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Keeper Roll Call

23 February 2015

Keepers at Kirkley Hall Zoological Gardens have embarked on their annual count of every animal at the zoo, which houses more than 200 different species.

The compulsory count is required as part of the zoo's license.

More than 500 animals were recorded at the last census, but staff have their work cut out this time, as they need to now count all the fish in the aquatics center that opened in October 2014.

Reptile keeper Katie Higginbottom said: "Counting our large species such as out common boa or bosc monitor doesn't provide us with too much of a headache but trying to count the stick insects or mantids can be a bit more of challenge."

The zoo's records coordinator Annie Gott added: "Records at the zoo are regularly updated to allow for any births, deaths, departures and arrivals – this allows the keeper team to manager their animal breeding programmes to the best of their ability.”

But it's all hands on deck as keepers help double check the data with a full head-count - a process which zoos must go through by law in order to comply with the Zoo Licensing Act 1981.

Its often easy to count some of the larger species such as the alpaca and the capybara but we need to try other methods of counting for example taking pictures of the fish tanks so we can get a head count for some of the smaller fish species we have and also the elusive amphibians hiding in their highly planted viviariums. All this information is then inputted onto ISIS – International species information System which keeps tabs on over 800 zoos worldwide and contains over 2.6 million animals over 10,000 species, helping the world’s zoos monitor and manage important breeding programmes.  

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