The New Year brings about one lengthy task for the keepers of the Whipsnade Zoo. On January 6, the employees were tasked with completing the annual stocktake, which means they have to count every single bird, fish and reptile on the Bedfordshire, England, grounds.
And since they house more than 9,500 animals, it can be an exhausting process — but interacting with the critters surely makes up for it!
Check out some of the creatures below.
Counting the Amur tigers is a piece of cake, as they only have three of them — though the brothers are known for being boisterous.
"Today marks the start of the annual stocktake, where we make sure every animal is recorded as part of our official zoo license requirements," stated animal manager Matthew Webb. "We’ll also share the information with other zoos around the world, as the numbers are used to plan the conservation breeding programmes for endangered species."
How cute! The ring-tailed lemurs got in on the counting themselves.
"Some species are easy to count, but others can be tricky," noted Webb. "Our Aquarium keepers sometimes take still images of the tanks so they don’t count the same fish twice, while our almost 200 deer have to be counted with a lot of stealth and a lot of patience."
It looks like one of the otters wasn't amused by having to crunch the numbers!
The penguins happily lined up to be counted, as they received a fish treat for their cooperation.
The keeper clearly caught the waddling critters' attention with her snacks.
Last year, the zoo celebrated the birth of rhinoceros calf Nandi, who was counted alongside her "crash" of Southern white rhinos. A few baby chameleons were also born in 2021.
New additions in 2021 also included critically endangered and extinct-in-the-wild freshwater fish, which were bred at the zoo's aquarium and freshwater conservation breeding center.
Once the tallying is finished, the information is shared via a database called ZIMS (Zoological Information Management System).
Find out more about the Whipsnade Zoo by visiting their website.