Spare a thought for the keeping staff at two of the region’s top zoo’s Africa Alive! and Banham Zoo who have started the New Year in style – by counting and recording every single animal at each zoo!
The keepers now face this mammoth annual task for zoo licensing requirements and also to assist with the many co-ordinated animal breeding programmes that each zoo is involved with.
To enable these vital conservation breeding programmes to work successfully, the co-ordinators need to know what each participating zoo has on site at the end of each year. 104 animal species across both Africa Alive! and Banham Zoo are part of vital European and international breeding programmes so this stocktake is very important.
With the looming deadline for BREXIT approaching as well – the movement of animals between UK zoos and zoos throughout the rest of the world as part of these critical conservation programmes could be affected so the correct animal numbers for the co-ordinators has never been more important.
Although all the animal species at the zoos are regularly counted and checked, this is not usually done all at once so it’s a busy time for our keepers to make sure they get it right! Some animals understandably are easier to count than others (such as our lions at Africa Alive!) and others make it very tricky, such as the black-cheeked lovebirds at Africa Alive! who are very active and move around a lot! Then there are the more elusive animals such as our sloths Santos and Vlo at Banham Zoo who are often hiding out in thick foliage so it’s hard to find them, never mind count them! Come out Santos, where ever you are!
It has been a busy year full of amazing births such as our drill baby at Africa Alive! and our red panda cub at Banham Zoo, visits from royalty and fun and fantastic events such as ‘Africa Alive! By Night’ and the Banham Zoo ‘Snowman & Snowdog’ Bricklive Tour.