Episode 6/20

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.

On Monday, the meerkats start their week with a hearty breakfast of boiled eggs. The keepers join Babyface the harbour seal in his pool when an underwater filter becomes blocked. And senior keeper Kelly gets a surprise when she discovers that Tallulah the timber wolf has given birth to six cubs.

In Tuesday’s instalment, Konnie catches up with Katavi the hand-reared cheetah cub as he takes his first steps outdoors. Elsewhere, new arrival Century the giraffe faces his biggest challenge yet when he comes face to face with Colchester’s rhinos.

Wednesday’s programme sees senior keeper Richard attempt an unusual experiment involving a melon, a tea bag and eight million ants. Meanwhile, Century is unveiled to the waiting public and Milly the mandrill introduces keepers to her new baby.

It is crunch time in the rhino house on Thursday. After months of hard work, the team finally discovers whether white rhino Cynthia is pregnant. If she is, Colchester Zoo could soon be celebrating the arrival of the first rhino ever born through artificial insemination in the UK.

Friday’s instalment finds the keepers enjoying a late Christmas celebration as Chaos the reindeer arrives. Chaos has never been handled before so could prove quite a challenge. Elsewhere, rare Amur tigers Igor and Anoushka take on the keepers in a tug of war; and Katavi the hand-reared cheetah comes face to face with zoo director Anthony’s dogs.

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