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The annual animal count begins at Cotswold Wildlife Park.


Events at Cotswold Wildlife Park

A new year at the Wildlife Park means it’s time to undertake the annual animal count. With 1512 animals from 258 different species of reptiles, birds and mammals in the collection, it is a thorough affair. Skill and patience is required from the Park’s keepers who have to physically count all of their animals to ensure the Park’s records are kept up-to-date.

How do they go about such a task? For the large mammal keepers, the job is fairly easy. Counting four Rhinos, three Giraffe and one Lion isn’t too much of a challenge. However, other keepers have a far trickier job. Trying to count every individual member of the colossal Leaf Cutter Ant colony would be impossible, so they are included as a group count – one colony of ants as opposed to 150,000 individuals. Some of the small mammals can be a challenge too. How do you count a large group of Bats in the dark? Primate Section Head, Chris Kibbey, said: “Our Seba’s Bats and Egyptian Fruit Bats are nocturnal, so are only active in the dark. They also carry newborn babies under their wing, which can make spotting them tricky. Therefore, the keepers count the Bats during the early morning, before the lights go down. The Bats are usually roosting at this time, so quiet footsteps and a keen eye are usually what is needed before they wake up.”

The animal count begins in November and ends in December. The final tally is then added to the Park’s Zoological Information Management System (ZIMS) in January. Zoological collections share this information with each other and the data is used for zoo management and international breeding programmes for endangered animals. The annual stock-take is required under the license terms for all British zoos.


Explore Gloucestershire
1 February 2014


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