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Annual animal audit

February 13, 2023

We dusted off the clipboards, dug out the click counters and sharpened up our pencils ahead of Marwell’s annual animal audit this month.

The huge job of counting every species in the park, takes place at the beginning of each year and is a requirement of our zoo licence.

Annual audits are conducted at zoos throughout the country and help give a bigger picture of conservation efforts in UK zoos.

This year’s audit revealed that Marwell held a total of 31 flamingos, two pygmy hippopotamus, four Kirk’s Dik-dik and two Brazillian Salmon Tarantula.

The audit also recorded 15 zebra – five of each species (Hartmanns Mountain, Plains and Grevy’s) making Marwell the only UK zoo to house all three.

Our two male Beisa Oryx, the only ones in UK collections, were also recorded on the stocktake, alongside our pair of clouded leopards who arrived in the summer, Goeldi’s monkeys and red bellied lemurs – all new additions to this year’s tally.

Red legged millipedes arrived in our Energy For Life: Tropical house in time to make the count, as well as our male giraffe Mburo, who joined us from Chester Zoo.

In total Marwell counted 138 species, including 18 invertebrate species, 13 fish, 2 amphibians, 17 reptiles, 31 birds and 57 mammals!

All of this years births and deaths are also captured by the audit, which records the exact number of animals held by the zoo on 31 December each year.

The spreadsheet also records any new arrival from other zoos as well as animals that leave us through breeding programmes to go elsewhere.

The huge task of co-ordinating the collection of this data, is overseen by zoo registrar Debbie Pearson, who’s responsible for keeping track of everything living in the zoo- no matter how tiny!

Debbie said: “We keep track of the animals throughout the year, if they go to other collections and of course when we have new arrivals, but the audit is a chance to take stock of everything living at the zoo on that one specific day each year. It’s an important part of our zoo licensing agreement. 

“Most of the animals are counted as individuals but there are some very small species, such as the millipedes, vampire crabs and snails that are counted in groups because it’s difficult to get an accurate count with such large numbers.”

A full list of all the animals included in this year’s count can be found here