The Secret Life of the Zoo

The Secret Life of the Zoo

Series 7 - Episode 5



Several relationships are in crisis at Chester Zoo this week. A spectacled bear and her adolescent daughter aren’t speaking, and snacks might be the solution. Meanwhile, a blue morpho butterfly waits patiently for a male suitor to pluck up the courage to approach, and booze might be the answer: partially fermented fruit gives nervous insects a nudge.

The big story follows Icana the giant otter, who’s been helped through a bereavement by her partner Diego. This has pushed the relationship into sexless companionship, which is cute but not much use for propagating the species. So out goes Diego and in comes a new male. Will it work? The early signs, and indeed smells, are promising.


Documentary using close-up camera technology to reveal the behaviour of the animals at Chester Zoo. Giant otter couple Diego and Icana are the best of friends but have never mated, so keepers hope a new male will have what it takes to relight Icana's fire. Blue morpho butterflies Macuna and Peanut also need to mate, but when their diet of fruit ferments and turns to alcohol, their drunken behaviour might dash Chester's hopes of producing the next generation of butterflies. Cameras also follow the relationship between mum-and-daughter Andrean bears Lima and Madidi, who are fighting over food and personal space. Can the youngster learn to respect her elder?

Cast & Crew

Executive Producer Alex Sutherland
Executive Producer Alistair Pegg
Executive Producer Edmund Coulthard
Series Producer Pip Banyard
Documentary Nature