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Summer 2023: Episode 2



We follow Longleat’s keepers on a trip to Australia, with some astonishing news with global implications. \n\nLongleat is home to the only public southern koala breeding programme outside Australia, and after a few years of no breeding success, in 2022 we revealed baby Hazel – the first southern koala joey to be born in Europe. She’s thriving, and this year we are welcoming another member of the family. But is it a boy or a girl? Either way, it makes them another European first and an important new bloodline in international koala conservation. But ensuring their health is an ongoing challenge for the keepers – how do you weigh a wriggly joey? We then join two of the keepers as they head down under to visit the park’s partners in the koala breeding programme in Australia – home to the park’s original five koalas. It’s a chance to learn even more about koala care, identify potential health issues and share knowledge face to face. It’s also an opportunity for the keepers to see this beloved species in their homeland. But what will the keepers take home from this experience?\n\nOn the other side of the park, the keepers are facing a massive problem - one of their wolves is trying to outwit them and get through the safety gates. His worrying behaviour is not a big surprise, as the wolf pack has recently undergone a major upheaval with the tragic loss of pack leaders... their parents. But the keepers have to keep him safe, so how do you stop a wolf from escaping? The keepers have lots of ideas up their sleeves, but will any work? First is to give them a morning coffee. They have an acute sense of smell – and do not like the smell of coffee grounds. So, will the wolves avoid the gate when it’s sprinkled with the leftovers from a cafetiere? \n\nZoologist Megan McCubbin is also lending a hand. She has a plan to distract the wolves using a very different smell whilst helping another species get ready for the summer. She’s with the park’s sheep shearer as he gives the farmyard residents their summer trim. Her plan is then to pack up the wool and give it to the wolves. The wolves react to the wool in a fascinating display of behaviour, and Megan and the keeper see the wolves unite. But will it be enough to distract from attempting to breakout?\n\nElsewhere, Kate is getting the runaround from a pack of pygmy goats as she joins the park’s vet on his weekly rounds. How do you catch a goat who’s designed to run around craggy mountains? Once caught, she helps the vet as he diagnoses an irritating condition and delivers the medication. Ben finds out more about the changes in wolf wood and what the keepers have learned from animals who have tried to escape in the past. \n\nWildlife photographer Hamza Yassin is back to help the keepers with an ongoing challenge - to repeat his monitoring of the native birds around the park’s lake. Armed with a set of binoculars, a notepad and pen and his camera, how many can he spot in an hour? And what will his results mean for the health of the park’s native species?\n

Source: BBC 2

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