The Secret Life of the Zoo

The Secret Life of the Zoo

Series 2 - Episode 4



For me, the best moment in this episode is when we cut to the primate enclosure, where a buffy-headed capuchin (a cheeky monkey, basically) is jumping up and hurling himself at the camera. It’s the kind of behaviour you can only capture with cameras that are fixed around enclosures, filming constantly, but this series is great at little incidental pleasures like that.

The theme is motherhood and the most poignant strand involves the Sumatran tigers. Mum Kirana – whose eyes, as a keeper says, “look into your soul” – have two of her 18-month-old adolescent cubs removed to go to other zoos. Her despondent body language, as she checks they’re not hiding somewhere around the place, is heartbreaking.


Sumatran tiger Kirana faces losing its two cubs, who are fully grown and being moved to other zoos to start families of their own. Indonesian dwarf buffalo Oana, one of Chester's most sensitive animals, gives birth - only for the new mum's anxiety to threaten the calf's health.

Cast & Crew

Executive Producer Alistair Pegg
Executive Producer Edmund Coulthard
Executive Producer Sarah Spencer
Series Producer Martin Hicks
Documentary Nature