• Creatures great and small measured at Yorkshire Wildlife Park’s annual audit

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    January 07, 2019
    Some are fast, some are slow, some huge but all creatures great and small need to be measured in the annual Yorkshire Wildlife Park’s audit.
    From millipedes to meerkats and lions to leeches, all 600-plus animals had their vital statistics noted down as part of a national monitoring programme.
    Staff and Rangers had their hands full as they worked out ingenious methods to take the pinpoint measurements in over a week of activity. With clipboards, tasty treats and purpose-designed devices, YWP staff went round the 110-acre site for the annual inventory.
    A few grubs helped entice the armadillos onto weighing scales while bugs and giant African Land Snails had to be delicately measured with precision callipers. Meanwhile, the battle to measure giraffes proved a stretch.
    The weights ranged from milligrams to the heavyweight Victor the polar bear who tips the scales at more than 600 kilos, more than a family car.
    “It really is a challenge that requires a lot of ingenuity and patience,” said Debbie Porter, animal manager of the park, at Branton, near Doncaster. “It can be tough getting the wallabies to stay still long enough and giraffes are obviously a tall order but the staff are very experienced and efficient.”
    There is a very serious point to the animal audit and annual stocktake. Yorkshire Wildlife Park is one of 1,100+ zoos, aquariums and other wildlife member organizations involving over 1,100 animal care professionals use the ZIMS (Zoological Information Management Software) to help them achieve best practice animal management and conservation goals. The aim of the shared database is to advance global collaboration and information sharing for zoos around the world to help further the knowledge of animal populations and share vital species information. The information is integrated into a master database that includes millions of records on more than 22,000 species and ten million individual animals.
    The park, the UK’s fastest growing and most innovative wildlife attraction, is open every day including New Year’s Day.
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