Vana and Tebogo explore the Gorilla Rainforest for the first time before the difficult process of integrating the two hand-reared gorillas into Dublin Zoo’s troop begins in earnest.
There’s great excitement at the African Savanna as Ashanti the southern white rhinoceros gets ready to give birth.
And Susan travels deep into the Kerry countryside to visit barn owl chicks in their nest and learn about some of the threats they are facing.
It’s shaping up to be an incredible year at Dublin Zoo, and this season the cameras will once again go behind the scenes to follow the passion and expertise of its animal care team. While the animals that live at Dublin Zoo are undoubtedly the stars of the show, it is the love, care and professionalism of the keepers that really makes it special – there are some great characters among them! Narrated by the familiar voice of Tom Dunne, The Zoo will be returning to its Sunday slot – perfect evening viewing for all the family.
The series always tries to show viewers not just the lives of the animals at Dublin Zoo, but also the importance of protecting these animals in the wild. Closer to home the zookeepers will visit some fascinating Irish conservation projects that are supported by Dublin Zoo, including a visit to the nesting site of barn owls in Kerry, where Susan has a fascinating encounter with some barn owl chicks in their nest.
Further afield, zookeepers Ciarán and Aisling will travel to Indonesia. First to Borneo to visit the work being done by the Orangutan foundation, a conservation project rescuing critically endangered orangutans and returning them to the wild. Sandra will then travel to the forests of Sulawesi to visit another project supported by Dublin Zoo protecting the Sulawesi crested macaque, and see first-hand some of the threats they face in the wild, including an eye-opening visit to a bush-meat market.
One of the main stories featured this series includes the birth of an unprecedented three new elephant calves, which brings with it great drama and challenges for the elephant care team.
At the Gorilla Rainforest there is plenty of excitement when two young hand raised gorillas arrive from Stuttgart Zoo in Germany. Dublin Zoo is one of the only zoos in the world to successfully integrate these gorillas into established groups, and the team hope to do the same with these two young primates Vana and Tebogo. However, it will be a long and tricky process, and there is no way of knowing how accepting the other gorillas will be of the new arrivals.
There are worrying times for one of Dublin Zoo’s most beloved inhabitants, Henry the hippopotaumus, when he falls gravely ill. Ken and the team take every measure possible to save one of the Zoo’s most iconic animals.
At the orangutan house, an introduction of a completely different kind is taking place. With a new female orangutan, Sari, being introduced to the group from Barcelona Zoo, the keepers use a pioneering technique to introduce her to the dominant male, Sibu, via video link.
The old Roberts House at Dublin Zoo, home in a bygone era to the big cats, is being refurbished to house reptiles past and present: Zoorassic World. There will be a full-size Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton and other spectacular examples of extinct dinosaurs. We also give viewers the chance to journey back into Dublin Zoo’s history with Gerry, Helen and historian Catherine De Courcy, and see some incredible archive footage of the way Dublin Zoo used to be back in the old days.
There are also plenty of new births along the way, including not one but two rhino calves, new African painted dog pups , new baby mangabeys and Goeldi’s monkeys among many others. But of course, with these new arrivals, there will also be some sad goodbyes..
Now entering its 8th season, “The Zoo” has established itself as a firm favourite among Irish households and viewers are sure to be delighted, saddened and in awe of some of the fantastic stories and, most importantly, animals that are set to feature.
Produced by Moondance Productions for RTE