Coronavirus lockdown: Annual animal audit underway

January 19, 2021

Our dedicated zookeepers caring for animals throughout the national lockdown are busy completing the yearly animal stocktake.

An audit of every resident mammal, bird, reptile, amphibian, fish and invertebrate is a legal requirement of a zoo’s licence and it is business as usual for our team of keepers, vets and scientists who are continuing their essential work while we are closed.

Despite facing our toughest challenge in our nearly 50-year history due to the coronavirus pandemic, this year’s count is a chance to celebrate some of our achievements and serves as a reminder of our important contributions to worldwide conservation breeding programmes.

Chief Executive James Cretney said: “It Is certainly the most challenging start to a year in the zoo’s history however beginning the year with our annual animal audit is a chance to reflect on some of our achievements of 2020, the important difference we continue to make to international breeding programmes and the work of our dedicated animal teams, scientists and others who are working tirelessly each day to provide the highest standards of care while the zoo is closed to guests.

“We have a huge collection of endangered animals at Marwell, which all still require the same high standard of compassionate care even though closure has cut off our income. With no clear reopening date, we need the help of our supporters, local communities and the public more than ever so please consider donating to us via our JustGiving page, purchasing an item from our Amazon Wish List, adopting an animal or buying a membership to use when we reopen.”

Home to more than 2,000 animals and 140 species, we welcomed some exciting new arrivals in 2020, many of which are endangered in the wild.

Two Humboldt penguins Sushi and Squid hatched in April, a critically endangered black and white ruffed lemur baby named Zephyr was born in May and Arthur, a critically endangered mountain bongo calf arrived in June.

Other newborns included one of the world’s rarest animals, a critically endangered African wild ass and two Hartmann’s mountain zebra foals.

We celebrated the arrival of an endangered Amur tiger Valentina who came from Hodonin Zoo, Czech Republic in December and it is hoped one day she may mother cubs to secure the future of this species.

The annual inventory is shared around the world via a database designed to ensure the best possible management of worldwide conservation-breeding programmes.

Your support makes a huge difference during our closure. To donate, go to www.justgiving.com/campaign/supportMarwell