Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 16°C

min temp: 9°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Photo gallery: It’s a numbers game at Banham Zoo and Africa Alive

10:09 09 January 2013

From counting thousands of cockroaches and hundreds of millipedes to recording two baby tamarins, 40 flamingos and a pride of lions – it is not a job for the every day bean counter.

But at two Norfolk and Suffolk zoos animal experts have become stock-list takers as they catalogue how many creatures they have in their enclosures and tanks.

Banham Zoo, near Diss, and Africa Alive at Kessingland, near Lowestoft, are taking part in a stock take, which means trying to count thousands of insects, work out how many birds are in aviaries and see how many curious meerkats there are in their enclosure.

Both zoos have embarked on their annual survey of the 62 different species they keep at the sites, which are owned by Martin Goymour.

From giraffes, lions, camels, rhinos and Siberian tigers, to individual snails, cockroaches and spiders, every creature must be accounted for in order to renew the zoo licences for both sites.

The data is also sent to the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums and the International Species Inventory System, in order to help track conservation programmes.

Zoo animal record keeper at Banham Zoo, Clare Collins, said: “There tend to be really easy animals, like the giraffes and seals, but with things like the cockroaches, we’ve counted 1,458, so to count them every day would be quite a big challenge. Doing it once a year means we can keep a handle on what we’ve got.

“It’s also good for us to keep an eye on other species like the red squirrels because they don’t tend to come and see us, so we’ll get some tasty treats and wait until a warmer day and try to lure them out.

“It’s good for the animals who might not come out and who we don’t see because we can check on them and check their weight and things like that.”

Since its last audit, notable highlights have included breeding successes for the zoo’s Pallas’ cats, which raised four kittens in April, while the last additions to the stock count were twin emperor tamarin babies, born on Christmas Eve.

Among the 28 species and animals Africa Alive staff had to count were 800 Madagascan hissing cockroaches, a small army of Tanzanian red-legged millipedes, about 50 spiny mice, seven royal pythons, 40 greater flamingos, 19 ring tailed lemurs, 21 meerkats, seven lions and five giraffes,

Among the new additions in this year’s survey were three fennec foxes, born in June, and a porcupine born in August.

Sarah Kelly, lead qualified keeper at Africa Alive, said: “The count is important as we get to know exactly how many animals we have. Of course we know everyday how many large animals we have, such as lions, giraffes and the meerkats. But it lets us know how many cockroaches, millipedes and mice we have in captivity and it also gives us the opportunity to weigh them and sex them.”

Keeping the records up to date is not only key to the annual inventory, but also to conservation as together the zoos hold 62 different species which are part of managed breeding programmes.

The coordinators of the programmes, who include zoo experts from around the world, will then contact the animal record keeper for their annual inventories and, based on this, can advise on where best to send animals and which ones should breed in the coming year.

0 comments

Bob Entwistle, conservator from Ipswich Museum, starting working at the Drum and Monkey site.

The first layers of paint concealing one of Carl Giles’s most important pieces of artwork have been scrapped away – but it is still too early to tell if it can be salvaged.

Blur performing on stage at the Corn Exchange in June 1991

We’ve now reached the third instalment of our A-Z of Ipswich looking at the history of our most distinguished residents and iconic buildings.

The Canine Welfare Rescue Centre in Glevering is beyond capacity with dogs in need of homes. Pictured with Pomeranian pups is Emma White.

A family of furry guests have taken up temporary residence at an animal rescue centre in Suffolk.

Copdock Motorcycle Show - Alison Connors

Looking for an action-packed day out or an evening of entertainment? See our guide to family fun in Suffolk this weekend.

The East of England Co-op has put in a planning application to demolish the building as part of a regeneration project.

The East of England Co-op has announced plans to demolish an unused building in Ipswich which will pave the way for more regeneration.

The Tide Mill hosted the official launch of the fifth Shuck Festival in Woodbridge.The festival will be over the weekend of October 1 and 2. L-R Laura Hack, Sharon Wolff, Laura Miles, Stephen David, Jonathan Simper, Vernon Blackmore, Nigel Bennett, Brian Wolff.

A folk singer and peace campaigner, who was the youngest known participant in the Allied invasion of Normandy, will be performing at a Suffolk food festival this weekend.

Corrie McKeague

The mother of missing RAF serviceman Corrie McKeague has said thank you to everyone who has come forward so far, as the search enters its sixth day.

Most read

Great Days Out

cover

Click here to view
the Great Days Out
supplement

View

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

MyDate24 MyPhotos24