Wallabies weighed and millipedes measured for wildlife park’s animal count

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From weighing wallabies to measuring millipedes, staff at the Yorkshire Wildlife Park have been carrying out their annual animal count.

It took a week to record all the vital statistics of the park’s 57 species for the measuring programme, which is part of a national animal audit.

The task of measuring the park’s animals involved using a lot of treats and gentle coaxing to collect accurate figures for their height, length and weight.

The animals measured ranged from millipedes, which have up to 400 legs each and can grow to 33cm in length, to three-year-old Hamish, the first polar bear born in the UK for 25 years who weighed in at more than 650kg and was two-and-a-half metres tall.

Zookeeper measures a polar bear
Hamish, three, is the first polar bear to have been born in the UK for 25 years (YWP/PA)
zookeeper weighs a sea lion
Treats were used to coax the animals on to the scales (YWP/PA)

The park is also home to more than 25 wallabies who all had to be measured by keepers.

The two species are Bennett’s and swamp wallabies, both native to Australia and which can grow to just under one metre tall and weigh around 18kg.

Charlotte MacDonald, director of animals at Yorkshire Wildlife Park, said: “It can be a test of our ingenuity but the staff are experts at handling the animals and making sure they are comfortable while they have their measurements taken and recorded.

Staff member measuring the wallabies
The wallabies were all measured by keepers (YWP/PA)
Measuring a Millipede
The park’s millipedes have up to 400 legs each and can grow to 33cm in length (YWP/PA)

“It can be tough getting the wallabies to stay still long enough and the giraffes are obviously a tall order, but the staff are very experienced, efficient and patient.”

Every animal in the park, in Cantley, South Yorkshire, had to be measured as part of a national scheme that generates a database of animal information from more than 1,100 zoos and organisations in the UK to advance collaboration and conservation.

The data feeds into a global bank of information covering more than 22,000 species and 10 million animals, which is critical to conservation efforts.

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