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Summer 2023: Episode 8



At Longleat, =we celebrate a lake that is home to Californian sealions, African hippos and native beavers, with gorillas and monkeys living on its banks - surely the wildest stretch of water anywhere in the world!\n\n\nWildlife cameraman Hamza Yassin is in his element today when he is granted special access to the park after the visitors have gone home, so that he can give us a unique perspective on ‘half-mile’ lake. As the house archivist explains, the origins of this man-made lake date back to the 17th century, so when Hamza trains his lens on the native species that call it home, alongside the exotic ones, it is like looking back in time. But it’s the latest technology that gives us the most extraordinary images, as Hamza carefully flies his drone over this ancient stretch of water to give us a bird’s-eye view of surely one of the most idyllic corners of the English countryside.\n\n\nKate joins the vets as they head up to the cheetah house to check on Wilma, one of the great success stories at the park. Cheetahs are famously the world’s fastest land mammal, but they are also considered vulnerable to extinction partly due to a lack of genetic diversity that has resulted in a poor success rate for live births. Against the odds however, Wilma has been an astonishing mother raising multiple cubs, many of which have gone on to be parents to other cheetahs, adding substantially to the worldwide breeding programme. So, it’s a desperate blow when Kate and the team discover that 14-year-old Wilma’s kidneys are functioning poorly. The kidney disease is irreversible, so now the team must find ways for Wilma to live out her days in the most comfortable way as they also celebrate her extraordinary life.\n\n\nZoologist Megan McCubbin has two missions today with a pair of wildly different creatures. First, she checks in on Chico the slow-moving sloth. It’s vital the keepers recreate the conditions where their animals live in the wild, and in the case of Chico, that’s a hot and wet environment. The heat is easily controlled, but today the moisture is coming in the form of a spray gun. What will Chico make of it? In contrast, she also pays a visit to the red-handed tamarins, one of the fastest moving monkeys at the park. Research says that some primates can identify themselves in a mirror – but will they stop still for long enough to check themselves out?

Source: BBC 2

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