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Who’s who in the zoo? Belfast Zoo’s annual stock begins!

Date: 18 Jan 2019

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Keepers at Belfast Zoological Gardens have been busy this January, performing their annual stock take of animals. This includes a head count of over 600 animals and more than 120 different species!

The annual stock take is completed every January as part of the zoo’s licensing regulations.  This exercise ensures the accuracy of the computer records of the zoo’s animals.  These records are maintained and stored in a central and global zoo database.  This database links more than 20,000 animal care professionals in more than 1,100 zoos and aquariums across the world and recording more than 22,000 species and 10,000 individual animals!

The 2019 stock take takes into consideration new arrivals, departures, births and deaths.  Belfast Zoo has celebrated a number of births in the past year, including nine gentoo penguins, a blesbok, a red titi monkey, two red pandas, giant anteater and a critically endangered Francois langur (to name a few).

Zoo Manager, Alyn Cairns, said “Counting the animals is a routine and daily task for the keepers, to ensure that all animals are healthy and to deliver high standards of animal care.  However, the annual stock take is one of the conditions of zoo licencing, which requires precise records of every animal birth, death, arrival and departure and allows zoos to collaboratively produce an overall record of all animals in zoos throughout the UK and the world.  This therefore supports the management of breeding programmes.  Belfast Zoo is home to a number of extremely unique and endangered species and we take part in more than 60 breeding programmes.  Some species that live at Belfast Zoo are even extinct in the wild. This task is vital in ensuring that the central databases are up to date and can therefore be used to run detailed and scientifically-based reports to support the breeding programmes which are proactive in safeguarding and conserving some of the world’s most iconic species, as well as the lesser known wildlife that is, never the less, facing the very real threat of extinction.”