Episode 11/20

The documentary strand profiling life at one of Britain’s busiest zoos continues. Konnie Huq presents the series from Colchester Zoo, where 2,500 animals live under the care of a dedicated team of keepers.

Colchester Zoo boasts 270 different species and plays host to more than half a million visitors every year. The zoo’s team is involved in pioneering research and is at the forefront of some exciting conservation projects, working to ensure the survival of some of the rarest animals on the planet.

Supported by zoo and wildlife vet John Lewis, curators Clive Barwick and Sarah Forsyth head up a team of 60 keepers – all experts in their field with a passion for animal welfare to match.

When a giant African spurred tortoise develops a leg problem on Monday, the team is left with no option but to operate. Elsewhere, Katavi the hand- reared cheetah cub accompanies zoo director Anthony to work, and the elephants are treated to a jumbo ice lolly!

In Tuesday’s show, the keepers face an emergency when a rare cat has a seizure; it is training day for some snappy crocodiles; and Colchester’s cheetahs get to play with a highly unusual ball of wool.

On Wednesday, an army of keepers is required to vaccinate an entire section of the zoo, but it will not be an easy task – weighing in at 12 stone, Merlin the Rocky Mountain goat will do all he can to avoid the needle. Elsewhere, night cameras are installed to capture fascinating footage of one of Colchester’s most elusive characters.

It is a busy day at the sea lion pool on Thursday as the team prepares for a new display for the summer season. There is only one problem – the sea lions seem determined to sabotage the rehearsals! Meanwhile, Katavi is given her inoculations, and troop leader Dume is put through his paces at the mandrill enclosure.

Friday’s instalment sees the keepers gather at Colchester’s aardvark burrow for a new arrival. At the mandrill enclosure, the veterinary team is called in when Dume develops a bad tooth. Elsewhere, the keepers shoot intimate footage of some baby crowned crane chicks moments after they hatch.

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