Newborns welcomed as zoos' annual 'stock-take' proves a success

The keepers embark on its annual 'stock-take' of animals at Africa Alive and Banham Zoo.

The keepers embark on its annual 'stock-take' of animals at Africa Alive and Banham Zoo. Picture: The Zoological Society of East Anglia (ZSEA) - Credit: The Zoological Society of East Anglia (ZSEA)

Life may have been put on hold outside the doors of two popular zoos in 2020, but it was business as usual as numerous new species were welcomed.

Staff at Africa Alive and Banham Zoo have been busy counting its animals two-by-two for its big 'stock-take' at the start of each year, to ensure all of its animals are accounted for.

And zoo keepers at the popular attractions in Suffolk and Norfolk - run by the Zoological Society of East Anglia (ZSEA) - have recorded an increase in animal species following the annual count.

The keepers recently completed this mammoth task for zoo licensing requirements, with the results also being used to enable vital conservation breeding programmes to work successfully.

Around 114 species were recorded during the annual stock-take - an increase from 104 the previous year.

And with numbers totalling almost 2,000 recorded, this included 150 cockroaches, 35 greater flamingos and 17 red breasted geese.

The keepers embark on its annual 'stock-take' of animals at Africa Alive and Banham Zoo.

The keepers embark on its annual 'stock-take' of animals at Africa Alive and Banham Zoo. Picture: The Zoological Society of East Anglia (ZSEA) - Credit: The Zoological Society of East Anglia (ZSEA)

The zoos saw several births and hatchings of conservation important species during 2020 which were also included in the count - including 31 black cheeked lovebirds, four pallas cats and two reticulated giraffe calves. 

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Gary Batters, joint managing director at the Zoological Society of East Anglia, said: “Although all the animal species at the zoos are regularly counted and checked, this is not usually done all at once, so it’s a busy time for the zoos' keepers to make sure they get it right.

“Some animals understandably are easier to count than others, such as the lions at Africa Alive, and others make it very tricky, such as Banham Zoo’s Swainsons lorikeets who are very active, energetic and extremely loud!” 

Challenges around Covid-19 and the local Avian Influenza outbreaks had not made this sizeable task any easier for the keepers, who had to adapt their usual strategies.

Utilising techniques such as 'scatter feeding' to count whilst the animals enjoyed their lunchtime treat, ZSEA’s keepers managed to ensure it was an accurate count as they adhered to social distancing and minimised contact.

The Zoological Society of East Anglia is committed to conservation through collaboration, networking and training activities that aim to measurably improve national and global biodiversity.

To find out more information about the Zoological Society of East Anglia’s conservation work, visit https://africa-alive.co.uk/  


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