A "huge-scale" annual operation to weigh 10,000 animals at the UK's largest zoo has begun.
As part of their regular check-ups, all creatures great and small are having their statistics recorded as a way of keeping track of their health at Whipsnade Zoo in Dunstable, Bedfordshire.
Beluki, a 26-year-old female one-horned rhinoceros was weighed on an industrial-sized weight scale.
Meanwhile, the smallest inhabitants, such as its butterflies, or critically endangered desertas wolf spiders, required sensitive equipment to weigh them accurately.
Newcomer aardvarks Nacho and Terry took part in the annual weigh-in for the first time since their arrival at the conservation zoo.
Other first-timers to the weigh-in included three-month-old endangered northern rockhopper penguin Dobby, who hatched in May, and was hand-fed by dedicated keepers when her parents proved unable to look after him.
Endangered Asian elephant Ming Jung was coaxed across his mammoth scales - placed on the pathway between his bedroom and outdoor paddock - using his favourite healthy snacks.
The animals’ weights and measurements are recorded in a database called Zoological Information Management System, which helps zookeepers around the world compare information on thousands of endangered species.
Head of zoological operations Matthew Webb said: “All of our animals at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo are weighed and measured regularly, but the annual weigh-in is an opportunity to review the information we’ve recorded, and ensure it is up-to-date and accurate.
“With so many animals with different personalities, the zookeepers have to come up with creative tactics to entice them onto the scales, from luring a 4,150kg endangered Asian elephant like Ming Jung on to the scales in exchange for his favourite veggies, to encouraging a ring-tailed lemur to bounce onto the scales for a juicy, sweet pepper.”
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