes,
she's come up with some unusual serving suggestions.
First of all here, we've got this sock.
Nice texture to it. What I'm going to put inside is some chilli powder,
which sounds quite mean. He probably won't eat it but it's
a different smell, so it's different in his normal environment.
So it's just to really make him think, "Oh, what's that?"
He's very much a sweet tooth, so it makes him kind of think that not
everything we give him is actually really nice and sweet and lovely.
It's just a different stimulus for him, basically.
In the wild, they'd experience
different tastes and so it's to try and replicate that in captivity.
We've got some peanut butter here.
He'll put his fingers in, like that.
He's an impatient gorilla. He won't work at things for very long,
so he'll probably just put the whole thing in his mouth and start
sucking the peanut butter out and chewing it a little bit
which is fine. It's not really enough to make him
overweight or anything, so he's getting the same amount of food
but it's lasting longer. That's what we're trying to achieve.
We do give him, occasionally, things like jam and chocolate.
We've got this tyre...
bit of banana, wrap it up, stuff it all around and you don't have to
put food in every single bit of paper bag, you can just put
balls of paper bag in there so it's always a little bit of a surprise.
We've got this cardboard box.
Put the pine cones in there.
And then just hide it in the box.
Pop these little divides in there, as well.
We'll be back with Michelle a little later to find out what Nico
thinks of his treats.
Earlier on, we got an emergency message that one of the Pere David
had gone into labour, but there were complications.
The deer's been subdued
and I'm now joining the team to hopefully find out what's going on.
As you can see, he's having a hell of a struggle to remove the calf,
which is dead now.
We've established that it's too late for the calf and
the real priority is to remove the calf as soon as possible
for this one's sake. Every thought is with her, at the minute.
-She's going through an awful ordeal.
It's not a very pleasant aspect of the job.
I suppose it's the reality of working with animals.
It is, Ben. It is. Definitely.
A caesarean is not an option, as this animal is totally wild. The
stress could kill it and the keepers wouldn't be able to administer drugs.
Duncan is worried the anaesthetic may be wearing off.
I don't really want her running off
before we've finished.
Pere David deer are incredibly endangered in the wild
and every individual is precious to the survival of the species,
especially breeding females, which is why Duncan
and Tim are prepared to go to such lengths to try and save this one.
Well, we've been out here for the best part of an hour now and as you
can see, vet Duncan Williams and his assistant are still working,
alongside Kevin and Tim.
They've got to get that dead calf out so that mum can
come round from her anaesthetic and hopefully make a recovery.
And all we can really do is keep our fingers crossed.
It's the end of the afternoon and keeper Michelle Stevens is
heading across to Half Mile Lake for one of her last jobs of the day...
to lay on dinner for Nico, the gorilla.
But rather than dishing it up on a plate, the idea is to replicate the
way he would have to work for and think about his food in the wild,
by hiding, wrapping and disguising it in all sorts of unusual ways.
What's left to do now is just basically let Nico in to see what
he finds most interesting, to see
which ones he goes for first, which will be interesting.
First thing's the tyre.
He'll always have a look through the paper
and pick out all the nice bits, the nuts and things like that.
The grumble's a really good sign that it's happy noises.
That's what we want to hear, really. See the look on his face, as well.
It's a sort of interested.
Obviously, that didn't take his fancy.
It's just like Christmas, really.
And what will he make of the chilli flavoured sock?
Sniffing it. Hope he doesn't get a fit of sneezes.
I think he wasn't that interested in the sock.
He'll have sniffed, decided there was nothing edible in it
and then just decided to leave it.
So this is the last thing, the box, with the pine cones in.
He'll probably rip it to pieces.
He's not very patient. He doesn't really think about it.
He'll just tend to go hell for leather and just rip it apart.
He's just investigating.
So he hasn't actually looked inside the pillowcase
which surprised me, actually.
I thought he would go for that.
But then he's got all night to go back to it if he wants to.
With most of the food explored,
if not eaten, how does Michelle think the experiment has gone?
Overall, I think the enrichment has been quite a success.
Anything that's going to
make him spend longer over his food is a good thing, I think.
Anything that's going to stimulate his environment and just make him
think differently, even if it's for a few minutes or a few seconds.
You just strive to make his life a bit more, kind of, enjoyable
and a bit happier, really.
It's our final look back to when three white rhinos
were brought to the park all the way from South Africa.
two tonnes of rhino, ten hours of flying and a team of vets.
Finally, the three white rhinos landed on British soil.
The rhinos settled down very, very quickly once we were in flight.
A little bit agitated on the landings and take-off and so on,
but as soon as you feed them they settle down fine and I think
they've done fantastically.
But at least the final leg of their journey was not a long one.
Their new home was the lush Wiltshire countryside
and there to meet them was deputy head warden Ian Turner.
But getting them unloaded was not easy.
We've got the forklift. We'll push the forks through with extensions
on with the crate and lift him up, take him to the rhino house.
We've then got to turn the box round cos they're going to back out
and we'll have them pushed up against the door and we'll
leave her quiet and then we'll just take the doors off,
take the slides away and they can easily just back out.
It's the opposite to what we did in Africa.
They walked in forwards. This way, they're going to back out
and reverse out. It's just as easy that way.
Head warden Keith Harris had been planning for this day
for nearly two years.
He was there when these rhino were caught from the wild.
I've been like an expectant father since Friday, when I knew that they
were travelling from South Africa.
And then to have them here unloaded,
Haven't seen rhinos in the bush,
seeing these over there when we were in Africa,
you know, and the fact that now they're in England
is really something.
So, yeah, very excited.
I mean, this is a major thing.
Ten rhinos from Africa coming over and Longleat's got three
new young rhinos, one male and two females, perfect for breeding.
So two years down the line
we should have two young 'uns. There's nothing to say we shouldn't.
I'll be glad when they're in the house and settled down
but, you know, they're here now and everything's fine.
They seem quite quiet.
The drugs will obviously start wearing off soon,
so then they're going to get a bit more boisterous.
The rhino were given a long-lasting sedative to reduce the stress
of the journey, but the keepers wanted to
get them settled in to their new home as soon as possible.
They're still quiet, no noise,
so going to plan.
Their sedation will probably wear off some time this afternoon
so then we'll see what they're really like.
We've just took all the doors off the back of this one so...
be nice to see them out and about.
They shared the house with Longleat's two elderly rhino,
Winston and Babs.
The keepers kept them at opposite ends to start with,
but the animals were still able to see and smell each other.
Well, everything's new to them. You know, it's a new house, new smells.
They know there's two other rhinos up the other end of the house.
It's just a bit of excitement for a while.
Hopefully, we'll let them bide quiet and they'll settle in to it.
The two females were safely unloaded, so the rhino house was now
a quarantine area and our crew were no longer allowed past the doors.
But we gave the rhino keepers a small camera to film inside for us.
They did 60 days in South Africa and they
have to do 30 days isolation here.
So it's very important now...
obviously, once we start unloading them, that becomes a quarantine area.
And only specific staff can go in.
This is the bull we're just unloading.
He came out.
They came off with a bang.
Well, with a bang, he decided he wasn't going to wait like the girl.
But no, he's fine.
Ian told me it was the quietest one.
When we first met the male over there, he said the quietest
of the three. I mean, at the moment, you think he's the worst,
but then it's because he's a male and he likes to show off.
He's met another male in there who's bigger than him so, obviously,
there will be a bit of shouting and screaming going on in a minute.
But the two girls seem really quiet. Settled in. Tucking into some hay.
Things we're going to have to watch for, is that cos our two rhinos
are in there, if they start
winding each other up then they might start getting into a bit of trouble.
And the keepers didn't have long to wait.
That was Winston, our bull.
He was throwing his bed up in the air and you've got plastic
matting down on the floor and he's chucking that about.
It's cos he can see the other bull in there.
That's what we expected, to get a bit stroppy in that sense, but he's just
banging and crashing about. It's a lot of noise for nothing, really.
That was five years ago. And the South African rhino quickly settled
in well with the older animals and their new home, where Ian grew
increasingly fond of Injanu, Marashi and Rosina.
Sadly though, there have been no baby rhinos.
There's been plenty of mating, just no pregnancies.
The keepers are now working alongside the vets to see if there's
some biological reason why, in five years, there hasn't been any babies.
We want baby rhinos, but they'll produce them
when they're good and ready, really.
So, with fingers crossed and a little help from their friends,
one day soon, there may well be baby rhinos at the park once again.
Back in the deer park, Duncan and his assistant, Chris,
have been trying to deliver the dead calf
for over an hour now, but with no success.
Well, I think that's not coming.
Because of this, Tim now has to make the most difficult decision
a keeper ever has to face.
So, Tim, what's happening?
We've come to a situation where the calf's...
No way is it coming out, it's dead in her,
the shoulders are too large.
These animals usually give birth in the spring and this one has been...
..set back a bit and we've come up against a situation where,
with a domestic animal, you would do a...
I guess, Duncan would do a caesarean, remove the calf.
These animals are different in the sense they're extremely wild,
very, very shy and to close her in a box, she's never
been closed in, she's never been, so she's going to be more stressed.
She's never been taken away from the others. They're a herd animal.
You put her on her own, you isolate her, which you have to do to try
and give her the drugs that would be needed for her to recover.
You'd possibly lose her. You know, stress can be a
big killer in these animals.
They can die just of that alone, so you know, it's not good.
I feel, probably, it's better that we euthanase her now.
So you're going to put her down, are you?
That's the decision that I think we've come to,
talking amongst ourselves.
I don't envy you having to make a decision like that but
you've obviously had so many years of experience.
You know how to weigh up the pros and cons.
It's an extremely difficult thing to do.
I think if we operated now,
she's probably too sick to get over it, anyway and because of the nature
of the Pere Davids, we can't give her the aftercare that she'd need to
get over an operation like this.
If we did the operation and left her out in the field,
it would be a long slow-lingering death, so the kindest thing really
is to put her to sleep now.
Kevin, it's probably a daft question but do you ever get used to
-scenarios like this?
-No. You don't. You never get used to it.
We're all here to try and breed them and save the species
and this is probably one of the rarest animals we've got in the park
and to lose one to something that should happen so naturally is
awful, really, for us.
Well, I'm sorry, guys.
It's terrible. I've worked here for eight years, or so, and that's the
first time that's ever had to happen, first time I've ever
seen that and as an animal lover, it's really hard to understand how
you can come up to a decision like that, but what you must remember is
the keepers here really know their animals, they're wild animals
and I suppose, ultimately, it's for the better.
But it doesn't make it easier for anyone, for me, for these guys,
for you watching, but sadly, that really is life with wild animals.
Over on Half Mile Lake, Sealia and Zook,
the two sea lions were due to give birth any day.
Sealia has already had lots of pups
but for Zook, this was going to be her first.
Well, I'm delighted to say that a week later,
they've both had their babies and everyone is doing really well.
Well, I've come down to Sea Lion Beach to meet the new arrivals.
I'm here with head of section Mark Tye.
And Zook is our first-time mum this year.
-Very, very exciting and looking like she's doing a pretty good job.
She's been fantastic, Kate.
I'm really, really pleased with her.
I was a little worried cos she's still young.
She's only a five-year-old.
Sometimes they've haven't got the best of ideas of what to do.
But she's exceeded my expectations.
She has been a model mother, she really has.
That's brilliant, but what about this little pup,
all on her own, which is just about to disappear under the boardwalk?
Now, that doesn't look good.
-That's, "Get away from me."
She's a little protective of her own.
-And this is Sealia's pup.
Sealia being a much better mother has quite happily gone off
and left it.
Sealia's pretty regular every year, isn't she? How many has she had now?
Well, she's 15 years old and this one will be her eighth.
Wow. Wow. So she's very happy just to leave it on the beach.
Yeah. Sometimes with both mums,
I mean, Sealia has done it to Zook's pup, it's just to...
"You're not mine, go away, do your own thing."
That's all that is, really.
But did Sealia actually give birth on the beach this year,
cos I know there's been problems with where the sea lions
choose to give birth, despite building this lovely beach for them.
There have been in the past. Yes. But no,
Sealia gave birth in the pen behind us,
which is where she has had the last three.
OK. So that's become a good habit.
That's a good habit. It's a nice safe place
cos there's a nice gradient on the ramp there for the pups.
And she kept it there for a few days
and now she's moved it round here.
And presumably, all their food is coming from suckling mum.
They're not taking any fish or anything, at this stage.
No. No. It's all purely milk from mother.
We find that they do start chasing small fish in the lake
-at about six months.
So you notice a definite ballooning effect once they find small fish.
They do get a lot bigger very quickly.
We've got the hippos frighteningly close.
I'm slightly on the back foot here,
thinking I'm going to run for it any minute.
Is there any conflict when you've got little pups like this
that are inexperienced with the hippos?
We haven't had any problems.
Normally by the time pups are out and about swimming in the lake,
they're more than quick enough to be three steps ahead of a hippo.
-You know, hippos are generally quite slow and they
are very used to the sea lions now.
They've had sea lions around them the whole time they've been here.
We've seen them sitting on their heads, haven't we?
Oh, look and we've got the swan family coming down.
That's great. So all looking good.
And again, an adult swan, protective birds, very territorial birds, would
they have a go at a sea lion pup that was being a little overcurious?
-Yes. They would.
I've seen it happen quite a lot.
I mean, sea lion pups, when they get swimming, are quite fond of
cygnets' feet, from underneath and they do try to pull them under.
-But you notice that the adults are very protective and will have a
-go at even an adult sea lion, never mind a baby.
-Look at that. That is just the most heavenly, heavenly sight.
I think it's everybody's favourite time of the year, isn't it?
You know, loads of offspring.
They're both females as well, which is a bonus.
-Both the babies are females?
-That's such good news.
That's such good news. No wonder you're smiling from ear to ear.
Any names yet or are we still a little too early?
No. I like to give them a good headstart in life
and sometimes it's nice, they come out with little characters that
the name will fit quite nicely to.
Yeah. OK. We'll wait and see what happens but Mark, thank you very much
for introducing me to them, although I have to say you're not showing me
your best side down there. Go on.
Give us a wave. Bye bye, little one.
See you later.
The tragic tale of mother and calf
was a real blow for the herd of Pere David deer.
But there's a glimmer of hope for this endangered species,
with the loan male calf born this season still flourishing.
Just behind us are some of Longleat's Pere David deer
and Kate and I have joined Tim
who's had quite a time of it lately, haven't you?
We have, Ben, yes. With the Pere David, we've had
a few problems along the way.
But things are picking up and we're going to
receive some more Pere David deer.
-Oh, are you?
-Some young hinds. Yes.
So we can really, perhaps,
safeguard our breeding population.
Cos they're really rare, aren't they?
Well, they are, Ben.
Still not out of danger, by any means, in the wild state and I think
these captive herds are extremely important
throughout the world, really.
So even though we have a few here, we need to keep breeding them so
-that one day, perhaps, some of them can go back.
And when you get the hinds, do you imagine that they'll integrate
well with the herd immediately?
Are they quite a tricky deer to manage?
There are two very old hinds there, long in the tooth.
They're going to
express their dominance over those animals, so
I think possibly, they'll just be kept on the edge of the group
for a little while, but they'll come in, they'll find their place.
They certainly do look like the picture of contentment out there,
eating the clover, so Tim, congratulations on one very
successful birth and we hope that the Pere David go
-from strength to strength.
-Thanks very much.
Sadly, that's all we've got time for in today's programme,
but here's what's coming up on the next Animal Park.
Kate rolls out the barrel to find out how hard a monkey
will work for its lunch.
Oh, look, look, look.
Ben goes to Wolf Wood to try and spot some very cute youngsters.
And we struggle to even start identifying three tigers
that, to us, look exactly the same.
I spent long enough working out the last three. I guess I'm going to
-start all over again.
-They were completely different!
So this one fills me with horror.
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