Each year, keepers at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo take on the mammoth task of counting every animal for their annual stocktake – a process every zoological collection in Britain undertakes as a zoo license requirement.
Home to over 2,500 animals, Whipsnade is the UK’s largest Zoo and last week keepers dusted off their clipboards and calculators to take stock of every creature, great and small.
All mammals, birds, amphibians, fish and reptiles were officially recorded and added to Whipsnades’s Zoological Information Management System (ZIMS). This information is then shared with other zoos around the world who use the numbers to plan conservation breeding programmes for endangered species.
Keepers faced the challenge of counting everything from lemurs to giraffes, fast-moving vampire crabs and Madagascan hissing cockroaches.
In 2019 Whipsnade celebrated the birth of two wolverine kits, a reticulated giraffe called Khari and the Zoo’s 15th greater one-horned rhino – who were all added to the census. In addition, keepers needed to keep a tally on 80 species of fish from the Zoo’s new Aquarium, which opened last summer.