Keepers count creatures at Bristol Zoo as annual census gets underway
Zoo keepers in the city turned their focus to counting the animals as Bristol Zoo made a start on its annual census.
The stock-take involves counting all the 400 species in the zoo from the gorillas to the tiny insects.
While the larger and slower animals are easier to count the smaller, faster creatures tend to keep the keepers on their toes.
Nigel Simpson, the curator of birds, has the job of counting more than 68 different species.
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"Bristol Zoo has 700 birds altogether spread across two sites", he said.
"Tracking them and differentiating them is a real challenge, making the animal census a big job."
The birth of new animals at Bristol Zoo over the last year, including meerkat triplets, also adds to the job of counting the creatures.
John Partridge, senior curator of animals said: "The last 12 months have been very successful in terms of animal births at the zoo so the annual count is a big job again this year.
"However, it is an important task because it acts as an audit to check that our computer records are accurate.
"Our collection records are far more than a simple count – we know precise information on individual animals and groups, which we share with colleagues around the world to help manage our most important asset – the animals."
Data from the census will be submitted to the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the professional body which provides advice and guidance to zoos.