Keepers see increases at Africa Alive! and Banham Zoo after annual animal stocktake
Keepers at two of the region’s top zoos, Banham Zoo in Norfolk and Africa Alive in Suffolk have found an increase in animal species.
The pair of sites, run by the Zoological Society of East Anglia (ZSEA), have just undertaken the mammoth task of annual counts for zoo licensing requirements, with the results also being used to enable vital conservation breeding programmes to work successfully.
Around 114 species were recorded during the counts, an increase from 104 the previous year, with almost 2,000 individuals recorded in total including 150 cockroaches and 35 greater flamingos and 17 red breasted geese.
Gary Batters, joint managing director at the Zoological Society of East Anglia, said: "Although all animal the animal species at the zoos are regularly counted and checked, this is not usually done all at once, so it’s a busy time for the zoo’s keepers to make sure they get it right.
“Some animals understandably are easier to count than others, such as the lions at Africa Alive, and others make it very tricky, such as Banham Zoo’s Swainsons lorikeets who are very active, energetic and extremely loud."
The zoos both saw several births and hatchings of conservation important species during 2020 which were also included in the count, such as 31 black cheeked lovebirds, four pallas cats and two reticulated giraffe calves.
Challenges around Covid-19 and the local Avian Influenza outbreaks has not made this sizeable task easy for the keepers, who have had to adapt their usual strategies. Utilising techniques such as “Scatter Feeding” to count whilst the animals enjoy their lunchtime treat, ZSEA’s keepers have managed to ensure an accurate count, whilst adhering to social distancing and minimising contact.