Zoo Watch: The animals went in two by two...

PUBLISHED: 10:21 09 January 2017 | UPDATED: 10:51 09 January 2017

ZSL Whipsnade Zoo's annual stocktake.

ZSL Whipsnade Zoo's annual stocktake.

Archant

Thousands of animals are to be counted at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo this week as zookeepers gear up for the biggest task of the year – the 2017 annual stocktake.

ZSL Whipsnade Zoo's annual stocktake.ZSL Whipsnade Zoo's annual stocktake.

Home to more than 3,300 animals, keepers at the UK’s largest zoo are preparing to take stock of each and every invertebrate, bird, fish, mammal, reptile and amphibian tomorrow (Tuesday January 10).

In 2016, ZSL Whipsnade Zoo welcomed many new arrivals including that of Elizabeth, the baby Asian elephant and a female giraffe calf named Nuru. A clutch of West African dwarf crocodiles hatched too, while a female gaur – the world’s largest cow – and a red panda cub were also born. Each newborn will be added to this year’s census.

Every resident at the UK’s largest zoo must be accounted for, presenting a mammoth challenge to keepers who must make a headcount of everything from leaping lemurs and playful sea lions to enormous elephants and snapping crocodiles.

The compulsory count is required as part of ZSL Whipsnade Zoo’s license and all of the information is logged into a worldwide zoological database called Species360, which is used to manage the international breeding programmes for endangered animals.

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