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Summer 2023: Episode 12



Visitors to the Africa Reserve at Longleat enjoy an idyllic scene of zebra, giraffe and ostrich that could rival the African savannah. These amazing views are in fact the culmination of years and years of careful planning and breeding to retain animals’ bloodlines to form a back-up, should the worst happen to the wild population. We discover the length keepers go to when matchmaking these vital pairings. \n\nThere has been a new arrival at the park - Enzi, a male fennec fox. He is going to join a female called Zuri, but the keepers are keeping a lid on their excitement for now because poor Zuri has been unlucky in love. A couple of summers ago, things were looking great for Zuri and her partner Anthony, but their happiness didn’t last long. Zuri’s first litter of cubs died, and a few months ago Anthony also died. These cute creatures mate for life in their north African homelands, so Zuri took the loss of her mate hard, but this summer the keepers are determined to give this story the fairy-tale ending it deserves. Initially, all they observe is Enzi being more interested in his stomach than Zuri, so they rig cameras to find out what happens after dark. The footage reveals some good interactions, which means they can move ahead with phase two - a makeover to transform their enclosure into a love nest. Will it do the trick? \n\nAnother vital breeding programme is taking a big step forward, thanks to the arrival of a magnificent species of antelope. In the wild, the scimitar-horned oryx has been officially extinct for over 20 years, so captive collections are of vital importance, both for education and also should attempts be made to reintroduce them into the wild. So, it’s with great excitement that the keepers are welcoming a new male called Bailish. Keepers from across the park join forces as they attempt to coax Bailish and his pair of lethal four-foot-long horns out of his trailer – but what do they do when he doesn’t want to get out? \n\nWildlife cameraman Hamza Yassin loves a challenge, which is why he is taking on Longleat’s legendary Animal Park keeper Ian Turner in a photography competition. Ian has been taking thousands of photos of the animals at the park, and many of them capture their funny side. How will Hamza get on when he attempts to coax some amusing play out of the lions? \n\nProviding fresh leaves and branches for the African colobus monkeys to eat in the winter months is always a challenge. Zoologist Megan McCubbin helps with an experiment that aims to provide fresh food all year round, but what will the monkeys make of it?

Source: BBC 2

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