Zoo Watch: Whipsnade weigh-in for zoo animals

PUBLISHED: 12:00 17 August 2019

Zoo Watch: Last years weigh-in at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

Zoo Watch: Last years weigh-in at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

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Animals will take part in the great Whipsnade weigh-in next week.

Zoo Watch: Last years weigh-in at ZSL Whipsnade ZooZoo Watch: Last years weigh-in at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

ZSL Whipsnade Zoo's 3,500 animals including bears, lemurs and rhinos will step onto the scales on Tuesday (August 20).

As part of their regular check-ups, all creatures great and small will have their vital statistics recorded as a way of keeping track of their health.

Greater one-horned rhinoceros Hugo, one of the heaviest animals at the zoo, will be stepping onto an industrial sized scale for keepers to record his weight, while the zoo's tiny baby Desertas wolf spiderlings, one of the world's most endangered species of spider, require extra sensitive equipment to weigh them accurately.

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The zoo's brand-new aquarium presents a fun new challenge for keepers, who will don their wetsuits and dive in to measure up some of the Aquarium's 300 new scale-y inhabitants.

All the information will be saved on a database, Species360, which helps zookeepers around the world compare information on thousands of endangered species.

Zoological manager 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 Northern rockhopper penguins onto scales in exchange for their favourite fishy snacks, to encouraging our European brown bears to stand up at their impressive full height next to a giant ruler for a veggie reward."

As well as a key gauge of the animals' well-being, keepers can use the regular weight checks and waist measurements to identify pregnant animals, many of which are endangered species that form part of the zoo's international conservation breeding programmes.

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