From Asha the Asiatic lioness to Zeb the black and white ruffed lemur, every animal has to be counted as Dudley Zoological Gardens begins its yearly stocktake.
The annual audit forms part of the licensing requirements of all UK zoos and wildlife parks and involves keepers totting up every invertebrate, bird, mammal, reptile and amphibian across the 40-acre site.
Curator Richard Brown said: “We have more than 1,600 animals on site and 260 different species, ranging from great apes to the tiniest medicinal leeches in our Castle Creatures exhibit.
“However this start of year task is really just a confirmation exercise to make sure our yearly inventory tallies with the results, as our staff know how many animals they care for on on a day-to-day basis.”
Following the census count, which usually takes a week to complete, the numbers are collated and inputted into the Zoological Information Management System (ZIMS) – a worldwide comprehensive database of animal health and well-being, by DZG’s Registrar and Research Co-ordinator, Dr David Beeston who also submits a report to the local authority.
This year the count is being boosted by our 2017 new arrivals including pygmy hedgehogs Lumos and Nox, seven month-old Brazilian tapir, Luna, red-legged seriema Delta, three bush dogs and five Jamaican boas.