(16/20)

The documentary strand profiling life at one of Britain’s busiest zoos concludes this week. This time around, Zoo Days is presented by Konnie Huq and comes from Colchester Zoo in Essex.

Every day, Konnie takes viewers behind the scenes at the zoo, providing privileged access to over 2,500 animals and the dedicated team of 60 keepers that looks after them.

Occupying an area of 60 acres in the Essex countryside, Colchester Zoo attracts more than half a million visitors every year, but is run as a family business – a concept that gives the zoo a unique, friendly atmosphere. The staff at the zoo are full of character and passionate about their work.

For the 60 curators, keepers and vets at Colchester, working at the zoo could never be described as routine. Caring for elephants, tigers, lions, rhinos, chimps and giraffes, no two jobs are ever the same. On one day, staff might be required to encourage endangered species to breed, while the next might see them having to support their animals through dangerous medical operations.

Throughout the series, viewers have met such characters as Zola, the African elephant who is carrying the hopes of the whole zoo on her shoulders; a desperately fragile baby aardvark; and Jez, the zoo’s innovative new animal trainer.

In Monday’s show, baby elephant Jambo arrives at his new home – a state-of-the-art zoo in Spain. Back in Colchester, Veri the binturong finds her peace and quiet disturbed by the arrival of a new male partner; and new keeper Hayley’s first big day in charge of the sea lions is getting closer, but will she be ready in time?

In Tuesday’s programme, there are serious doubts about the future of the tiger cubs, presenting zoo director Anthony with some tough decisions. Elsewhere, new keeper Adam faces his first major challenge when Ed the giraffe urgently needs medicine; and spring brings some welcome new arrivals to the zoo.

The alarm is raised at the tiger house on Wednesday, after developments with pregnant mum-to-be Anoushka. And a two-tonne tearaway rhino gives the whole team the run-around.

In Thursday’s instalment, it is crunch time at the tiger house as Sarah discovers the fate of the cubs; keeper Richard provides an ants-eye view of the world; and Malaika the baboon gets lippy.

In the last episode of the series on Friday, zoo director Anthony looks to the future for Zola, the African elephant with the troubled past; it is Hayley’s first public display in charge of the sea lions; and Jez’s training with Rajang moves on to a whole new level.

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