Whilst many people ease back into work gently after the over indulgence of Christmas, for the keeper team at Newquay Zoo there is no such respite.

As part of zoo licensing regulations, every zoo and aquarium in the country is required to count every single animal in their collection in an annual stock-take.

This is a mammoth task for keepers, but once again the keeper team at Newquay Zoo have risen to the challenge!

Animal Collection Manager John Meek said; ‘‘We have hundreds of species here at the Zoo – that is over 700 individual animals - so some of the keepers have a huge task ahead of them in January. It is much easier to do a head count of our two African lions or our pair of red pandas than our hundreds of tiny tropical reptiles and birds in the Tropical House.’’

‘‘Our poison dart frogs, for example, are so small and so well camouflaged, that it can be quite tricky. Without a doubt the smaller animals are harder to count, but luckily there are provisions made to mark down some species, such as the harvest mice, as a ‘group’.’’

The head count information is then shared with other zoos worldwide, providing useful information on how breeding programmes for endangered species are performing.

Stewart Muir, Zoo Director explains; ‘‘Zoos around the world will benefit from the information gathered in our species headcount. By collating inventories and communicating our findings with each other, the zoo community can establish whether they need to breed more or less of a certain species, as well as the age and sex of the individual animals. It is all part of responsible management of endangered species in captivity.’’

‘‘2012 was an extremely good year for the Zoo, with plenty of births. We were ecstatic to have bred Carpathian lynx for the first time, and the species count gives us the ideal opportunity to share our knowledge with the rest of the zoo community.’’

Quotes You have a great Zoo! My daughters had a great time! Quotes