Animal keepers at West Midland Safari Park have had a busy start to the year by completing the annual animal stock take.
Every year, each animal big and small must be counted, from the huge African elephants to the tiny, critically endangered, golden mantella frogs.
The total number of animals changes each year and in 2021, the Park welcomed some new animals, including the birth of two white rhino calves and 26 rainbow lorikeet chicks, as well as the arrival of a red panda.
Head of Wildlife, Angela Potter, said:
“This is the time of year that we carry out the annual count of all our animals, big and small. We have 121 species with over 1000 individuals, so it’s a real team effort to ensure every animal is included. Most are counted as individuals such as our white rhino herd, which had the addition of two lovely boys, Jambo and Jumani, born in 2021, but some are counted in colonies such as our tiny leaf cutter ants. It would take a very long time if you were to count every one of those individually!
“Of course, our keepers count our animals on a daily basis and give them a good look over to ensure they are all healthy and well, but this annual audit which takes place in January, is something that each wildlife attraction must undertake as part of our zoo licence requirements.”
“In 2021, we welcomed some new species to our collection and these included Mei Lin, our beautiful red panda, who joined us in August and three smaller species: white belly reed frogs, crocodile lizards and Lau banded iguanas. We also said goodbye to some notable characters who left us to join collections in Scotland. These included Fennessy and Gerald, our two young male giraffes and Grace, our young Grévy’s zebra who all went to Edinburgh Zoo and three Bactrian camels; Dierdre and Dippy who are now at Highland Wildlife Park and Doris who is at Blair Drummond Safari Park.”
The audit is part of zoo licensing requirements and once every head has been counted, the results are noted in a report which is sent to the local authority. The Park’s Wildlife Administrator then checks the results against the animal record system, to ensure the census matches.
A variety of animals call the Park home, including mammals, reptiles, birds, amphibians, fish and invertebrates. Some are easier to count than others, such as the pancake tortoises, compared to the quick, scurrying Madagascar hissing cockroaches.
The Park has some exciting changes in store this year for some of their animals and guests, including new habitats for the white rhinos, giraffes and Sumatran tigers and the installation of new pathways, so that day guests can see these animals, as well as the African elephants, on foot.
The animal habitats will be upgraded alongside the introduction of eight new, luxury lodges offering spectacular views of the Park’s tower of charismatic giraffes and crash of white rhinos, due to open in April.
The Park is currently open Fridays to Mondays only for its winter season and all of the animals can be seen as part of the admission charge of £25.00 for adults, £20.00 for children aged 3-15 and £22.00 for concessions. Children under the age of three are free.
Admission includes a Free Return Code to visit again in six months, only when booking online in advance, without a Tesco or ASDA voucher. Guests can also receive discounts for selected dates, when booking online at least two days in advance. The Adventure Theme Park is not open during the winter season.
Further information about West Midland Safari Park is available from the Park’s website www.wmsp.co.uk or by telephone 01299 402114.
Find out more on the Safari Park’s official Facebook page: www.facebook.com/WestMidSafari.
Photo credits: WMSP