The count is on!

Following the countdown to Christmas the team here at Colchester Zoo have been counting up its residents as we undertake the task of our yearly stock take as a requirement of our zoo license.

Now the task of counting the animals may seem an easy one but every mammal, bird, fish and reptile has to be counted! For our elephant care team, this is an easy task, however for others it can be more of a challenge!

It would be impossible to count some residents such as all of our butterflies, birds and fish so the larger groups are submitted as 1 colony rather than individual numbers – this makes things a little easier as trying to make sure you don’t count the same fish twice in an aquarium of tropical fish or the same bird twice in a flock of flying birds is quite a tricky task!

In order to count our 52 rainbow lorikeets, keepers have trained them to the sound of a bell, when the bell is rung, they fly into their aviary therefore helping the keepers count them one by one as they enter.

The numbers are now in from this stock take with a difference! The total number of species at Colchester Zoo is made up of the following:

Mammals 70
Fish 60
Birds 24
Reptiles 32
Invertebrates 28
Amphibians 8

This equates to over 1000 individual animals including those counted so far of 391 mammals, 198 birds, 34 reptiles, 50 frogs and colonies of fish and insects!

The annual count takes our Animal Care Team and Animal Records department around a week to complete and collate. All the data is then submitted, along with many other zoos, to a central database as well as sent to the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA).

We have a number of new additions to add to the records following our baby boom this year including our Amur tiger cubs, Amur leopard cubs, Red panda cubs, Aardvark baby, various primate youngsters and more! We also have new species in our count this year such as the cheeky Barbary macaques! Check out our reflection on 2019 for an overview on the years breeding success and developments.

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