Compare the meerkats! Cuddly creatures have their weight checked at London Zoo


Weigh day: It's that time of year again for the animals of London Zoo, and these meerkats are no exception

With more than 16,000 creatures to look after, this task was never going to be an easy one.
Every single species in the care of London Zoo is being measured, weighed, poked and prodded in a bid to monitor the health of breeds.
Keepers have been lifting the scales and reaching for the tape measures as they take on the mammoth assignment to monitor every one of its residents. And these meerkats were no exception as they hopped on the scales.

The scales don't lie: As one meerkat sits on top of the device, another gets ready for his turn

At London Zoo's annual weigh-in every animal needs to be accounted for, whether it's noting the weight of a penguin chick or checking the height of a giraffe.
Because there are so many creatures to monitor, keepers at London Zoo - which is run by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) spend hours throughout the whole year recording the mass of every animal, ranging from penguins and meerkats to owls and lions.
Once the measurements are recorded, it is logged in the Zoological Information Management System to be shared with zoos all over the world.

P-p-pick up a penguin: Zookeeper Vicky Fyson grapples with one of its water-based residents

Zoologists use the system to compare information on thousands of endangered species.
David Field, ZSL's Zoological Director, said: 'We need to know the vital statistics of every animal at the Zoo - however big or small.
'This information helps us to monitor their health, their diets and their general well-being.
'By sharing it with other zoos and conservationists, we can use this knowledge to protect wild animals, and use it to assess their health, their behaviours and even their ages.'

Wait your turn: The other penguins get a little impatient as one of their own jumps on the scales

Vicki Fyson a trainee keeper at London Zoo prepares to weigh a Rockhopper penguin

The Zoological Information Management System (ZIMS) forms part of the International Species Information System (ISIS), a not-for-profit organisation providing the world standard in zoological data collection.
Its sharing software is used by more than 800 member zoos and aquariums in almost 80 countries, allowing them to share information.
The ISIS global database contains information on 2.6 million animals - 10,000 species and is constantly growing.

Measuring up: An African millipede is checked by zookeeper Don McFarlane

ZSL was founded in 1826 and is an international scientific, conservation and educational charity. Its key role is the conservation of animals and their habitats.
The Society is responsible for running London and Whipsnade Zoos. It also carries out scientific research at the Institute of Zoology and is actively involved in more than 50 field conservation projects worldwide.

No creature too big... or small: The zoo records the height and mass of every animal in the zoo, of which there are over 16,000

Vital statistics: The information from the weigh-in helps keepers monitor their health and well-being

source: dailymail