Preview: The Secret Life of the Zoo

Indali - The Secret Life of the Zoo ep 1.

The Secret Life of the Zoo is back. Prepare to be charmed, intrigued and entertained as cutting-edge cameras once again lead viewers into the places that Chester Zoo’s visitors never get to see.

In this first episode, the Asian elephants are still recovering from the devastating deaths of two calves who contracted a herpes virus last year. Thanks to constant monitoring, keepers and vets make an early diagnosis when the youngest remaining calf, two-year-old Indali, tests positive for the same virus. In a world first, they embark on a treatment that could be her only chance of survival – and could offer hope for the species globally.

The zoo’s Humboldt penguin colony has 16 new members, including feisty female Almond and her chunky mate Walnut. But as the new couple go house-hunting, an unwelcome intruder is eyeing up their turf.

Ring-tailed lemur Dog is the only male in his well-established matriarchal tribe, but when a bachelor group of five lively red ruff lemurs move in, his days as top dog may be numbered.

And in the zoo’s aquarium, a breeding phenomenon plays out among the extraordinary cardinal fish. The gender tables are turned, with the males taking charge of incubating the eggs and carrying the fry in their mouths. Meek Richard is carrying his partner Hyacinth’s eggs as they grow ever bigger. But as the shoal hatches he struggles to keep them safe from his circling, cannibalistic neighbours.

The Secret Life of the Zoo – Thursday at 8.00pm on Channel 4.