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  1. ITV Report

Animal head count well underway at Chester Zoo

Photo: Chester Zoo

It's been a busy start to 2017 for zookeepers at Chester Zoo. Their annual stocktake of animals is underway.

Thousands of animals, many of them threatened with extinction, are included in the compulsory census which is legally required as part of the zoo’s operating license.

The zoo's keepers will have to note down the vital details of every individual mammal, reptile, amphibian, fish, bird and invertebrate in their care with the data used to help plan breeding programmes for endangered species ranging from tarantulas to Asian elephants.

The zoo is home to more than 500 different species of animal.

An Aardvark takes an interest in this year's animal head count Credit: Chester Zoo

A whopping 20,827 animals were recorded during our last count but we expect to top that number this time around. New species, such as the Palawan binturong, have arrived in recent months and last year was also huge for us in terms of breeding successes. This really is going to be our biggest counting challenge ever.

– Records Coordinator Liz Ball, Chester Zoo
Chameleons enjoying the count Credit: Chester Zoo

There'll be a number of new faces for the keepers to count. Here are some of the Zoo's latest arrivals.

  • Four incredibly rare Javan green magpie chicks
  • A rare Asian elephant called Indali
  • Rothschild’s giraffe calf Murchison who was born on Boxing Day
The rare Rothschild giraffe was born on Boxing Day Credit: Chester Zoo