The penguin keepers embark on their most ambitious project ever - an underwater feeding machine to encourage their birds to hunt for their breakfast.
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When you have animals to feed every day
it's important you mix it up a little bit.
This truck is part of a new plan to encourage the giraffes
to feed in a different way.
Now, giraffes are extremely nervous creatures,
so the keepers are hoping that this truck will give them a way
of moving where they feed them - and what they feed them -
without scaring them.
-And it might be working.
Also on today's show, we'll find out if a plan to encourage
20 cheeky characters to feed underwater goes to plan.
What could possibly go wrong?
-I won't be holding my breath.
-See what I did there?
Also on today's show...
There's a feast laid on for the wolves...
Alf's having a really good go at it now so that's really exciting.
..but not everyone's on the guest list.
There seems to be a bit of a fight going on there.
The park has its very first male birth.
He looks like he's going through contractions,
so they can actually be in labour for around 12 hours.
Unfortunately for him, he's going to be in a bit of pain.
And it's high jinks as keepers try and round up the hyrax.
With more than 1,000 animals at the park,
lunchtime is often a feeding frenzy.
But some diners do form an orderly queue.
Feeding time for the penguins runs like clockwork.
The keepers appear with a bucket of fish...
-Come on, guys!
-Come on, penguins.
..and the penguins waste no time diving in
and helping themselves to the spoils.
-Come on, then.
-Oh, big splash.
But keepers Georgia and Lucy are worried that by being waited on
hand and foot, the penguins are getting lazy.
They feed, which is great and they got all excited but you can see
there's already some up on the rock, they're not hungry any more,
they're just going to go up there and sit and wait,
and not be very active.
They don't have much mental stimulation after the feed.
In the wild, these Humboldt penguins would feed by chasing
and catching fish underwater.
The keepers believe the colony here would benefit from
some sort of underwater feeding device
to replicate their natural feeding habits.
We have to come up with something,
especially if it gets them actually chasing fish.
-So ideally what we need is some sort of feeding device,
some sort of box with a tube on that will shoot fish out intermittently.
On land, off land, inside, outside.
-So not asking for much, then?
The girls are determined to make this idea a reality
and not rely entirely on bucket feeding.
Sounds like a plan.
-But let's make it more official, let's draw up some ideas.
The next step is to hit the drawing board.
Georgia's joined forces with Longleat's tech wizard, Mark Powell.
What are your ideas? What is it you need?
They always associate us walking in there with feeding them,
so we want to be able to feed them when they least expect it.
Once I'd heard from the penguin keepers what was happening,
I was very excited. It's a unique challenge.
This isn't an off-the-shelf item
that you can just go to the shops and buy.
Mark's invention is a pump action feeder.
He'll attach pipes to a standard pond pump.
The keepers will drop fish in one end
and they get fired out the other.
The hope is that the penguins will spend more time swimming.
One thing we really want the visitors to see is how fast they can
actually swim because it is really, really impressive.
They can turn 25mph,
be able to chase fish up to that speed as well.
Naturally in the wild they'll only come onto land for breeding
and for moulting so it'll be awesome to just feed them naturally
in the water, rather than trying to waddle their way onto land
over to us to get some fish.
We'll find out later if this fast food delivery idea sinks or swims.
Meeting an elephant is an unforgettable experience,
and feeding one is magical, especially when it's Ann.
Now in her 60s,
she lives here in retirement in this enormous enclosure
with a grass paddock and even a swimming pool.
You may be surprised to hear, though,
that she does have some relatives here in the park,
albeit on a very different scale.
Animal Adventure is home to a family of rock hyrax.
They're found throughout sub-Saharan Africa
and are often known as rock rabbits.
In fact, these creatures have nothing to do with rabbits.
Incredibly, they're from the same family tree as the elephant.
But the only really obvious characteristic that hyrax share
with elephants are their tusks.
The original breeding pair here are Mutley and Myrtle.
A few months ago, they became proud parents.
Our hyrax have actually just recently had three babies
successfully, which is really nice.
So we need to go in and take a look at them
and just see if everyone's happy and healthy.
So we've got dad just at the top there on the log,
who's keeping an eye on us,
and mum's just sat underneath him.
There's no sign of the babies at the minute,
and that's because they are very, very shy.
So what I'm going to do is I'm going to use my camera
and see if we can catch a glimpse of the babies.
But even with the help of a camera on a stick,
keepers still aren't able to get a proper look at them.
They're very good at hiding, they're very elusive.
But all that's about to change as the team need to carry out
proper health checks on the whole family,
as well as finding out whether the babies are boys or girls.
The team are going to go in, and we are going to microchip,
and we're going to sex them,
so really, really exciting.
You got your gauntlets, make sure your sleeves are down,
even though they're small I bet you they've got a really cracking
set of teeth on them. Are we ready?
-Are you ready for this? Let's go.
Even though they look very sweet and innocent,
the keepers will have to be quite quick on their feet
cos these little things can fly.
The team decide to capture Dad, Mutley, first
but he's not making it easy for them.
He's coming round.
With Mutley secured, they set their sights on Mum, Myrtle.
-You try and push her round from the top, OK?
Yeah, she's good.
That's it, twist it.
OK. Go on, then. That's it.
Now for the babies,
and they're just as fast.
But the team seem to have got the knack.
THEY LAUGH Sorry.
Once they're all caught, the first thing the team want to find out
is whether the new babies are boys or girls.
So this sexing of animals,
you don't always get up close and personal
with the genitals of many animals.
I've never seen hyrax genitals before
so it's actually quite exciting.
We can safely kind of see that we've got a wee boy on our hands.
What about baby number two?
That's a girl.
OK, fantastic, looking really nice.
One of each so far.
I think we've got another boy on our hands.
So all our babies.
They each need to be microchipped.
It's very, very important that we can distinguish between each of them
cos they very much look the same, so having the microchips means
that they've got a lovely identifiable number
that relates to them as an individual.
Just checking that the microchip is in.
So that's safely in.
Then it's time to check on Mum and Dad.
9...2... Yeah. Yeah.
Mum gets a clean bill of health,
but the team notice a problem with one of Mutley's tusks.
It appears to have grown too long.
So that's his main set of tusks at the front.
It's just growing a little bit too long
and it's started touching his face now.
As with an elephant,
tusks are in fact just front teeth that grow continuously,
but sometimes their shape can be a problem.
So Mutley has left the park to go to the vet's.
Keeper Becca asks vet Zoe to take a look.
So I understand he's not very friendly?
-Just very cautious animals.
-So he gets quite nervous.
OK. So this is one of his upper tusk teeth that are growing too long?
Zoe thinks if it's left, the ingrowing tusk could pierce his skin
which would not only be painful but it would impede his ability to eat.
We just need to get a weight for him, so we already know
the weight of the crush cage so we'll just weigh him in that,
and then we can work out what he weighs.
The tusk needs to be trimmed down, but in order to treat him,
he'll need to be sedated.
This hasn't been done here before, and very little is known about
how this species reacts to anaesthetic.
This is the first hyrax that I've treated here.
It makes life a little bit more difficult.
With dogs and cats we've got loads of data, we've got licensed drugs,
we know what doses we should be using.
We use them all the time so we're used to...
you know, how those drugs are going to affect the animal.
With these guys there's very little known about
how to anaesthetise them, so we have to extrapolate from other species,
which usually works but occasionally you come across
problems that you weren't expecting.
Anaesthesia is a calculated risk,
but it's one they have to take.
We'll find out later on how Mutley gets on.
All this week, Jean has been helping keepers to get closer to the animals
in their care than ever before, so they can find out more about them.
Over at Monkey Jungle, part of keeper Jenna's job
is to come up with inventive ways to feed the macaques.
Their intelligent minds and nimble fingers need a frequent supply
of new challenges to keep them entertained.
Jenna, what have you come up with this time?
-So we've got a bit of a puzzle for them here.
So we've got a bit of plastic tubing. We've just popped some holes
in it and threaded sticks through.
So the idea is we'll pop some food in the top,
and they're going to have to pull the sticks out and work out
-how to get the food out.
-Good. So it should take a little bit longer.
-Cos usually with this troupe they sort of run in, go wild,
eat everything, and it's over in a couple of seconds.
For sure. Yeah, they're so clever that trying to think of new ways
is always a challenge for us as well.
I think this may actually be a challenge for them, Jenna,
cos they're going to have to get their little fingers in here,
pull these branches out,
and they have to work out that there's a treat in there as well.
Right, that's a good spot here, isn't it?
Put this here, and I'll help you get this up.
-Yeah, if you hold the bottom for me.
Is this the first time you've done this one, Jenna? Yes.
Yeah, it's the first time we've tried anything like this,
-so it'll be something new for them.
-Right, that's all set up.
-Let's sit back and watch them go for it.
-Yeah, let's go for it.
Come on, monkey!
-You can see them climbing up there.
They definitely are interested in it, they want to know what it is.
Yeah, and they're giving it a right good pull there.
It didn't take them long at all to work that out.
Yeah, they're so clever. I mean, look,
they're just pulling the sticks out of the hole straightaway.
-That's great to see them using their arms and their hands,
and there seems to be a bit of a system going on here,
because some of them are doing the hard work pulling out the branches,
pushing the fruit down, and then others are just quite
happily sat in the grass, waiting for the food to fall down on...
-Picking it up off the ground.
And they are so dexterous in the wild,
how do they use those little fingers?
So, they'd use them all sorts.
Digging, looking into logs like this, obviously insects and things,
they can just grab them and then they can eat them straight away.
So it's something really quick they can get.
But, yeah, obviously, and trees like this, climbing,
gives them this real, you know, this really good ability
to be able to just grab onto the tiniest little branch,
so we've only put really thin sticks in there,
but it makes them really quite, you know, adapt to where they would be.
-Yeah, they're very skilled.
Well, family squabbles aside, I think this has gone really well.
For once, the macaques are sitting
-and taking their time to enjoy their food.
-It's a success.
-We may just have cracked this, Jenna.
Now that winter is over, birds all over the country
are establishing territories, finding mates,
building nests, and laying eggs,
but it's not just our native birds that have been busy,
it's some of the exotic birds that are here at Longleat
that have been equally busy,
and I am here with George to see two of your favourites, you told me.
-They are, yep.
-Well, I can see why.
Tell me a little bit about these birds.
OK, so these are a pair of grey crown cranes.
-They're a breeding pair.
We have Derek, who's the male, and Marge is the female.
They look completely identical.
Can you tell male and female apart?
No, not by physical appearance you can't, no. You have to feather test,
-and then we leg-band them and we can tell them that way.
And so, who's just settled onto the nest now? Do you know?
Yeah. So, Marge at the moment, she's sat, settled down on the nest.
-She's got the blue leg band.
We're very lucky, having sort of filmed here over the years,
that we're able to get in and get very close to most of the animals.
-But you have said, categorically, "Kate, you're not going in there." Why?
OK, so, erm, Derek, the male, he's very protective of his nests.
-And he's a very good dad.
-Oh, is he?
-Erm, he will fight for them.
-Right, OK. And when you say fight...
..what does he do?
-So, he'll kind of, erm, mostly he'll attack from above.
And he'll do whatever he can, really, whatever he's got that he can.
-He'll jump on your back.
-I think that's completely fair enough.
So, from what I can see here, is it three eggs?
-We've got four.
-We've confirmed four, yeah.
And how long do they sit on the eggs until they hatch?
So, their incubation period is 28 days.
Extraordinary for a big bird. I thought it might be longer.
Yeah, surprisingly, really.
It is quite quick.
Is it both the male and female bird who sit on the eggs
and then take care of the chicks afterwards?
Yes. So, they do both incubate, they take their turns.
And so, once they hatch, I mean...
How long do you think it is before they'll hatch?
-Have you got any idea?
-Erm, maybe now around two to three weeks.
-So, they've only been laid just over a week ago.
OK. Oh, it's going to be such an exciting time.
And they are such magnificent-looking birds.
-I can completely see why they are your favourite.
-Well, George, good luck.
-I know you're their kind of aunt, aren't you, really?
So, good luck, and I hope that there's a very successful hatching.
Thank you very much.
The park is home to many creatures, great and small.
And, over at Animal Adventure,
keeper James has recently welcomed some new arrivals.
In this box we have some of our chocolate millipedes.
Called chocolate because of that beautiful chocolaty colour
that they have on them.
Feel their little feet moving across their fingers there.
It's almost like having a brush being pulled across
-or something like that.
-That's exactly what it's like.
Erm, so, today, I have a few important jobs to do.
First thing that I need to check is their health,
and the best way to do that is by checking for mites.
-Tell me about that.
-Yeah, so, in most things,
-your pet having a mite probably isn't a good...
-It's a bad thing.
-It's a bad thing.
-Not the case for these guys.
The mites that live on these guys are beneficial.
It keeps all their pores open and also keeps their spiracles open,
spiracles being very important, because that's how they breathe.
Can you see them with the naked eye?
You can, but it's incredibly hard.
Oh, yeah, I'm not spotting any on here.
-Usually like to be able to...
-I'll tell you what we can do,
we can get our macro lens and then hopefully we'll be able to get
a real close-up and see some of the mites at work.
So, usually they're along the legs,
but I'm not seeing them myself at all just yet.
Oh, actually, those little tiny...
You're looking out for little tiny white specks.
-Along there, yeah.
-And they'll be crawling across its shell.
Ah, yes. Us finding some mites today is quite important,
just so you know the health of the millipede.
Yeah, it's incredibly important.
So, they play a real vital role.
The only place in the world that you'll actually find this species of
-They live on this millipede for their entire lives.
They'll be born on it,
they'll live their lives and then they'll die on it.
So, it's a really important relationship, isn't it?
-Yeah, very, very important.
-And these guys have just arrived.
So, have you sexed them yet? And how do you go about that?
We haven't sexed them just yet.
-So, that's another real important thing for us to know.
We want to know if we have, like, an equal sex ratio in there.
James, I think we should have a go at trying to sex one of these.
So, why don't you pick one up?
-Hold it up to camera. I'll have a look on the monitor.
-You're looking for a pair of missing legs.
I don't think I'm seeing a set of missing legs.
No, which would mean that this is a lovely little lady.
-We have a girl.
-We have a girl.
Oh, good. It's just as well I've got my close-up lens.
It's going to make it a lot easier for you.
So, should we try another one?
Right, this one's looking like a small one.
But let's give it a go.
Right, seventh segment, and a pair of missing feet.
And there we go. You can see it quite clearly.
I can see it very clearly on here.
What are those two little black things in there?
So, that is basically what a male would use to hold on to a female.
-And that's how they breed.
-We have a boy.
-So, a good healthy set of millipedes here.
We've got some boys and some girls.
-So, they're nice and healthy.
Mutley the hyrax has been taken to the vet.
His tusk is twisting inwards, and, if left, would become increasingly
painful and affect his ability to eat.
In order to be treated, he needs to be put under anaesthetic.
Vet Zoe has never anaesthetised a rock hyrax before,
and there's very little information out there about how to go about it.
So, she's devising her own technique.
We've got a dose that tells us how to sedate a guinea pig.
Erm, we're going to use half of that dose initially,
and see how he responds to that.
If that's enough to get him to the point where we can handle him
and put a mask on his face with some gas, then we'll do that.
If it's not, then we'll give him a top-up.
So, we'll bring the moving side in.
We'll just hold him against this edge here and then the idea is that
we give this into his muscle.
-You poor thing.
Brilliant. So, now we just have to wait.
Five minutes later,
and the dose seems to have been sufficient to put him under.
-OK, so it's looking like the sedation's had a pretty good effect.
We just need to get him on some oxygen now.
And then we'll start with a cautious little poke test,
which he's not reacting to.
Zoe's confident the patient is sufficiently sedated.
So, we'll give him a little bit of oxygen for a minute.
It's really important when we anaesthetise any animal,
but particularly the small ones,
that we keep them warm while they're asleep.
They'll lose an awful lot of heat once they're anaesthetised.
So, we use this space blanket like runners use.
We'll also cover him up with a heated blanket.
So, I'm just having a look.
We can see on this side that this is the tusk that's growing abnormally,
and it is actually getting in the way for him.
So, it's starting to press on his lower jaw there.
If we weren't to get this back to a more normal length,
it will just carry on growing and it would grow in through his skin and
cause all sorts of trouble.
In the wild, he wouldn't be able to survive with this,
because he wouldn't be able to eat.
So, I think what we'll do, at the moment, is just remove that
long portion of the tusk and see how he copes with that
once he's at home.
OK. You ready?
OK, so that brings it back to a more normal length and shape for him,
which hopefully means he'll be able to now eat much more comfortably.
So, this type of tooth is a constantly erupting tooth.
Their teeth are designed to erupt for their whole life.
So, those teeth don't have a pulp cavity like we do.
So, it means that you can just cut through them if they overgrow and
there's no sensitive part in the middle there.
It's now an anxious wait while
Mutley comes round from the anaesthetic.
I would say, any anaesthetic,
the induction and the recovery are the two high-risk times.
So, what we need to do is be really careful and keep a very close eye on
him while he's recovering.
Once he's up - and normally we would look for them to be lifting up their
heads, you know, ultimately standing and walking around -
once he's doing that, then he's out of the woods.
Come on, darling.
Right. So, we'll pop him back in.
Thankfully, after a few moments, Mutley regained consciousness.
But vet Zoe is concerned that he may require further treatment.
It may have been that he had a short-term discomfort in the mouth
that he was avoiding that's led to this, but we really need to keep
a close eye on him, because if that's something that's going to
recur, then we need to be doing this procedure, you know,
potentially every six months or so for him.
So, just like us, regular dental check-ups should keep
Mutley in good health.
Back at the penguin enclosure, the park's technical wiz, Mark,
is ready to unveil his feeding invention.
OK, so we got all the bits we're going to need for the feeder.
First off, I've got the bracket,
which I quickly made to sit the pump on under the water.
He was asked by penguin-keepers Georgia and Lucy
to build something to shoot fish out underwater so the penguins could
catch them, mimicking the way they hunt in the wild.
So, the idea is that'll be connected to the exit of the pump.
Our feeding tube will be connected just there,
and the fish will be dropped in the top and the fish will literally
disappear along the feeding tube.
Stage one is to install the shelf for the pump.
Like a glove.
But, for the rest of the installation, he and keeper Georgia
need to get suited up.
Mark's got a drysuit, which keeps him nice and warm and toasty,
but I don't. To be honest, I get to jump in the shower afterwards.
Enrichment's always good fun and it's always nice to see if it
actually works or not.
We try loads of different stuff up here at penguins.
Sometimes they're a winner and sometimes not.
So if it's worth it at the end and the enrichment works,
then it's definitely worth it.
If it doesn't, then I just got very wet for no reason.
Are you going to be good?
When we've got in the pool before,
the penguins have actually run away more than anything else.
So right now I'm actually surprised they're doing quite well.
Yeah, they're wary. That's why they're poking their heads up,
swimming quite upright. But that's normal.
There's something much bigger than them coming into their space.
So the penguins will want to keep moving while they're unsure.
They don't want to basically hold
still in any one place. It's instinct.
They don't want to get caught in
case she is a predator, and they're unsure at the moment.
They've got really good eyesight, so they'll be able to see her much
better than she can see them right now.
But they're doing really well.
Mark and Georgia secure the pipe in position.
It's time to put this pump action feeder through its paces.
So all that's left to do now is to get out,
plug it in, put it all together, and give it a trial run.
Hope for the best.
The penguins are due their first feed of the day.
Now we just need some fish.
Hide the fish, hide the fish.
You get to smell like fish for a change.
Lovely. Can't wait.
So, guys, you ready?
-Loading one in.
-All right, come on, penguins.
The first fish firing is a success.
Darwin snaps it up.
But the keepers want the others to get involved.
Let's go for it.
It is working. It's really exciting.
We're feeding our penguins underwater,
which we never thought we could be able to do.
It's really cool.
I've loaded six in there, so we'll see what happens.
They're all getting really excited, aren't they?
They know that there's fish, but it's not all coming at once,
how they normally get it. It's a little frenzy where the one manages
to get it and they all chase each other after it.
So they've never had to fight over the fish before.
And it makes them swim so much more, doesn't it?
-Humboldt penguins are incredible swimmers.
They use their wings to fly underwater at speeds of up to 25mph,
steering with their feet and their wings.
Mark's pump action feeder is a winner.
As I'm loading the fish in, it's working really well, so excited.
They're sort of almost fighting each other for it, they're swimming,
they're ducking, they're diving, trying to be the first to the fish.
Well happy. Brilliant, superb.
This is proper hunting.
This is exactly what they would do in the wild.
They'd find a school of fish and they'd all circle around like this,
competing with each other to get hold of them.
They've never been all underwater at one go feeding,
especially from the bottom of the pool.
You could watch it all day, couldn't you?
Put another one in for good luck. Why not?
Encouraging natural behaviour is key to wellbeing at the park.
In the wild, wolves hunt in packs...
..but also bury fresh kills and dig
them up later when they're ready to eat.
Sam wants to encourage this behaviour today.
So we know wolves are fantastic runners but, Sam,
how are we going to get them digging?
So in the wild, they would normally bury their food and then they would
come back and dig it up, maybe even a week or so later.
A bit like a storage container for their food, really.
So we're going to dig a nice deep hole for them, put their food in it,
bury it for them, and hopefully we
should see them come back over and dig that up again.
-Should we get digging?
-Let's get digging.
Sam, have you done this before?
No, so it's a really exciting time to see how they'll react to it.
Wolves' highly developed sense of smell enables them to track prey
-over great distances.
All right, then.
I know that wolves have a good sense of smell.
They are definitely not going to miss this.
Once they've killed their prey, wolves don't eat in moderation.
Each can consume 20lbs of meat at a sitting.
I think that looks good, Sam.
Sam, do you reckon this is them sniffing out the food?
They're doing everything that they should do, they've circled round,
they're slowly coming closer.
-They are picking up the scent,
because you can see every now and again,
they'll lift their noses up and they're taking the scent in.
So hopefully, it won't be long until they actually go in.
In the wild, these social animals
work together to take down very large
prey like deer, elk, and moose.
But when it comes to eating it, there's a strict hierarchy.
And Alf, the alpha male, is first to tuck in.
Alf's having a really good go at it now, so that's really exciting.
Think he's got the prize there, Sam. He's got a bit of meat.
He's managed to take a bit.
I heard that snap so I think he only got a small bit,
so I think he'll go back and try and get a bigger bit.
He's pulled out another bit there.
So that's a much bigger bit.
Just as in the wild,
no other wolf get to look in until the alpha wolf has finished eating.
Poor Dave. Dave's worried about
going in because he's afraid Alf might tell him off.
So that's Dave just standing back a bit and watching things happen.
And while Alf continues feasting,
Dave and Vick have found his leftovers.
And a bit of a tussle has broken out over who gets them.
There seems to be bit of a fight going on there.
Well, obviously Alf isn't particularly bothered by this
because Alf is digging up some more treats.
Alf's doing some more digging there.
So the hierarchies are playing out perfectly, really, aren't they?
Absolutely. It appears that Dave won that.
So he's now got that nice, big, juicy bone.
It's great to see them digging today,
so will you do that exercise again?
Let me tell you an extraordinary
fact about these red necked wallabies.
The females give birth after just 28 days gestation.
Now, the little baby that comes out is barely formed.
It has two arms,
but the rest of it is totally undeveloped.
And it will spend 15 minutes on this massive, epic hike,
climbing up the fur of its mother's stomach
to get into the pouch and it's
there that it will finish its development,
taking about six months.
Isn't that amazing?
But there's a new arrival at the park that makes that birthing story
sound, frankly, run-of-the-mill.
The park has recently expanded its aquatic exhibit,
and there are some very exciting new arrivals...
..including the seahorses.
Seahorses are one of a tiny number
of species where the male gives birth.
Keeper Georgia absolutely adores them.
Species that I've work with
that I create this big bond with, I do have tattoos of.
You may have noticed the seahorse behind my ear.
In this tank, we have two males and two female short snout seahorses.
And then our other tank over there is our long snouted seahorses.
So again, two boys and two girls.
These two species of seahorse are actually found in British waters.
They're indicator species, so if they're present within the waters,
you know that your water is really good quality,
you know that the ocean that they're residing in is really clean.
Otherwise they won't reside there,
so it's really interesting when they find them around our coasts,
-Despite sharing the same waters,
these two species have very different characteristics.
So the short snouts mainly live a
lot closer to the bottom of the ocean floor.
So they're really well-camouflaged, being a reddy-brown colour,
and they also have the ability to change their colour,
so they can go a lot lighter or a lot darker
just to blend in with their environment.
The long snouts have these spines all over them,
so it's little prongs or little hairs that are all over their body,
which also gives them the name the spiny seahorse.
Got to admit, the spinies are pretty impressive.
They're more active and they will move up and down the tanks.
Specifically, they'll curl their tail as well,
so they've got that little element
that everyone thinks of when they think of seahorses.
It's the curly tail and the serene face.
They all have their own colourations as well.
Native seahorses are notoriously
difficult to look after in captivity.
If you can't get the water quality right,
if you can't give them enough food or give them the right type of food,
they will die off really quickly.
And it can be quite stressful
if you're unsure what is happening with that animal.
It's not like you can just take it out and wrap it in a towel or hand
feed it or anything like that.
Georgia's job's about to get a lot
more stressful because there are babies on the way.
This will be a big first for the park,
because this time it's a father that will be giving birth.
He looks like he's going into contractions.
So they can actually be in labour for around 12 hours,
so unfortunately for him he's going to be in a bit of pain.
Seahorses are very special
because it's the male that does the hard labour.
The female deposits her eggs in his tail.
He fertilises them and then after 15 days of pregnancy,
he's the one that gives birth.
Their breathing gets very erratic, he'll become more agitated.
He could give birth in the next couple of hours.
We'll be back as soon as we've got
news of the park's first seahorse babies.
On rare hot days like this at Longleat,
the keepers have a constant battle to keep their animals cool,
and I've joined Jenna in the tapir enclosure with two of our tapirs.
-Who have we got here?
-Um, we've got Tallulah at the back here and Jessie
-at the front.
-They are so beautiful.
You know, they are some of my favourite animals, I think.
-We all have favourites.
-They are so comical, aren't they?
So what's the plan, how are we going to cool them down?
We're trying a type of thing we've never tried before.
It's an ice block for them.
-They're very keen.
-A giant vegetable and fruit ice lolly.
Yes, so we've got some of their favourites in here - apple, carrot.
And then we're going to hang it up,
-and then see what they make of it, basically.
-Let's get going.
-Here we go.
-There you go.
And where are we going to just hang this up?
Yeah, if we just pop it through there.
Does a tapir use its smell or
vision to look for something like that?
Um, a bit of both. Obviously mostly smell because they've got really
strong senses. Obviously, the fruit
as well is absolutely their favourite.
It's really sweet, so they'll smell that.
-You can see Jessie using her snout.
She knows it's up there, but she's not sure about the ice.
Obviously they come from South America, from the warmer regions.
Yes. They are used to, obviously, this kind of heat.
But we still want to give them some things to cool them down.
They're not exactly leaping at it.
Will you adapt it, put it on the ground?
We can change the height, obviously, use a longer bit of chain.
So there's a lot of different options
once you try something new, to adapt it for them, basically.
Should we try putting it on the ground?
-Yeah, definitely. Give it a go.
OK? Get your ice lolly!
Get your ice lolly!
Here you go, guys.
-Jessie, come on.
-Come on, tapirs.
-Here they come.
So is she using her snout or is she using her teeth there?
A mixture of both, really.
When they eat, they kind of push the food towards their mouths with their
snout and then they'll use their teeth to crunch it.
With it being ice like this,
it's really good for them because it takes a long,
long time for them to eat it as well,
so it's not just like scattering fruit on the floor and
they can eat straightaway.
She's really got to try and work the fruit out,
which is really good for them as well.
-And you've got a big smile on your face.
-I think that's successful, would you say?
You know what? I really want an ice cream now.
-Should we go and get one?
-Let's go and get one.
We're back at the aquatic arena and there's an exciting update.
So four days ago,
our male gave birth to roughly around 100-odd babies,
so it's really exciting.
And it's really good - the majority of them have survived.
We have lost a few over the last four days. That is to be expected.
In the wild, only 5% of baby seahorses survive the first few weeks.
Getting conditions perfect in captivity is extremely hard.
So the first two weeks are really crucial for their survival.
Our main aim is just to get as many seahorses through as possible.
The odds are stacked against them in their early development.
Needs to be not drastic water changes that can shock them,
there needs to be a good flow on the tank, but not too harsh that they're
going to be blown around too much.
And they need to just start eating. It's just vital that they eat food.
Plus, their father doesn't exactly have the best parenting skills.
We moved him back in with the adults.
Otherwise, if you can leave him in there too long,
they won't associate them as babies any more.
It may just become pieces of food to the adults.
It's now two weeks since the seahorses were born.
They still have a long way to go before their survival is certain.
It's really crucial that they carry on eating.
They're 15 days old now, but they're still really, really delicate.
We need to get them to the six weeks old, a couple of months old,
before we're happy that they're doing really well.
You have to have really good eyesight to see if they're feeding.
So watching their mouths shoot out
and you can actually see them grasping the food.
Oh, just ate, that one.
It's really great.
So you can see them shooting out their mouths to catch the food.
Such a massive achievement.
And it's a challenge in itself,
one that we didn't think we'd have to do so quickly.
But it's really exciting to see that
they're 15 days old. It's incredible.
And I'm super-excited to see how
many we can get through to adulthood.
Seven weeks later, and Georgia has
managed to keep three of the 100 babies alive.
That's close to the 5% wild survival rate.
They're still in the seahorse nursery,
but Ben and I have come to see the adults.
It's almost the end of the show,
but I have just popped down to get a peek
at one of my favourite British species.
The seahorse. And, of course, to say a big congratulations to
Georgia, because what a triumph!
I know the male seahorse did the kind of pregnancy bit.
And the giving birth bit.
But you've definitely been Mum since then.
-Yeah, so all he has to do is give birth and now we're just
looking after the babies and making sure they're doing really well.
-So we're doing all the hard work.
-And how is that going?
Because it's not straightforward, is it -
breeding seahorses in captivity?
No, it is really tough.
It is difficult and we still have got a few baby seahorses alive and
they're seven weeks old now, so...
-Yep, and they're still growing and still eating,
still doing what they should do as a seahorse.
And I suppose we have to bear in mind as well
that if they were giving birth in the wild,
not very many of them would survive, either.
No, they're lucky if 5% survive in the wild,
so it's very similar for captivity as well.
-I'm not sure if this male
pregnancy thing is going to catch on.
We've got some food, is that right?
-So what do seahorses eat?
They eat a mysid shrimp as adults,
so we have live mysid shrimp for them.
It's a bit of enrichment.
So you're just going to pour?
So the shrimp are going to be in the net now, are they?
Yeah, they're in the net.
-So if I give you that.
-Yeah, I'll hold that.
So if you just turn it upside down in the middle.
-There you go.
-There they go.
-See them all.
-So they're going to swim down to the bottom of the column.
And we'll watch the seahorses feed on them.
Is it true the seahorses aren't particularly good swimmers?
They're not. They do have a fin on their back and on the sides of their
heads but if they get caught in a really fast current they do just get
blown away, so their tail is their saviour.
Watching them anchor onto the grasses here.
-That does all the hard work for them.
-They are just...
-They really are.
-..just magical creatures.
Well, Georgia, thank you. Congratulations again.
-A really good job. Well done.
Sadly, that's all we've got time for on
today's programme, but here's what's coming up on the next Animal Park.
The baby marmosets are at risk from attack.
Absolutely terrifying for us.
We love these monkeys and we don't want anything to happen to them.
Jean finds a waterproof toy big enough for the Tigers.
Yeah, go on.
But will it get them in the pool?
Oh, is it going to go in?
Ooh, come on, girls.
And we'll be following five keepers
on the ultimate fact-finding mission to Kenya in Africa.
First wild lion footprint, yes.
The penguin keepers embark on their most ambitious project ever - an underwater feeding machine to encourage their birds to hunt for their breakfast.
Jean Johansson discovers how wolves like to bury their food so they can come back to eat it when they are hungry.
Ben Fogle and Kate Humble meet a new creature at the park - and it is the male, not the female, which gives birth to their young.
A hyrax is rushed to the vet for some emergency dental work, but having never treated one before, have the team bitten off more than they can chew?