The Secret Life of the Zoo

The Secret Life of the Zoo

Series 5 - Episode 3



New lives start at Chester Zoo in a charming episode largely devoted to mums and babies. Sarikei is a fantastically lugubrious female orangutan who, at 34, is pregnant. Her baby Tombol is as achingly cute as you’d expect a baby orangutan to be, particularly when he pesters two nearby gibbons. But they don’t seem to mind and an affecting bond of friendship forms between them.

In the giraffe enclosure, Orla is about to give birth and it’s a remarkable sight as her huge baby (newborn giraffes are five feet long) hangs down, ready to flop on to straw six or seven feet below her (don’t panic, it’s meant to, the fall breaks the umbilical cord).


Pregnant giraffe Orla goes into labour, but the keepers must watch from the sidelines due to the risks involved during the birth. Baby Bornean orang-utan Tombol tries his luck with the gibbons as he heads out and explores his new habitat. Elsewhere, northern bald ibis chick Professor X is proving too confident for his own good, and when it is time to release him into the adult habitat he gets into troubled waters and suffers a nasty head injury, so the vets have to work hard to help him pull through.

Cast & Crew

Director Myles Jenks
Executive Producer Tanya Winston
Producer Myles Jenks
Series Producer Pip Banyard
Documentary Nature