Animal keepers at West Midland Safari Park have had a busy start to the year by undertaking the annual animal stock take. Every creature has to be counted, from the crash of huge white rhinos to the colony of tiny leaf cutter ants.

There will be some extra heads to count this year too, following the success of animal births in 2018. These include Granville, the baby southern white rhino, Gerald the Rothschild’s giraffe and two Grévy’s zebra foals – Grace and Gamba.

Angela Potter, Head of Wildlife, says: “As part of our zoo licensing requirements, from 1 January we complete an audit and produce a report for our Local Authority, so keepers have been out and about counting all of our animals, from elephants down to ants!

“Our wildlife administrator, Rosie Wilkes, then carefully checks our animal record system to ensure the census adds up correctly. Some animal groups, such as our white rhino herd of eight animals, are much easier to count than our colony of Madagascar hissing cockroaches! Although the audit is undertaken once per year, the animal keepers keep track of the animals in their care on a daily basis.”

The total number of animals is yet to be confirmed, but as there are over 120 different species at the Park, the figure is likely to be over 800 animals. 32 species are found on the Park’s safari drive-through, whilst the remaining 88 species can be found in the African Village, Discovery Trail and Safari Academy.

West Midland Safari Park is currently open on weekends only for Wild Winter Safari until 10 Feb 2019. The Park opens daily from 16 Feb 2019. Group discounts are available for both the winter and summer seasons for 10 or more paying people arriving in the same vehicle. The Adventure Theme Park is closed during the winter season.

Further information and tickets are 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