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198, 199...200! Zoo conducts count of all its animals

PUBLISHED: 19:04 11 January 2019 | UPDATED: 10:10 14 January 2019

Animal record keeper Jade House from Africa Alive counting the lemurs. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Animal record keeper Jade House from Africa Alive counting the lemurs. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Roaring lions, swinging monkeys and excitable meerkats are all currently taking part in the ‘big count’ at Africa Alive!

Lemurs at Africa Alive   Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNLemurs at Africa Alive Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

When you have dozens of animals, it can be hard to keep track of them all.

But this Suffok zoo is keeping tabs on its numbers of giraffes, lemurs and more by sending staff out with an old-fashioned clipboard and pen to count how many creatures it has on its books.

Workers at Africa Alive! in Kessingland, near Lowestoft, carry out the count annually and describe it as one of their biggest jobs of the year.

The larger animals, such as the lions, are perhaps easier to keep tabs on - but with several similar-looking lemurs and cockroaches, it is a little trickier.

A spokesman from Africa Alive!, which began the count on January 1, said: “Although the count is undertaken at the start of each year, the keepers and the animal records keeper do have a good understanding of how many animals are in the park.

“The inventory is a chance for the keepers and the animal records keeper to check the numbers all tally, especially some of the larger groups of animals such as the Madagascan hissing cockroaches which Africa Alive! has almost 200 of.”

The zoo has welcomed a large number of new animals into its park in the last 12 months, including a critically endangered black and white ruffed lemur called Lemony, a male Chapman’s zebra and two serval kittens.

“We also have had two Kafue Flats lechwe born this year,” the spokesman added. “This species is the second most aquatic of all antelopes and the IUCN Red List class them as endangered in the wild.”

Bob Davis, a volunteer at Africa Alive with a friendly Lemur  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNBob Davis, a volunteer at Africa Alive with a friendly Lemur Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The keepers work with the animals every day and record details about their health and behaviour on the zoological information management system database.

This is then accessible to zoos all over the world, so coordinators of captive breeding programs can analyse populations and make recommendations to zoos.

Colchester Zoo has also completed its annual big count.

It is currently home to 240 animals, made up of 72 mammals, 60 fish, 33 reptiles, 28 invertebrates and eight amphibians.

Assistant Head Keeper Louise Knock with the meerkats Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNAssistant Head Keeper Louise Knock with the meerkats Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

In 2018 the zoo’s successful breeding programmes meant they gained more than 11 animals.

Don’t miss: The number of animals living at Colchester Zoo has been revealed

The lion enclosure at Africa Alive  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNThe lion enclosure at Africa Alive Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Ready to be counted ... one of the lions at Africa Alive  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNReady to be counted ... one of the lions at Africa Alive Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Lemurs at Africa Alive   Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNLemurs at Africa Alive Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

A Rhino  having some hay   Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNA Rhino having some hay Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Flamingos in the dell  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNFlamingos in the dell Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Monkey enclosure at Africa Alive  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNMonkey enclosure at Africa Alive Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Assistant Head Keeper Louise Knock with the meerkats Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNAssistant Head Keeper Louise Knock with the meerkats Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The lion enclosure at Africa Alive  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNThe lion enclosure at Africa Alive Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Madagascan Hissing Cockroaches   Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNMadagascan Hissing Cockroaches Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Assistant Head Keeper Louise Knock with the giraffes  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNAssistant Head Keeper Louise Knock with the giraffes Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

A giraffe pokes her head over the fence to say hello  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNA giraffe pokes her head over the fence to say hello Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Blesbok grazing in the paddock  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNBlesbok grazing in the paddock Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

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