Whipsnade Zoo's annual stocktake 2023

One, Zoo, Three… 

Zookeepers complete the 2023 annual stocktake at Whipsnade Zoo.  

Whipsnade Zoo’s keepers began the mammoth task of counting every animal for their annual stocktake today (Thursday 5 January 2023). 

Home to more than 10,000 animals, zookeepers at the UK’s largest Zoo gathered their clipboards and calculators, to take stock of each invertebrate, bird, fish, mammal, reptile and amphibian. 

2022 saw a number of new arrivals to Whipsnade Zoo, all of which were recorded for the first time during the yearly count; in August, the conservation Zoo celebrated the birth of Endangered Asian elephant calf, Nang Phaya, while November’s Remembrance Day saw the birth of Wilfred, a reticulated giraffe calf named after war poet Wilfred Owen. 

Elsewhere, a two-month-old, Critically Endangered, Visayan warty piglet (Sus cebifrons) was also added to the Zoo’s official records, as well as hundreds of Critically Endangered and Extinct-in-the-Wild freshwater fish, bred at the Zoo’s Aquarium and freshwater conservation breeding centre. 

Asian elephants are recorded at Whipsnade Zoo's annual stocktake 2023

ZSL Whipsnade Zoo’s Head of Zoological Operations, Matthew Webb said: “Today marks the start of the annual stocktake, where we make sure every animal is recorded as part of our official zoo license requirements.  

“We’ll also share the information with other zoos around the world, as the numbers are used to inform conservation breeding programmes for endangered species. 

“Some species are easy to count, but others can be tricky: our huge, tropical butterfly house provides a challenging counting job for our keepers, while our almost 200 deer have to be counted with a degree of stealth!” 

The information is shared with other zoos around the world via a database called ZIMS (Zoological Information Management System), where it’s used to help manage the worldwide conservation breeding programmes for endangered animals. 

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