The annual count is one of the biggest jobs in the diary and is undertaken by keepers around the country at this time of year. It is completed as part of compliance with zoo legislation, which requires zoos and aquariums to keep precise records of every animal birth, death, arrival and departure.
A lot has changed over the last twelve months, and Drusillas has welcomed several new additions. Quite a few new faces can now be found around the zoo, including bouncing babies Pumpkin and Spice the twin common marmosets, and ginormous new residents Diego and Oli the giant anteaters. All the new arrivals must be accounted for and checked in in the annual stock take.
Of course, the keepers at Drusillas are fully aware of how many animals they have in their care, especially the larger species such as the penguins, lemurs and camels. However, the annual stock take provides an opportunity to ensure that all their records are up to date and reflect accurately the number of residents at the zoo.
Head Keeper, Mark Kenward, is overseeing the task this year and certainly has his work cut out. With approximately 1000 individual animals made up of over 100 different species the process can take several days. Plus counting some of the smaller creatures also takes a great deal of patience and plenty of double-checking.
Each of the animals must have their own record card, holding details of parentage and other important information and the keepers will be taking particular care to ensure all their details have been recorded correctly.
Once completed, this information is submitted to a central database and used by organisations such as the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) to manage conservation. The inventories are also available to local authorities who issue and renew the licences for zoos and aquariums.
Head Keeper, Mark Kenward, commented: “Of course we know what animals we have at the Park but the annual stock take is a chance for us to ensure that all our records are spot on. There’s an awful lot to do and it can be very time consuming but I really enjoy doing it. It makes a nice change to my usual activities at the Park.”
Located just off the A27 in Alfriston, Drusillas Park is open daily from 10am. For more information, please telephone 01323 874100 or visit the website www.drusillas.co.uk