Whipsnade’s annual stocktake is a complicated count

SOME zookeepers had a trickier task on their hands than others when it came to Whipsnade’s annual stock take.

Workers at the UK’s biggest zoo embarked on the mammoth task last week, counting every last resident, big and small, from cheeky lemurs who wanted to get hands on with the task to tiny creepy crawlies who hide away in camouflaging greenery.

L12-034 WWAP stock take at beginning of the year of Stick insect, Lemurs, parrots, elephants and meer cats.'Rick Redman'JR 2'10.1.12

L12-034 WWAP stock take at beginning of the year of Stick insect, Lemurs, parrots, elephants and meer cats.'Rick Redman'JR 2'10.1.12

Curator Malcolm Fitzpatrick said: “The annual stock take is an important, albeit mammoth, task we carry out here at Whipsnade Zoo.

“We’ve had some really exciting new arrivals this year, and we need to make sure that these and every other animal are counted, so that we can continue to work with other zoos around the world on our endangered species breeding programmes.”

The stock take is a compulsory count needed as part of the zoo’s licence.

The figures are collated in an international database and help zookeepers around the world to co-ordinate breeding programmes for endangered species.

>For the full story and more pictures, pick up a copy of this week’s Gazette.