ZSL Whipsnade Zoo’s keepers have finally completed the mammoth task of counting every animal for their annual stocktake.
Home to more than 3,500 animals, zookeepers at the UK’s largest Zoo dusted off their clipboards and calculators, and took stock of each invertebrate, bird, fish, mammal, reptile and amphibian.
Keepers have had the challenge of counting everything from seven curious squirrel monkeys to 281 deer of eight different species. The Zoo’s colossal Southern white rhinos have been counted, as well as invertebrates, including ghost mantises and emperor scorpions, and over 60 species of birds, such as white-faced whistling ducks.
2017 saw Zookeepers hip-hippo-hooraying at the birth of Hodor, a baby common hippopotamus, as well as celebrating the birth of a tiny Père David’s deer fawn, a species declared extinct in the wild in 2008. The UK’s largest Zoo also welcomed a new Southern white rhinoceros named Bertha, and, thanks to some other new arrivals, is now home to the largest group of Northern rockhopper penguins in Europe.
The annual audit takes keepers almost a week to complete and the information is shared with other zoos around the world via a database called Species360, where it’s used to help manage the worldwide conservation breeding programmes for endangered animals.
With more than 3,500 animals to see, ZSL Whipsnade Zoo is a fantastic day out for the whole family, and this half-term, children can put their animal care skills to the test with the fascinating role-playing experience, Vets in Action.