Monday 23 April 2018

Lights, cameras, action . . . welcome to Zoo TV

Michael McHale

WHEN Manyani the gorilla had a toothache, little did he know the attention it would bring him.

Lying in the dentist's chair, he was surrounded by television cameras filming every painful poke and prod of the vet's needle.

The tooth-pulling is just one of a number of stories caught by filmmakers for a groundbreaking new series on Dublin Zoo.

'The Zoo' will be the first time television cameras have been given access to what happens behind the scenes at one of the country's top attractions.

It is the latest in a long list of recent 'firsts' for the zoo -- following a spate of births over the past 24 months -- and the series will focus as much on the zookeepers as on the 600 exotic animals that call the Phoenix Park home.


Other stars of the show include newly born Sumatran tiger cub twins. The first episode of the six-part series will no doubt be a tearjerker when vets realise the female cub was born with a heart deformity.

As a result, she is unable to reproduce, leaving her endangered breed in crisis.

Viewers will also see Jenny the giraffe endure a growth in her hoof while pregnant.

"We were surprised by how quickly the growth got bigger but because of the pregnancy we couldn't operate," says Helen Clarke, team leader at the zoo's African plains.

Vets carried out the surgery after Jenny had the calf, but Helen says viewers will have to tune in to see the final outcome.

Despite the constant attention since last summer, the stars have all taken it in their stride.

'The Zoo' is at 7.30pm next Wednesday on TV3.

Irish Independent

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