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The big count!

in General
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Colchester Zoo is home to 240 species and every January we undertake a yearly stock take as a requirement of our zoo license. Our data, along with many other zoos will be submitted to a central database and to the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA).

The challenging task of counting every mammal, bird, fish and reptile takes our keepers around a week to complete and collate. In addition to the many long-term residents we have at Colchester Zoo we also had to include our 2018 new arrivals in this year’s count.

2018 saw us welcome Amur leopards Esra and Crispin, 3 new wolves and 2 cheetah brothers Abasi and Azizi. We are also part of some very successful breeding programmes and welcomed a number of young during 2018 including a healthy male aardvark, 3 bush dogs pups, a number of penguin chicks, smooth coated otter pups, a Blue duiker calf, a male Greater kudu calf, a Dik Dik calf, ring-tailed lemurs and a firm favourite with visitors our sweet red panda cub.

red panda cub count

In order to collect the data required our keepers work with our animal records team to process and record all the animals at the zoo. For some, such as our elephant keepers, this is an easy task, however for others it can be more of a challenge!

Insects such as our ants are counted in colonies rather than individuals, however counting flying birds can be a little trickier! In order to count our 59 rainbow lorikeets, keepers have trained them to the sound of a bell, when the bell is rung, they fly into their aviary therefore helping the keepers count them one by one as they enter. Our 25 cheeky ring-tailed lemurs enjoy nothing more than jumping and climbing and so food was a sure way to keep them steady whilst they were counted by the team!

We also have to count the many different fish species in our various marine tanks across the park, this is one of the more time-consuming species to count but the team make sure everyone is accounted for!

lorikeets count

Colchester Zoo hopes that 2019 will be another successful year for all the species in their care and with help from our visitors and supporters we hope to not only continue our work in breeding programmes but also to support conservation projects out in the field, including our very own UmPhafa Private Nature Reserve in South Africa, through our charity Action for the Wild.

Without your visits all these achievements wouldn’t be possible so we thank you for your support in 2018 and hope that we have the chance to welcome you back again for many enjoyable visits in 2019!

The total number of species at Colchester Zoo is made up of the following:
Mammals 72
Fish 60
Birds 39
Reptiles 33
Invertebrates 28
Amphibians 8


5.00pm close or dusk if earlier
Last admission to zoo grounds at 4.00pm

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