top of page

Animal Park | Preview (BBC One)

Kate Humble and Ben Fogle return to Longleat Safari Park for a glorious summer series following the remarkable lives of the exotic animals and the keepers committed to helping them.

This series, the team are getting closer to the animals than ever before, using incredible technology and filming from exclusive, behind-the-scenes locations. These unique perspectives will help show how far the keepers go when caring for their animals.

In this episode, the life of one of the park’s precious Amur tigers hangs in the balance. Animal Park has been following the lives of Rusty and his sister Yuki. Ever since they were born in the park over three years ago, we’ve followed their every step, and now they are fully grown.

This means Rusty is old enough to become a dad as part of an international endangered species breeding programme. However, that means he has to leave the park to a new home.

Before he can go, the keepers and vet team have to give him a thorough health check, which includes a blood test. But Rusty will need to be sedated, which is a risky procedure for tigers, and especially so for Rusty who has never had an anaesthetic before.

We see the keeper deliver a dart-filled sedative, and the vet checks to see if the dangerous tiger is fully sedated. When certain, the team get to work on the crucial health check – but their fears are quickly realised as Rusty’s heart stops beating – and the team have to react fast. Our cameras don’t miss a moment.

On the other side of the park, another keeper has her hands full – with a trio of ferrets. She has a challenge of a very different kind to ensure the health of these animals. The ferrets need to lose some of their winter weight.

The first challenge to be overcome – how do you weigh a hyperactive ferret who just wants to look and run at everything? Then as every weight loss guru knows – you have to come up with a fitness plan. First step? Get your steps in! The ferrets are given a walking regime – but is it a walk in the park for the keeper? The next challenge increases the burn.

It's a sequence of tunnels – the ferrets love burrowing – so we get to see up close how these incredible members of the weasel family twist and bend their bodies through small spaces. The final challenge for the ferret fat fighters is an obstacle course that encourages the animals to forage.

The ferrets are challenged with a box full of bamboo to twist their bodies around, another filled with straw enriched by the smell of monkeys, and one more layered with towels to burrow through. We capture every twist and turn... but the important question – has the keeper encouraged them to lose weight?

Elsewhere, Kate is getting up close with the park’s wonderful collection of southern white rhinos. Whilst discussing the crucial breeding programme and the part the park has played in it, Kate also helps administer an important treatment to help the rhino in the summer. It’s also a great chance to see these wonderful animals in detail. Ben hears how the team are coping in the aftermath of the tiger vet procedure and what checks they carry out to find out if an animal has recovered.

Wildlife photographer Hamza Yassin, his camera and powerful zoom lens are also back for another series. Teamed with his knowledge of animal behaviour from filming all over the world means he can often capture moments that would be impossible for others to see. %he keepers have given him a big challenge.

The African warthog should have razor-sharp tusks, but the keepers are worried that he’s damaged or lost one of them. If the tooth has been damaged – it could be infected and it might need to be extracted. Can Hamza answer their question?

Zoologist Megan McCubbin is also back to find out how the keepers in the park keep their animals entertained and in great condition. A former animal keeper herself, Megan loves getting stuck in, and in this programme, she has an incredible new enrichment for the critically endangered Cuban crocodiles.

In their natural habitat, they would live through the rainy season – so today Megan and the keepers are trying to replicate that. But how will the crocs react to something they’ve never experienced before... a shower?

Animal Park returns Monday 7th August on BBC One.


bottom of page