Thousands of animals are counted as Marwell Zoo begins its annual stocktake

Thousands of animals, from stick insects to white rhinos are being counted this week for the annual audit at Marwell Zoo in Hampshire.

Keepers at the conservation charity near Winchester, are required by law each year to complete a stocktake of the 2,500 mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish and invertebrates they care for.

Species such as Caribbean giant cockroaches and stick insects are counted in groups, but all others are recorded individually.

Among the latest arrivals to be included in the count is four-year-old white rhino Zahra, which was born as part of an endangered species breeding programme and has joined the zoo’s “crash” of rhinos, Kiri, Sula, Pembe and Jabari.

The Amur tiger is known for its distinctive black and orange marking
2,500 animals are counted as part of the audit, including insects

Other recent additions include a third endangered Banteng calf born on Saturday, joining two youngsters born in December.

Banteng, which are a new species for Marwell, are found throughout south east Asia including Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam.

Other arrivals since the last stocktake include parma wallabies, the smallest species of the Macropus family, coppery titi monkeys, a male Linne’s two-toed sloth, a Humboldt penguin chick, a bearded emperor tamarin, a male tapir and red river hogs.

Debbie Pearson, animal registrar, said: “Every year we complete the audit in accordance with zoo legislation to ensure the numbers we have on record tally with the animals we have on the ground before sending the final figures to our local authority.

“This year we have more than 2,500 different animals across 141 different species.

“It’s been an exciting year with some welcome additions to the breeding programmes and some firsts for Marwell.”

The flamingoes enjoying a dip at Marwell Wildlife Park

Carnival Zookeeper, Imogen Vieten looks after the larger animals at the park. She said "We have seven yellow mongoose at the zoo currently, which is great as it's a small number, but one day we may have more.

"We aren't breeding them at the moment, but in the future there are plans to breed difference species, and with mongoose they do have bigger groups in the wild.

Imogen Vieten, Zookeeper

She added, "We have such a huge range of species, and it's amazing to think how many mouths actually need feeding.

"We have four otters in total, but sometimes they can be sleeping in!

"We usually see them straight away though, as they are very food motivated, and very easy to count."

There are currently four otters living at Marwell Wildlife Park

Imogen said: "We have three new Palmer Wallabys, nine Bennett's Wallabys.

There are also a lot of new primates being counted in the audit that weren't at the park in 2021.

She added: "As well as the wallabys that we've got, there are two new Red-handed Tamarins, and two Cotton-top tamarins, so there's lots going on.

"We see all the animals every day and we keep a close eye on them, but we see them using bribery with food."