Weight watchers with a difference at ZSL London Zoo
Thursday 25 August 2011
It’s a weight-watchers meeting with a difference at ZSL London Zoo this week, where it’s time for the animals’ annual weigh-in.
Whether it’s noting the length of a snake, or checking the weight of a giant Galapagos tortoise, every animal at ZSL London Zoo needs to be weighed or measured. Every year the keepers at ZSL London Zoo spend hours recording the heights and weights of over 750 different species including monkeys, insects, reptiles and birds.
The heights and weights are then recorded into the International Species Information System (ISIS), where they can be shared with zoos across the world, and zoologists can compare the information of thousands of endangered species.
ZSL’s Zoological Director, David Field says: “We need to measure and weigh every animal at the Zoo however big or small – this helps us to monitor their health, their diets and their general well-being.
Being able to share this information with other zoos is incredibly useful, and helps us all to better understand the animals we look after.
Having knowledge of these animals’ vital statistics is hugely valuable for our field conservation projects where we can apply this information to monitoring wild animals, and use it when assessing their health, their behaviours and even their ages”.
Tammy the tree-climbing anteater gets weighed in her rainforest home, a pueblan milk snake and red-kneed tarantula are measured, a golden lion-headed tamarin monkey is next on the scales, and last but not least, Dirk the Galapagos tortoise is weighed in at an impressive 170 kilograms!