They said it was impossible, but now there’s a new show with the potential to actually make Rebecca look forward to Mondays…
Mondays are often the most dreaded day of the week, though BBC Scotland has arguably tried to change this perspective by offering up a new show in the evening slot – Inside the Zoo.
Following the day-to-day lives of the zookeepers at both Edinburgh Zoo and Highland Wildlife Park, over the next few weeks we get to see the pandas, wolves, penguins and rhinos from the comfort of our own living rooms – and it’s certainly something to look forward to.
Having grown up in Edinburgh but outgrown my child membership card, I know all too well how important the penguins are to the city’s zoo.
It started with just the penguins in 1919 (hence the zoo’s logo) and was the first and only penguin conservation programme in the world. There was even a time when all the penguins would parade round the main path of the zoo surrounded by their adoring fans, before heading back into their enclosure for lunch.
If you’ve visited the zoo in recent years, you’ll have found that the penguins have sussed out the fact they still get fed even if they don’t parade (penguins after my own heart – maximum food consumption with very little effort) and it’s maybe only one or two who love the limelight that still go on the parade.
But on Monday we were allowed to see behind the facade and learn more about the individual lives of the penguins, including 15-year-old Fingal who was suffering from an infection. It was, at the same time, heart-breaking and heart-warming seeing other penguins singing to Fingal to try to make him feel better and seeing his slow demise.
In other parts of the programme we learned more about the wolf pack at Highland Wildlife Park and how almost all deaths by wolves are caused by those in conservation areas and not in the wild.
When two keepers have to go into the enclosure to mend one of the platforms, they have to feel confident, as wolves can pick up on fear and nervous energy.
One of the things that both of these zoos are good at is the conservation of animals that are endangered in the wild, such as Edinburgh’s sun bears, the rhinos, the dik-diks and Philip the guinea fowl who doesn’t like Karen the keeper.
Staff even tell us about how they use the annual World Rhino Day to bring awareness to the plight of rhinos in the wild and the conservation efforts they are doing to help improve their world population.
To throw a bit of EastEnders-like drama into the mix, we learned about Rocket, the baby dik-dik who is still living with his parents. Little does he know that he is about to be joined by fellow baby dik-dik Noodles and the baby couple might cause tension with having to share a house with Rocket’s parents.
But, perhaps the most important part of the programme was arguably the ongoing debate between the keepers as to which animal has the worst poo. Honestly – anything goes when it comes to Inside the Zoo.