Colchester Zoo welcomes more than 100 new-borns in annual 'stock-take'

One of zookeepers counting the lemurs at Colchester Zoo, for its annual 'big count'.

One of zookeepers counting the lemurs at Colchester Zoo, for its annual 'big count'. - Credit: Colchester Zoo

Life may have been put on hold outside the doors of Colchester Zoo in 2020, but it was business as usual for its animal care team who welcomed many amazing new-borns.

Colchester Zoo has been busy counting its animals two-by-two for its big 'stock-take', to ensure all of its animals are accounted for as we enter the new year.  

The zoo has been counting its animals, such as the rainbow lorikeets. 

The zoo has been counting its animals, such as the rainbow lorikeets. - Credit: Colchester Zoo

The animal care team is responsible for taking on the mammoth task of counting all the residents of Colchester Zoo every year, as it is a requirement of its zoo licence. 

From mammals to birds, fish, reptiles and insects, all must be counted. 

The smooth coated otters were all accounted for at Colchester Zoo. 

The smooth coated otters were all accounted for at Colchester Zoo. - Credit: Colchester Zoo

So how many are there?

  • 69 mammals 
  • 55 fish
  • 21 birds
  • 34 reptiles
  • 19 invertebrates 
  • 8 amphibians

Whilst it is quite easy for the teams to count the larger mammals, others are more difficult.

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That's why many of the zoo's fish, bird and insect species are counted as one group rather than as individuals, as these small and quick moving animals can be quite tricky to count. 

This means Colchester Zoo has more than 1,000 individual animals plus colonies and groups of fish, reptiles and other smaller species on site. 

Colchester Zoo counting its fish. 

Colchester Zoo counting its fish. - Credit: Colchester Zoo

They also welcomed just over 100 new-borns in 2020, including their large hairy armadillos Allie and Gomez, a beautiful wreathed hornbill and some amazing reptiles from Madagascar such as Madagascan swift lizards and day geckos.

The number of white rhinos that call Colchester Zoo home also increased in 2020 with the arrival of not one but two calves, Lottie and Tayo.

Colchester Zoo's four cheetah cubs running and playing in their larger outdoor area for the first ti

Colchester Zoo's four cheetah cubs running and playing in their larger outdoor area for the first time. - Credit: TOM SMITH/ COLCHESTER ZOO

Meanwhile, four adorable cheetah cubs - who were proudly named in the honour of the NHS - were born at the site in Maldon Road, along with Fijan iguana hatchlings.

The ring-tailed lemurs being counted by staff at Colchester Zoo.

The ring-tailed lemurs being counted by staff at Colchester Zoo. - Credit: Colchester Zoo

This names just a few of the many new arrivals Colchester Zoo was lucky enough to welcome due to successful breeding programmes.

However, whilst there have been a number of exciting new arrivals, the zoo has also experienced some sad losses of longstanding residents. 

The zoo tragically lost chimpanzee Tekita, mum to Tumba and Talia, in December, and zookeepers mourned the death of lioness Malika in October.

Colchester Zoo has said a sad goodbye to its 24-year-old chimpanzee Tekita, who died after becoming unwell. Picture: DAVID...

Colchester Zoo has said a sad goodbye to its 24-year-old chimpanzee Tekita, who died after becoming unwell. - Credit: Picture: DAVID MARSAY

Colchester Zoo is mourning over the death of its lioness Malika, who was diagnosed with liver disease. Picture: COLCHESTER...

Colchester Zoo's lioness Malika died after being diagnosed with liver disease. - Credit: COLCHESTER ZOO

A spokesman for the zoo said: "These personalities are missed everyday but will never be forgotten."

As the count is now complete the zoo's Animal Care Team and Animal Records Department will work together to collate all the final figures and submit the data to a central database as well as to the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA).

The amur tigers being counted by the zookeepers. 

The amur tigers being counted by the zookeepers. - Credit: Colchester Zoo

Despite the zoo gates remaining closed and no regular income for now, nature continues and the dedicated Animal Care Team are on site every day ensuring all the animals are well cared for as usual.

For information about how you can help support Colchester Zoo during this challenging time please visit their website.

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