Bristol

Bristol zookeepers begin annual animal count

Meerkats gather around mammal keeper Scott Allen Image copyright Magnum Photos
Image caption Meerkats gather around Scott Allen as keepers in Bristol begin their annual animal stock take

More than 14,000 creatures are being counted at Bristol Zoo as keepers begin their annual stock-take.

The zoo and Wild Place Project are home to around 500 species, from tiny fish and insects to gorillas and hippos.

The count is done at the start of each year to verify audit records and check vulnerable populations are thriving.

John Partridge, senior curator, said: "The last 12 months have been very successful in terms of animal births, so the count is a big job this year."

Image copyright PA
Image caption During the census, which takes several days, one inquisitive squirrel monkey grabbed mammal keeper Olivia Perkins' pen
Image copyright PA
Image caption She said: "They are always trying to steal things from my pockets, pulling my hair. They get so excited when I use a pen"
Image copyright Bristol Zoo
Image caption The zoo's mammal team has had some significant breeding successes this past year, including the rare caesarean section of western lowland gorilla Afia in February
Image copyright PA
Image caption A baby pygmy hippo named Hugo was another new arrival. Pygmy hippos are classed as endangered and it is thought that fewer than 2,000 survive in the wild
Image copyright A.Pattenden
Image caption The Wild Place Project also saw the birth of two female okapi named Ruby and Kimosi. There are just 15 of the endangered species in the UK
Image copyright Mark Bushell
Image caption In 2016, the zoo also welcomed the arrival of a batch of tiny Lord Howe Island stick insect eggs. It is the first time the insect - one of the world's rarest - has laid eggs outside Australia
Image caption Data from the census will be submitted to the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the national professional body offering advice and guidance on zoo management

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