The animals went in two by two! London Zoo staff in annual stocktake as they note down rare insects, tree frogs and penguins


Me first: Penguins line up to be counted at London Zoo's annual stocktake of every animal they have

Counting sheep may be so boring it sends you to sleep, but counting penguins who are not inclined to line up nicely certainly keeps you on your toes.
Today the staff at London Zoo had their notepads and pens at the ready as they attempted to marshal their 18,000-odd beasts for their annual stocktake.
Penguins, tigers, baby monkeys and even insects were all noted down, with staff saying the fish and ants were hardest to count.

Stay still! Zoo keeper Zuzana Matyasova tries to count the penguins

London Zoo will share the information they amass with zoos around the world, in the hope that animals in need of a mate might find one.
David Field, London Zoo's director, said: 'We put all this data together so we know what zoo has what animal.
'All the work we do here counting the animals is so we can understand what we have and breed together the most genetically important male and females together to breed these incredibly endangered species.'

Jill the Red Kneed Spider is inspected during the annual zoo stocktake

Some of the world's most endangered species were counted for the first time, including a pair of Sumatran tigers and Ziggy, a white naped mangabey.
The data will be shared with zoos worldwide to help with breeding programmes so animals like Ziggy, or Ricky the rockhopper penguin, who is also single, will be able to mate.
The zookeepers recorded 17,519 animals in last year's count, with 767 species, but since then the zoo has seen a number of arrivals.

Bribe them with snacks: The otters stay still to be counted

Sssssh, he's trying to think! Here a Diamond Python slides over a zookeeper's clipboard

Sumatran tigers Jae Jae and Melati have been brought over to breed, replacing elderly Lumpur and Raika who were moved to a wildlife retirement home this year after failing to produce any cubs.
Mr Field said: 'It is so important for us because we are all about tigers in terms of field work, raising funds and also breeding them.
'The Sumatran tigers are incredibly endangered and there are fewer than 300 in the wild.

The zoo's Jeff Lambert smiles as two leaf insects get close on his nose, while meerkats check the books, right

'Jae Jae and Melati are both ready and in their prime for producing the tiger cubs.'
The zoo has also seen the addition of baby black and white colobus monkeys, cotton top tamarins and one rare mangabey, born just before Christmas, which may bring the total number of mammals up from last year's 500.
Kate Sanders, the zoo's monkey keeper, said: 'They are very endangered in the wild and we have a very good record breeding them.'

It takes twit-two: A Barn Owl, left, and a Eurasian Eagle Owl were among those who stood up to be counted

She spoke about the difficulties of counting animals such as fish and ants, adding: 'With the mammals if you don't know how many you have, you have problems.
'We have lost a couple of loved ones through the year. It's a sad factor of the job.'
One of the animals who might be helped by today's census is Ricky the rockhopper penguin, described by zoo staff as 'quite a character'.
Adrian Walls, team leader of birds, said: 'We hope to be able to find Ricky a partner. We haven't moved him to another zoo what him being such a diva as he might cause problems.'

A Bull Frog seemed to rather enjoy himself as he was sorted from his friends during the annual census at the zoo

Get a room: A male jungle nymph sits on a female jungle nymph during a photocall for today's stocktake

source: dailymail