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It’s the annual role call at London Zoo as they begin their stock-take of 19,000 animals

It’s time to tally the tails and count the critters

When I think stock-take my mind doesn’t jump straight to thoughts of ‘cute’, but the images unveiled of London Zoo’s annual count on numbers has quickly convinced me otherwise.

Image: ZSL

Zoological Society of London (ZSL) London Zoo is home to approximately 19,000 animals and 600 different species. Once a year the staff at London Zoo get out their pads and pens to make sure all are accounted for.

Image: ZSL

Some keepers may have to count tigers which is easy enough, while other draw the short straw and must count, say, bees…hundreds of sting ready bees. The saying is ‘busy as a bee’ but that task may just be a little too busy for most.

For obvious reasons the keepers looking after the bees get to cheat a little and count each colony as one bee rather than the hundreds of individual bees.

Image: ZSL

According to ZSL’s operations manager Angela Ryan all the keepers have their own ways of tallying up the animals in their care.

“From taking pictures of the tanks in the aquarium to avoid counting the same fish twice, to using training and rewards to count larger groups such as our squirrel monkeys and Humboldt penguins,” Angela explained.

It always makes for a busy start to the year

The information is made public around the world and sent to other zoos which helps to manage the worldwide conservation breeding program for endangered animals.

Image: ZSL

The annual stock-take also ticks some company boxes as it is part of the zoo’s requirement to retain its license and takes approximately a week to complete.

Even if the stock-take wasn’t a requirement I’m certain they would still do it, I know if I worked there, I would be pretty keen to know if we were one Tiger short.