Zoo annual animal count reveals 52 births

A zoo's annual animal count revealed there were 52 births in 2023, including six blue-faced honeyeater chicks and three banteng calves.

The job of counting and recording every species is a requirement of Marwell Zoo's licence.

Like all zoos across the country, the zoo in Winchester, Hampshire, has to take stock of its at animals at the beginning of every year.

Animal keeper Bea Cameron said the "snapshot" allowed staff to get an overall look at the year, as well as giving "an important overview of our conservation efforts from one year to the next".

The count records births and deaths, as well as imports and exports - including with other zoos as part of breeding programmes.

In total, Marwell tallied 145 different animal species at the end of 2023, compared to 138 at the end of 2022.

The total includes 19 invertebrate species, 14 fish, 3 amphibians, 21 reptiles, 31 birds and 57 mammals, living across the zoo’s 140-acre (57-hectare) park.

In 2023, the zoo welcomed two caracara, five Brazilian guinea pigs and four bush dogs – all new species for Marwell.

Some of the zoo's smaller creatures cannot be counted individually, and are counted in groups.

These include snails, insects, fish, and some frogs and lizards.

The finalised numbers have to be submitted to Winchester City Council in January each year.

Ms Cameron said staff "keep track of all our animals on site" all year.

"But the animal audit is a snapshot of the animals in the zoo from one year to the next," she said.

"It helps give us an overall look of our year including births, deaths, and new arrivals, and is an important overview of our conservation efforts."