80th year of counting animals at Whipsnade

11 January 2011, 13:51 | Updated: 11 January 2011, 14:41

More than 200 different species have been counting as part of Whipsnade Zoo’s annual stocktake.

Into its 80th year now, more than 4,000 creatures were counted – 3,992 more than when the Zoo first opened.

This year’s count includes feathery and furry babies – including two ostrich chicks and a rockhopper penguin plus five cheetah cubs. Added to that, are some newcomers of that larger variety – elephant calf George who was born in April, and a zebra calf and two Asian rhino calves, all born in 2010.

During the stocktake every single animal is counted – including the shoals of fish and tiny ants.

When the zoo first opened in May 1931 it had eight animals: two Amherst pheasants, a golden pheasant and five red jungle fowl.