If you had to count every single animal at a zoo, where would you start, and how would you do it?
That’s the task facing keepers at Banham Zoo as they carry out their annual count.
This year is slightly different, however – they have enlisted some local help to keep track of nearly 2,000 critters, creatures, and creepy crawlies.
Whilst the animal records keeper was busy coordinating the count at Africa Alive!, scouts and cubs from Kenninghall counted some of the animals for the keepers at Banham Zoo.
It gave the youngsters an insight into what the annual inventory involves and how keepers can accurately county more than 100 species across the zoo.
Levi Makin, 8, said: “My favourite animals were the millipedes. Millipedes feel different, they felt very tickly.”
And 13-year-old Chelsea added: “We learnt about the differences between females and males of different species of animals.”
The information is sent to the local authority as part of the requirements of the zoo licence.
The keepers work with the animals every day and record all sorts of information about their health and behaviour on the ZIMS (Zoological Information Management System) database.
ZIMS is accessed by zoos across the globe. The sharing of this information enables the coordinators of zoo-based breeding programmes to analyse populations and make recommendations to zoos.
This in turn helps maintain healthy zoo-based populations of some of the most endangered animals on the planet.
The annual count is a chance for the keepers and the animal records keeper to check the numbers all tally.
Banham Zoo has had some breeding success in 2017. Notable arrivals include three black-footed penguin chicks hatching, and a pair of Sri-Lankan leopard cubs were born.