17th January 2018
The annual animal census is underway at The Deep, from the tiny Leaf cutter ants to the enormous Green sawfish, every animal needs to be counted and accounted for.
With over 5,000 animals representing over 300 different species, The Deeps’ Aquarists have a huge task on their hands to accurately record each individual animal within the aquarium. Armed with just a clicker and a clipboard, the swift colourful flash of a moving reef fish really drives home the difficulty of this job. With many constantly on the move, a lot of patience is needed and at times, a lot of re-counts!
Curator, Ben Jones tells us more: “With many of our animals on the move all the time the annual census can take a number of days to complete. With so many to count, the species are usually divided up between the Aquarists so it really is a team effort to complete.
Our animal records are completed on a daily basis, but each year a compulsory review of all our populations is required to comply with our Zoo License. This activity simply confirms our species numbers as we enter the New Year”.
2017 welcomed a number of new residents into this past year’s census, including the two Loggerhead Sea Turtles who arrived back in the spring of 2017, as well as a whole host of reef fish species following the refurbishment of the Lagoon of Light exhibition. Successful breeding of the David Bowie spider and the culturing of a number of jellyfish species, all will add to the upcoming final figure.
Amongst those being counted, some are threatened with extinction. This count is not only important for confirming numbers, but is shared with other zoos and aquariums across the globe, providing essential data for planning breeding programmes for these vulnerable and engendered creatures.