The zookeepers of Bristol begin the task of counting the 10,000 animals

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Every animal should be counted today at the Bristol Zoo (Image: PA)

Most of us are counting the days until 2020, but the caretakers at the Bristol Zoo are busy counting 10,000 animals today.

The staff has a difficult time ahead, as each animal is counted on the 12-acre site as part of an annual census.

Everything will be verified, from the smallest ant to the largest gorilla, with work ready for the whole day for those who walk through the zoo armed with clipboard, tablets and spreadsheets.

Crucially, caregivers will calculate the exact numbers of the many endangered species that live in the zoo.

John Partridge, chief animal curator, said: ‘Counting animals is an important task because it acts as an audit to verify that our records are accurate.

Giant turtle numbers are marked during the annual inventory at the Bristol Zoo (Image: PA)

Leaf-cutting ants carry perforated numbers on the leaves as they are counted (Image: PA)

A staff member adds a giant Vietnamese stick insect, discovered in 2014, to the numbers (Image: PA)

“We have accurate information about animals and individual groups, which we share with colleagues around the world to help care for animals.”

Staff members have a difficult mission in their hands to keep track of some of the species, such as the colony of leaf-cutting ants from the zoo, which are generally 30 mm long.

Carmen Solan, the chief invertebrate officer, said: Our leafcutter ants may be small but they are absolutely fascinating.

Ant Each ant has its own place in the colony: the queen rules the chicken coop and can produce up to 150 million young in her life.

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‘Among the workers, there are gardeners who attend to the fungus, soldiers who defend the nest and forage hunters who search, cut and transport the best leaves.

Biggie, the giant tortoise that first arrived at the Bristol Zoo on December 24, 1975 (Image: PA)

Everything will be verified, from the smallest ant to the largest gorilla (Image: PA)

Biggie has been in the zoo for 183 years 44 years longer than any other animal (Image: PA)

Other animals will be easier to complete, including the four rare golden arrow frogs that the zoo currently has.

Toxic amphibians are the most poisonous frogs in the world, with only one individual that contains enough toxin in their skin to kill at least 20 adult humans.

A similar count is taking place at the sister site of the Bristol Zoo, Wild Place Project.

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