Zoo keepers at Banham Zoo in Norfolk and Africa Alive in Suffolk have recorded an increase in animal species following their annual count.
Staff recently completed the mammoth task of counting all the animals as part of zoo licensing requirements.
Species recorded in the annual count
Around 114 species were recorded this time round. This is an increase from 104 the previous year.
Animals recorded in total
Two thousand individual animals were recorded in total, including 150 cockroaches, 35 greater flamingos, 17 red breasted geese.
Some animals understandably are easier to count than others, such as the lions at Africa Alive, and others make it very tricky, such as Banham Zoo’s Swainsons lorikeets who are very active, energetic and extremely loud!
The two zoos saw several births and hatchings of species that are important to conservation during 2020, such as 31 black cheeked lovebirds, four pallas cats and two reticulated giraffe calves. These were included in the count.
Challenges around Covid-19 and the local Avian Influenza outbreaks has not made this sizeable task easy for the keepers, who have had to adapt their usual strategies.
Keepers say they had to utilise techniques such as “Scatter Feeding” to count whilst the animals enjoy their lunchtime treat.
Although all animal 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 the zoo’s keepers to make sure they get it right.
The results of the stocktake will now be used to enable vital conservation breeding programmes to work successfully.