17th –21st November 2008

The documentary series following daily life at Britain’s biggest zoo continues this week.
Chester Zoo is home to 7,000 animals from 400 species and is visited by more than a million people each year. The zoo has some of the most experienced keepers in the business, working alongside a full-time veterinary team with a fully equipped animal hospital on-site.

With so many animals in residence, it comes as no surprise that a new baby is born at the zoo nearly every day. Keepers and their young charges often develop close bonds, as is the case with Rafters, a giraffe who has been hand-reared since birth. It is all in a day’s work for the vets and nurses based at the zoo’s Animal Health Centre –who sometimes admit to knowing more about the animals in their care than members of their own family. The series is narrated by actress Sarah Lancashire.

On Monday, vet James Chatterton must operate on one of the zoo’s big cats. But with this ferocious feline, it is not going to be a straightforward task. Elsewhere, Chester’s baby penguins have outgrown their nesting boxes.

In Tuesday’s instalment, a giant bat has a flying accident and is given the once-over by James to make sure no serious damage has been done. Meanwhile, black rhinos Ema and Magardi continue their clumsy courtship.

Wednesday is a big day, as two new cheetahs arrive at the zoo. Also in this edition, a rare barbirusa piglet wins another admirer.

On Thursday, the keepers are thrilled to see an old face back at the zoo. Sibu the orang-utan has been away for several years doing the rounds of other wildlife parks. This happy reunion is tainted with sadness, however, as Margaret the baby giraffe falls ill.

In Friday’s episode, vet Steve Unwin is operating on Mac the zebra –but first he has to administer anaesthetic. And the cheetahs explore their new home, much to the amusement of both keepers and visitors.

About the author

  • BBC One
  • BBC Two
  • BBC Three
  • ITV1
  • ITV2
  • 4
  • E4
  • Film4
  • More4
  • Five
  • Fiver
  • Sky1