It’s that time of year again when the staff at Drusillas Park commence the biggest job of the zoo calendar – counting each and every animal for the New Year stock take.
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 Joey, Chandler, Monica, Ross, Rachel and Phoebe the cheeky baby meerkats, beautiful baby Domino the colobus monkey, as well as a Pip, Pop, Pepper and Plum the baby squirrel monkeys. All the new arrivals must be accounted for and checked 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.
Zoo Animal Manager, Mark Kenward, is overseeing the task this year and he certainly has his work cut out. With hundreds of individual animals, the process can take several days; 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. Drusillas’ Zookeepers 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.
Zoo Animal Manager, 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 currently closed under Tier 4 restrictions but hopes to reopen soon. For more information, please telephone 01323 874100 or visit the website www.drusillas.co.uk