Posted January 7, 2022 in News
2021 was a rollercoaster year filled with restrictions, new challenges and a four-month closure. However, despite the unusual circumstances that we have faced due to the pandemic, life at the zoo has flourished throughout the year.
Our Animal Care Team continued to provide outstanding care for our animals throughout 2021, as we welcomed new arrivals from other collections and celebrated the many births of rare and endangered animals. We’ve also experienced the hardship that comes with life and said goodbye to some old friends!
As we now head into a new year, the team has been busy taking on the mammoth task of counting all the residents of Colchester Zoo as part of our yearly stock take, which is a requirement of our zoo license.
Our end of year 2021 count will now include both our old and our new residents, such as female orangutans Mali and Tatau who joined the Colchester Zoo family from Paignton Zoo. Since their arrival in February 2021, Mali and Tatau have settled in well and can be seen along with our male orangutan, Tiga. Moving to our bird species, our feathered families have also grown as we welcomed three crested wood partridges who now share their home with our Victoria crowned pigeons at Feathers of the Forest.
As well as welcoming new species from other collections, our animal families have also grown in size as we saw the arrival of many newborns at the zoo, including five gelada offspring, golden lion tamarin twins, and a squirrel monkey baby.
In September 2021, our pair of Asian short-clawed otters welcomed their second litter of pups, growing from a family of six to nine! These are just a few of the many new arrivals we were lucky enough to welcome due to successful breeding programmes here at the zoo!
Whilst some of our families have grown in numbers, others decreased as we said a sad goodbye to some of our older residents. One such loss was the passing of Igor, our male Amur tiger, who was a favourite with many visitors and, of course, the Animal Care Team. Other departures include transfers to collections around the world to become part of breeding programmes, such as male Amur leopard, Luka, who was born as part of a successful breeding pair here at the zoo in 2019.
Many of our larger animals can be easily counted, however, there are some species, such as our many shoals of fish, birds and insect species, that are counted as one group rather than as individuals – as you can imagine, counting hundreds of moving fish would be impossible!
The numbers are in!
The total number of species at Colchester Zoo is made up of the following:
This equates to over 1,200 individual animals, colonies and groups of fish, reptiles, and other smaller species.
As the count is now complete, our Animal Care Team and Animal Records Department will work together to collate all the final figures and submit the data to a central database, as well as to the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA).
Although the care of our animals has continued throughout this tumultuous time and our gates are now open, we are experiencing the hardship and continued struggle from the pandemic of Covid. However, we are looking forward to a brighter year ahead, filled with new arrivals, exciting developments and the expansion on an ever-evolving Colchester Zoo family and we hope you will join us in the next chapter of our story.