Settle back for three weeks of tears and triumphs courtesy of the wonderful inhabitants of Longleat as Ben Fogle, Kate Humble and Jean Johansson return once more to follow the daily lives of the safari park’s keepers and the animals in their care.
First up, worries grow as elusive cheetah Wilma looks like she is about to give birth, while the Humboldt penguin colony gets some new members.
Elsewhere, as some cute baby meerkats get a weigh-in, there are tasty fruit ice lollies on offer for veteran elephant Anne to help her cool down in the Summer sun, while the tigers happily devour some ices flavoured with fish and blood!
TV Times caught up with Kate, 49, and Ben, 44, during filming to ask them about this – their 13th series.
‘I first filmed [BBC1 documentary] Lion Country here in 1998,’ says Kate. ‘A few years ago Longleat got a bit commercial but now it feels like the magic is back. It’s like a lovely extended family and you see the pride the keepers have in looking after the animals, so it has been a real joy this year.
‘So much conservation work goes on here too, as well as it being a lovely place to get your windscreen wipers ripped off by the monkeys on the safari!’
‘Longleat’s still a great mix of English eccentricity with a passion for animals,’ adds Ben. ‘All the keepers are selfless. If you’ve got a hangover, those animals won’t wait for you, so you have to turn up with this real love for the job.
‘That’s why many of the keepers are the same faces we met when we started Animal Park nearly 20 years ago,’ he says.
‘Some keepers say they grew up watching us and that makes me feel old!’ Kate groans.