How many animals? Dudley Zoo keepers get counting for annual animal stock take

By Megan Archer | Dudley | Dudley entertainment | Published:

Zoo keepers in Dudley have quite the task ahead – counting each and every animal at Dudley Zoo and Castle as part of the annual stock take.

Zoo keepers have been counting the lorikeets for their annual stock take

It’s that time of year when zoos throughout the country are legally required to tot up every invertebrate, bird, mammal, reptile and amphibian, but with more than 200 species at the Black Country attraction, it’s easier said than done, especially when you’re the keeper in charge of the leaf-cutter ants.

It's tricky to count the ants, but someone has to do it

DZC curator Richard Brown, said: "Totting up tigers and orangutans takes seconds, but our free-flying rainbow lorikeets and Egyptian fruit and Seba's short-tailed bats make things interesting.

"Thankfully we don't have to individually count the thousands of tiny leaf-cutter ants, which are one of the zoo's newest species, as we can submit those results as one colony, otherwise we'd be here for a very long time tallying those results."

The marmosets have been visited

Other new species being added to 2020’s inventory include Reggie, the Linne’s two-toed sloth, four Arctic foxes and tiny vampire crabs.

A bumper 12 months of births will also boost DZC’s numbers, including a baby giraffe, three geladas and three critically endangered black-and-white ruffed lemurs.

One zoo keeper counts the lemurs


The week long task is overseen by DZG’s registrar and research co-ordinator, Dr David Beeston, who records the collected data into the Zoological Information Management System (ZIMS) - a worldwide comprehensive database of animal health and well-being.

Dr Beeston, said: “Our keepers know exactly how many of each species they work with on a day-to-day basis, so this is just really a confirmation exercise for us to check our yearly count tallies with the results, before we have to submit them to the local authority.”

A member of staff visits the arctic foxes

Animals are identified through various methods including microchips, ear tags, body markings, flipper bands and foot rings.

Megan Archer

By Megan Archer
Chief Reporter - @MeganA_Star

Chief Reporter with the Express & Star. Give me a call on 01902 319363 or email

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