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Chester Zoo stock take under way

Red Panda cub called Hong Image copyright Chester Zoo
Image caption Zookeepers are tallying up the animals, including over 800 mammals such as this Red Panda called Hong

Every single creature at Chester Zoo is being counted this week as part of its annual stock take.

From the tiny dead leaf mantids to the Rothschild's giraffes, each one is noted in an exercise which is a compulsory part of the zoo's licence.

Last year was a busy year for the Cheshire zoo, which saw the opening of its new islands attraction.

It also welcomed many new additions, including the first cinnamon frogs to be born in the UK.

Image copyright Chester Zoo
Image caption Forty-three cinnamon frogs - usually found in Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Sumatra, Borneo and the Philippines - were born earlier this year

The frogs are usually found in the forests of South East Asia but were successfully bred in Europe for the first time.

Chester Zoo also saw the birth of three critically endangered Sumatran tigers - only about 300 are believed to remain in the wild.

New Sunda gharial crocodiles also made the zoo their home, as part of the new Monsoon Forest section within the islands development.

Image copyright Chester Zoo
Image caption Frankie is one of two new Sunda gharial crocodiles
Image copyright Chester Zoo
Image caption The Sumatran tiger triplets born this year increase the zoo's number of this endangered species to seven
Image copyright Chester Zoo
Image caption Herpetology keeper Philippa Carter-Jones counts the juvenile frogs

Last year, the zoo counted 12,518 animals from 463 different species.

That included over 2,000 insects, some of its hardest animals to count.

Image copyright Chester Zoo
Image caption The jungle nymph is one of over two thousand insects at the zoo
Image copyright Chester Zoo
Image caption The Asian flower mantis is among the variety of exotic insects

The count takes more than a week to complete. The information is shared with other zoos around the world to help plan breeding programmes for endangered species.

"Totting up our huge new Sunda gharial crocodiles is not much of a challenge but attempting to make a note of the dozens of buffalo leeches and thousands of fish is a rather mighty task!" said zookeeper Pip Carter-Jones.

Image copyright Chester Zoo
Image caption Rodrigues fruit bats prove tricky to tally as they huddle together
Image copyright Chester Zoo
Image caption Families of meerkats gather to be counted
Image copyright Chester Zoo
Image caption One of three aardvarks searches for termites

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