Chester zoo is Britains most popular zoo, and this series showing the behind the scenes for the animals has been well liked, and has recently finished its 3rd series.
Penguins are always a crowd pleaser. People say they want one for a pet, but the keepers who spend time looking after these penguins say they wouldn’t in reality! The adults have a nasty bite. They are still wild animals at the end of the day. As one the keepers, Anne, puts it “They need to be a tough little nut”.
There are 4 penguin chicks in the training pool. They are all named after crisp brands and as they stand together the keepers have said they are like a band.
Frazzle is the lead singer, Munch (who we met last series had quite a difficult start in life) would be the drummer. Squares would be the bassist. I suppose that means Wotsit is the guitarist by default.
It is funny and cute seeing the penguin chicks watch the planes going over.
Munch featured prominently in the previous series, but the penguin chick who gets the spotlight this series is Squares.
Squares is described by the keepers as being “in his own little world” and “stands and watches the world go by”. The keepers were concerned that he wouldn’t survive in the
main pool as he wouldn’t be able to get enough fish to survive.
The penguin chicks have to go into the adult pool at some point. It’s a bit like leaving nursery to go to “big school”. The chicks are reluctant to go though, so after the chicks not going through the open gate of their own accord the keepers have to carry them out.
Squares is actually the first to jump into the adult pool! He’s also the first to be brave enough to go to meet the adults. They aren’t welcoming though, they bite him. The other three are corned by the adults. They probably see the newcomer chicks as intruders. They are accepted into the group eventually though.
The keepers get a bit of empty nest syndrome, or rather empty pool syndrome. They miss the chicks not being in the baby pool anymore, but it is right they have gone into the main pool, and there will be another generation of chicks there soon enough.
We get to see an aquarium, which looks gorgeous. Surprisingly, more than a third of the zoos inhabitants are fish!
The aquarium has been seeing an “alien invasion” of glass anemones which dwell at the bottom of the tank and hide in narrow spaces. They sting and eat seahorses and small fish. There is a chance they can take over the bottom of a tank completely, as they reproduce at a very fast rate. They look a bit like sci-fi aliens, with tentacle-like appendages that resemble gnarled tree roots.
The zoo has something which can battle this alien invasion though. A copper-banded butterfly fish called The Doctor! The copper-banded butterfly fish feed on sea anemones, and can find them in spaces the zoo keepers can’t. The keepers use a bucket to transport The Doctor from different tanks, and the remarkable thing is they don’t have to catch him, as he swims in willingly! He probably has figured out that he can get more food this way.
As you might have guessed, The Doctor is named after Doctor Who. Keeper Becky said that his bucket ended up being nicknamed The TARDIS, so it followed that he should
have the name The Doctor.
The zoo tries to exercise the animals mentally as well as physically. Most of the animal’s intelligence is focused on problem solving, specifically finding food and how to get it. They set the orangutans a challenge. How to get peanut butter from the inside of a hose pipe? Subis and her daughter Siska figure it out quickly – they use a stick of bamboo!
Boris the chimp is another resident of the zoo we have met in previous series. He was bought in a pet shop in 1966 and lived in a flat in New York for 3 years before coming to the zoo. He is about to turn 50. He had been the dominant male for much of his time in the zoo, but was since usurped by younger chimp Dylan. Boris is still quite protective of the females, though it’s primarily because he gets sexual favours in return!
Keeper Niall has a strong bond with Boris, having known him for 45 years. On Boris’ 50th birthday he gives him a specially made cake with a monkey’s head on top.
A new female, 23-year-old Vila, is introduced into the group. She is introduced to individuals first, but once in a group dynamic its a different ballpark. All newcomers start at the bottom in the hierarchy. Vila has to find a place in the group quickly, or she could be killed. She goes to Boris immediately. After Dylan has realised that a new female is in the group he gets a bunch of other male chimps to find her, and they look a bit like a mob of drunken thugs. Vila decides to hide up a tree.
Vila is able to move up the social hierarchy as she is sexually attractive to the males. However, that means the females don’t like her. They probably see her as competition.
Vila sets her sights on dominant male Dylan. He gets sexual favours, she gets protection. As Niall put it, Vila “knows which side her bread is buttered”. The dominant male gets first pick of the females, but that doesn’t mean the females are exclusive to him! Far from it. If he isn’t around or is distracted, the females will mate with lower ranking males.
One thing that will definitely raise Vila’s status in the group was if she was to have a baby.
Eko, a baby gibbon, is unlucky enough to be a gibbon who is afraid of heights, and gibbons spend most of their time high up in the trees. They have strong arms even from an early age which allow them to swing from great heights. Eko very much clings to his mum Tilu at first, though she and his dad Alvin teach him the tricks of the gibbon trade.
Eko has to gain more confidence so he is able to explore and become more independent. He does come on quickly, even swinging from one arm sometimes. However, there is a danger of overconfidence, as they can seriously hurt themselves if they fall from those heights. Eko at some point ends up with a sore looking graze on his chin. It’s a balancing act I suppose, and Eko himself seems to be getting it right by the end.
The zoo keepers say that different generations living together as families strengthens the bonds, but like any family, there are conflicts, particularly between younger and older members.
The Hi Way family of Asian elephants have been a big feature in all series of The Secret Life Of The Zoo so far.
The matriarch, Thi, oversees everything.
The calf Nandita wants to play all the time. Keeper James describes her as a “little princess” who “thinks she’s the boss”. Another elephant Sundara is pregnant. Sundara doesn’t get on well with Thi, so that means Sundara is at the bottom of the social ladder in the group. However, when Sundara’s calf is born the group include her more. Sundara’s mother Sithami gives support to her, and usually Sundara and Sithami don’t interact very much. Sithami is also pregnant herself.
When the elephants are about to give birth, the other elephants in the herd are around to help her, they are compared to midwives by James.
Sundara gives birth to a female calf named Indali, and soon after Sithami gives birth to a male calf named Aayu.
The new elephant calves are adorable, and look so tiny compared to the rest of herd.
Nandita seems jealous, as she is no longer be “the baby of the family”. She sneakily kicks Indali. The rest of the herd circle round Indali to protect her. When Aayu is born she leaves Indali alone and tries to kick Aayu, and again the herd try to protect him.
Eventually Nandita becomes a better big sister, and she’ll have to. In fact she’ll have to be more maternal, as in elephant herds all the females share the task of looking after the babies.
I did like the brief scene of the elephants picking up sheets of ice from the frozen over water and eating the ice!
The otter couple Wallace and Annie became parents to a litter of pups in series 2. Wallace is a very involved dad, while Annie “stuffs her face with fish!”. To be fair, it’s partly due to the fact she has to produce milk to feed the whole litter, so in a way she’s eating for all of them, and indeed she takes on more parenting duties after she no longer has to suckle the pups.
There is a runt of the litter, Bo. He is tiny and incredibly cute! But sadly runts have an uphill struggle from the start. As they are smaller and weaker than the rest, they get left behind. In the wild, runts rarely survive. Annie has 5 pups but only 4 teats, and poor Bo is always pushed aside by the others. There is enough fish to feed everyone, but the otters don’t share equally. It’s every otter for themselves. Even Annie won’t share any of her fish!
Wallace teaches the otter pups how to swim. Bo is a bit more reluctant, and he gets left behind after the other otters have gone home. He calls out, and the parents go out and look for him, with Wallace finding him and bringing him back to the nest. Bo becomes more assertive about getting the food he needs, and he catches up quickly, soon he’s the same size as his brothers and sisters!
In the wild otters use stones to crack shellfish, and they like to play with stones too. They once even used them to block up the water drinkers so they wouldn’t refill back up!
Meerkats also have clever ways of using tools. Keeper Kirsten said there was a hole in the wall between the meerkat enclosure and the porcupine enclosure. The meerkats were coming through the hole and stealing the porcupines food. Kirsten put a bung in the hole to block the entrance. Some meerkats poked their paws through the bottom of a door. This was just a distraction! While that was happening, the other meerkats pushed the bung out and were into the porcupine enclosure stealing their food!
The meerkats and porcupines are neighbours in the zoo and sometimes put in the same area. Roxie is, at 12, twice as old as porcupines live in the wild. However she appears lonely after losing her partner Hector, so the zoo wants to set her up on a date. It’s, as keeper Sam puts it, “a new toyboy”. Roxie is going to be a porcupine cougar, if that makes sense. The young male is named Hemming, and he has what looks a bit like a punk mohican style. Five keepers have to escort him to his new home, using brooms to move him along, as he keeps stopping to eat! The meerkats seem to do double takes when they see the new porcupine move in. Roxie and Hemming get together properly at night, as porcupines are mainly nocturnal. While this series has a lot of cute animals, it has to be said porcupines are very cute.
Bush dogs look very like little teddy bears, but they are another creature which people say they want as a pet that they wouldn’t in reality. Keeper Dayna says that the bush dogs stink, and another keeper Rachael notes that bush dogs are very social animals and like to live in big groups, it’d be cruel to keep one by itself.
Usually people imagine dog/wolf packs to be like a gang, and sometimes they are, but often they are more like a big family, with mum and dad as the alpha female and male, and the rest of the pack being their offspring. Bush dogs are usually monogamous, but Franco has a litter with Mana… AND a litter with Mana’s sister Japura! Not only that, but after that he gets Mana pregnant again and she has two more pups, meaning Franco is a father of TEN pups, 5 with each sister!
They don’t seem to mind though. In fact, the two sisters help each other out. Franco seems a bit of a deadbeat dad at first. It would normally be his job to show the kids where to get and find food, and to make sure everyone gets their fair share. As he is keeping his distance the pups are running amuck fighting over food, which basically means the older pups take everything leaving the younger pups with nothing. The keepers have to tie some of the food down so that won’t happen. Franco eventually takes on his fatherly duties, and to be fair to him he wasn’t lazing about when he was away, he was digging a new den for the pups.
There are also African painted dogs, which look a bit like hyenas. There are two brothers, Ivar and Ville. Ivar is bigger and the more dominant of the two, Ville is smaller and quieter. The zoo introduces them to two females, Kite and K’mana.
The zoo thought Ivar would be top dog, but it was in fact Ville, he clicked with Kite right away. Ivar didn’t seem interested in the females at all!
As they are paired up, Ville and Kite are now the alpha male and female, and this is violently enforced. Kite as the alpha female has all the pups, so with K’mana in season she attacks her. K’mana’s leg is wounded, and she has to go for medical treatment. With only Ivar left as the subordinate, he is attacked by Ville and Kite. K’mana returns, and she is ignored but not attacked. After he has mated, Ville is more welcoming of Ivar too. The hierarchy system and how it is enforced looks harsh, but that is how they live.
Anteaters are rarely seen by zoo customers, as anteaters tend to be most active during twilight. That’s “twilight” as in the time of the day between dawn and sunrise or between sunset and dusk, not “twilight” as in a certain franchise. But anteaters are popular with the keepers at Chester zoo. Kirsten gave a good description of their tongues, that they are like “a really long worm”.
While they aren’t technically supposed to have favourite individuals and have to stay objective and professional, it’s human nature to have favourites isn’t it? One anteater who was popular was Pedro, he had been hand-reared, and was always excited to see them bringing food. He had a partner, named Bliss, who was described as a bit more reserved and did her own thing.
However, Pedro became very ill. He hadn’t eaten for three days, despite his stomach rumbling suggesting he was hungry. Pedro also had sores all over his face. Ian, the vet diagnosed Pedro with cowpox, and found that the sores were also all over his tongue and down his larynx. That was why Pedro didn’t want to eat, but him not eating means that he would slowly starve to death. Ian decided to tube feed Pedro so his body would have more strength to fight the virus. But just as Pedro was being taken to the recovery room, he stopped breathing and went into cardiac arrest. Despite attempts at CPR by the keepers, Pedro died. This was very sad for us to view, and for the zoo staff, but mostly for Bliss.
She started sleeping in the corner Pedro used to sleep. Kirsten said it probably smells like him. Eventually Bliss found some comfort when the keepers put a small deer, a Pudu named Bert in. The two species are in the same area in the wild, so he was put as they thought they would get on, but even the keepers were surprised by how close Bert and Bliss got. Bliss looked after him, and behaved a bit like a mother, and she seemed much happier.
Tapirs have what looks like a funny shaped nose to us, but it is useful, such as like a snorkel when they are swimming. Tapirs also are easier for the zoo to carry out medical examinations on than most animals, as tapirs love being tickled and scratched and will roll over and go to sleep!
There was a tapir family, mum Jenny, dad Cuzco and two offspring Zathras and Inca. Jenny was the matriach of the family and was much loved by the zoo keepers. However,
her health has been getting worse for quite some time. She’s had difficulty breathing for years, and despite no apparent problems eating she was rapidly losing weight and muscle. Tests confirmed that her digestive system is no longer able to absorb any food.
This mean the zoo was faced with an incredibly difficult decision. They have to face up to putting an animal to sleep may be kinder than having them die a slow, painful death. But there is the question of shouldn’t it be allowed to live as long as it possibly can. However, there is also the question of whether people are thinking more for themselves when they say they don’t want to euthanise an animal when it might be suffering. The fact that we can’t really communicate with animals on that level means we can’t know for sure what they want, and they won’t know that they are about to die. It will be a vet who decides it ultimately. Keeper Sarah said that situations like that do make her think what is right and what is wrong.
Sarah did think that the other tapirs were unsettled, as they knew something was happening to Jenny, so Sarah decided that they should be able to watch Jenny peacefully passing away and for another keeper, Hayley, to be in there with them to look after them. It was one of the most poignant scenes in the whole series, and they said how much Jenny would be missed by her family and the zoo keepers.
One of the giraffes, Tula, gives birth. She had given birth to a stillborn calf before, so it is good news that this calf was born healthy. Tula starts kicking the calf away at first and doesn’t let it suckle, which is concerning. But she does allow it to suckle after 24 hours.
The calf is a male, and the keepers name him Murchison. He looks so tiny next to his mum, but when you see him next to the keepers he’s already almost as tall as them!
At first he tries standing up on his long, wobbly legs like Bambi, but a day later he is galloping happily around the enclosure. He took some time to venture outside the giraffe house, he kept going to exit and running back. Eventually he followed his mother out, and now loves going outside and again galloping around the paddock!
Okapis are an odd-looking creature that look almost like a hybrid animal. They resemble deers and have zebra-ish stripes on their legs. But their closest living relative is in fact the giraffe.
The zoo tries to set up okapis Stomp and K’tusha. Stomp is pretty clumsy though. His ossicone horn on his head is broken, and K’tusha ends up getting hurt. While K’tusha recovers, the zoo smooths down Stomp’s ossicone with sandpaper. The two okapis reunite and mate, but whether it leads to a conception is another matter.
Greater one-horned rhinos are found in India in the wild, and have skin which looks a bit like armour. There were three in the zoo, a couple Beni and Asha and their daughter Komala.
The keepers like to imagine what voices the rhinos would have if they were human. Keeper Claire said Asha would sound like “a posh lady from London” and Beni would be “laid back, one of the lads, common”. If they made a cartoon film about them it would probably be a bit like Lady And The Tramp with a romance that crosses social class barriers.
Their daughter Komala was described by Claire as a “stroppy teenager” who “eats all the food”. Komala was moved to another zoo, but obviously they can’t tell the animals what is happening and reassure them they are safe, so they have to try to calm them down. Komala paniced when the crate door closed, so the keepers tried to feed her. Surprisingly, it seems the crate being pulled in the air by a crane and moving about settles rhinos down a bit!
Asha didn’t seem to miss Komala at all and seemed glad her daughter had moved out!
There was a funny scene where Asha wanted Beni to chase her and work for the mating, and Beni was tired out quickly. Claire said he’d “let himself go a bit” and had “got a bit of a dad belly going on”. Then Beni made a noise “like a steam train”.
There are also Eastern black rhinos. Kifaru is popular with the keepers, because he is such a grumpy old
man rhino! They try to set him up with a younger female, Malindi, sort of a May-December romance. Rhinos have poor eyesight and communicate by smell… specifically, their dung! A male rhino can tell if a female is fertile from the smell of her dung!
Malindi is a big rhino, even bigger than Kifaru. Her size is a bit of a hurdle for him to begin with as he has to mount her, but it is even more difficult as he has arthritic back legs. After been given some hay, and paracetamol for pain relief, Kifaru and Malindi are brought together again. She wants to make him work for it and wants to be chased, but Kifaru succeeds in mating with her in the end.
Rhino beetles aren’t as big as actual rhinos of course, but they are named because the male rhino beetle has horns rather like a rhino. That said, I think seeing them fighting they seem more like charging bulls. For their size, rhino beetles are very strong. Keeper Tamas calls them “the heavy lifting champions of the beetle world”. The narration notes that they can lift 100 times their own body weight, which would be like a human man lifting an eight tonne truck!
They are quite impressive in appearance too, their armour is very shiny, looks like a brand new car. The zoo introduces a new female rhino beetle, Alice. The females are smaller and less equipped. But the introduction of a female means the males will compete for her.
In the blue corner is Sheldon, who unfortunately has deformed wings and hasn’t been able to mate with any of the zoos females as of yet.
In the red corner is Atlas, the zoo’s mighty rhino beetle superstud who has mated with all the zoos females.
Surprisingly in this battle, the underdog triumphs! The fight ends with Sheldon picking up Atlas and throwing him off the branch, so Sheldon is the one who gets to mate with Alice.
Natasha the orchid mantis looks like the petals of a pretty white and pink flower. This appearance is deceptive. It’s merely a disguise orchid mantis use to make themselves look like a flower to catch unsuspecting insects and eat them alive. What she really likes to eat though are male orchid mantis! They are much smaller than the female, and Natasha has eaten ALL the male mantis in the zoo, except Bruce.
The mating ritual is quite peculiar. The male has to jump on the female’s back, without her eating him. Then he taps her on the back a few times which seems to be a bit like foreplay. Then they mate, and the male can go on for a long time. A few hours is a short time for them! They can go for days, it’s been reported of one case where the mating went on for over a fortnight! When the male leaves, again he has to try to escape before the female eats him. Sometimes she bites his head off, and the body is still there still “doing the deed” as keeper Heather put it.
Natasha and Bruce were at it for a day and two hours, and the keepers decided to remove Bruce using some tweezers. Natasha wasn’t best pleased, but soon she gave birth to 16 nymphs, which are tiny red and black and sort of ugly-cute.
Ibis look a bit like a vulture, but with more elaborate plumage and long, thin beaks. They were considered sacred to the ancient Egyptians and the wisdom god Thoth was often depicted as having the head of an ibis. Nowadays though they are nearly extinct. Chester zoo is part of a breeding programme to breed them and release them back into the wild in Spain.
One of the newborn chicks, Britney, is drastically underweight, so the keepers decide to hand rear her. As bird chicks imprint, there is a risk of them identifying too much with humans and being unable to survive in the wild, but the zoo would rather take that risk and try to save a chick’s life than having it perish, especially as the species is endangered. Britney responds well, and bonds with another hand reared chick, Grant. When they are fully grown, Britney and Grant are to be taken to Spain and released. They are difficult for the keepers to catch, but the keepers are quite pleased, as that shows they haven’t imprinted too much and will probably be able to cope with the wild better.
Flamingos in the zoo live a couple of decades longer than they would in the wild. The zoo flamingo population is huge! Despite that, their fertility isn’t the best, in fact it’s only 50% successful. If flamingos were a human, chances are they’d be someone who was pretty but dumb. They fight over nest sites, and while they do that the eggs, the whole point of nesting, get left with no warmth, roll away into the water or are broken. The keepers choose to remove the eggs and artificially incubate them, replacing it with a painted wooden egg. Apparently the flamingos can’t tell the difference! Then, when the chick is ready to hatch, they replace the fake egg with the real one. Sometimes the chicks drown in heavy rainstorms, and in this episode they have to rescue one chick which is swimming in the wrong direction away from the enclosure.
Cassowaries look like something from the time of the dinosaurs, and their appearance is probably more accurate to what dinosaurs actually looked like than many popular film and TV depictions. They have bright blue and red face and neck, sharp claws and a casque on top of their head.
The zoo is hoping to breed two cassowaries, Timika the female and Asmat the male. With cassowaries, unusually it is the male who sits on the nest and incubates the eggs. The female simply lays the eggs and then leaves never to see them again! She’s a deadbeat mum. As the males do the incubating, therefore it is the males that have brooding instincts. The zoo puts some fake eggs hoping it will awake those instincts in Asmat. At first they worry that he’s trying to eat them, but he begins nudging the eggs underneath him so he can sit on them. They have to get him from the eggs to remove them. Keeper Zoe uses grapes to get Asmat out. (She says he’s probably thinking something like “Grapes? Eggs? Grapes? Eggs?”).
Timika makes the first move in mating, but Asmat is a virgin and has no idea how to go about it. Seriously, he tried to mate with her from the side and from her head! He gets there eventually though.
Komodo dragons are dangerous creatures and known for attacking people in their native habitat. But one of the zoo’s residents, Mezcal, is very timid, in fact she’s too nervous to even venture outside! She came to Chester from a zoo in Los Angeles. One of the keepers, Ben, says that Mezcal tried to hide in his pocket once despite being four foot long!
The keepers try to coax her out of her comfort zone with food. One keeper, Isolde, offers her guinea pigs and gerbils held by giant tweezers, which is surreal to see. They decide to leave a chicken carcass outside. Komodo dragons can smell scents from 5 miles away with their tongues, so Mezcal will detect it. But to make sure, the keepers leave a trail of fish guts, blood and egg yolk. Mezcal goes outside and dives head first into the chicken carcass, ripping the guts out. It may not seem like a gourmet dinner to us, but she likes it.
Bornean river turtle Raja tried to mate with a female… who turned out to be a male! He shares his enclosure with two crocodiles, Frank and Frankie. (Are these the same crocodiles that were called Francois and Francoise in series one?). Anyway, the crocodiles aren’t a threat to Raja, as they like to eat frogs and fish, not turtles. The zoo introduces two new female turtles from Holland, Greta, with a wobbly shell, and Gerda, with a smooth shell. Gerda approaches Raja and he mates with her, but she eventually tries to leave… but is still attached to him and he swims in opposite direction! Neither female seems interested in Raja at the moment, but the zoo still hopes breeding can happen one day.
The zoo gives the chameleon’s water by spraying a hose over the plants and the chameleons will drink droplets of water, like they do in the wild.
Mr. Parsons the chameleon is to be set up with another chameleon, Daphne, from a zoo in Paris. Mr. Parson’s ex is actually Daphne’s sister, but he waited too long to make a move on her. He slowly moved down the branch every day for a week, and by the time he got down she dropped off the branch and died soon after! He comes on a little too fast and too strong to Daphne though, but the keepers think she’ll give him another chance.
Golden mantella frogs are poisnous and weird-looking creatures. They are very small, are orange and have black eyes. The males ‘sing’ to attact females, but as that hasn’t been happening in the zoo lately, five of the males are selected to be given singing lessons and named after members of Take That. Well, not so much singing lessons, they are going to be played recordings of male golden mantella frogs in hope it will stimulate them to compete. It seems to work, as there are now tadpoles, so some mating has occured.
Onagers are a sort of wild donkey found only in Iran. They are highly endangered, and known for being short-tempered.
One of the most fiery in the zoo is Apple, who is fiercely protective of her foal, Korki. He is… not so fiery, described by keeper Cycy as a “mummy’s boy”.
Apple has an injury in her hoof. The zoo will have to use anesthetic, as unlike an ordinary horse which will accept humans examining them, onagers won’t, and can attack. The hoof is infected, so they drain it and bandage it back up. When Apple comes round, the poor thing is shaky on her legs to begin with. She became more settled when she saw Korki. She recovers quickly, and Korki now looks after her.
The zoo has a mother and daughter pair of cheetahs. The mother is called Kinky Tail and the daughter is called Safi. Keeper Dayna says Kinky Tail is a favourite animal of hers, describing her as “regal” and “graceful”.
Cheetahs have the distinction of being the fastest land animal in the world, but they have some difficulties too. Strangely, it’s harder for them to find food which is directly put in front of them. Their vision is based on movement, and their sense of smell is poor. Perhaps instinct is for them to hunt and chase prey, so even though it’s much easier to eat some meat that is just lying there, it is out of their comfort zone.
Cheetahs have a lot of health problems too. Because they have so little variation compared to other species they are more vulnerable to disease and genetic defects.
Kinky Tail is taken ill and is unable to keep her food down. The zoo sends her to the vets. Obviously, they have no way of telling her or her daughter that what they are doing is to look after her health, so Kinky Tail gets a bit angry with being moved in a crate, so unfortunately the keepers have to deal with a bit of a broken bond.
It can be dangerous for the keepers too. They have to use anesthetic, as a cheetah is a large animal and could cause some serious damage if gets scared and attacks.
It turns out Kinky Tail has a thickened stomach, a common problem with cheetahs, but one that can be treated.
There are two jaguars. They both have beautiful coats. A male, Napo, who has a yellow and white coat with black patches, and Goshi, a female who is all black. She is the sort of creature which people will call a panther, but as Dayna pointed out contrary to popular belief panthers aren’t a separate species. “Panther” is just a generic term, the only difference is between Napo and Goshi is colour, and in sunlight you can see Goshi has the same pattern as Napo.
The zoo has to be careful when and how many they breed with jaguars, if other zoos have enough room for them. Napo has a contraceptive device fitted in which lowers his sperm production, but they are waiting for it to wear off as now is the right time for Napo and Goshi to mate. With the contraceptive device, Napo is quite lazy and docile. When the contraceptive wears off he struts more, and his testicles get bigger. He still doesn’t seem as up for it as Goshi is though, however they have at least attempted mating since.
In this series of The Secret Life Of The Zoo it was notable that the vet Ian featured more. There was more surgery this series, and more scientific information such as animal intelligence. There was more shown on how harsh and often horrible the different animal societies look to us, as they are so different from what would be acceptable in human society. But we still got to meet animals and personify them to relate their experiences to our own. There were probably more comical moments this series as well, so series 3 of The Secret Life Of The Zoo expanded its focus rather than changed.