LONDON – Zookeepers at London Zoo were presented on Wednesday with the sometimes challenging task of counting every single animal great and small housed within its enclosures.
A squirrel monkey was shown climbing all over a black board announcing the annual stock-take, while Humboldt penguins gathered closely around a keeper on the promise of a fishy treat.
“Caring for more than 750 different species, ZSL’s keepers faced the challenging task of tallying up every mammal, bird, reptile, fish and invertebrate – counting every creature from penguins to partula snails,” the zoo said in a statement.
But while larger animals were easy enough to count, smaller ones made the tally a little more difficult, requiring keepers to resort to alternative ways of counting them.
“While for some zookeepers the task is relatively easy, imaginative tactics are used by others to ensure every resident at the Zoo is accounted for – such as the BUGS team, who cheat and count ant colonies as one, instead of tracking hundreds of individual ants,” the zoo said.
2017 saw the arrival of new residents to the zoo, including 11 Humboldt penguin chicks, eight Galapagos tortoises and two gibbons, all of which would need to be included in Wednesday’s census, the zoo added.
London Zoo, which opened in 1828 and is the world’s oldest scientific zoo, is open to visitors every day of the year, with the exception of Christmas Day.