Wild Nature

published : 2023-08-24

London Zoo's Annual Measure and Weigh In: A Herculean Task with Vital Results

Zookeepers highlight essentiality of data in maintaining animal health and monitoring pregnancy

A wide-angled shot capturing the bustling scene at London Zoo during the annual weigh-in, zookeepers meticulously recording measurements of different animals. Taken with Canon EOS 5D Mark IV.

The London Zoo was a hive of activity this Thursday as their momentous annual weigh-in took place. The event saw giant gorillas, rotund penguins, and even winsome stick insects queueing up to be assessed by the aquarium's diligent staff.

Using a diverse range of tools from treat-laden scales to entice squirrel monkeys, a tally sheet for tarantulas, and even a curry-scented rod for measuring Sumatran tigers, the staff demonstrated their adaptive approach to handling the various animals.

A detailed close-up of a zookeeper working with a Sumatran tiger, coaxing it with a curry-scented measurement stick. Taken with Nikon D850.

Approximately 14,000 animals call the London Zoo home – a respectable collection of mammals, avians, reptiles, piscine, and invertebrates – and it would take several days to size up them all. The details gathered during this endeavor feed into a global database, shared with zoos worldwide.

Head of Zoological Operations, Angela Ryan, stated that recording these vital statistics – height and weight – from the tallest giraffe to the smallest tadpole is crucial.

A candid portrait of Angela Ryan, Head of Zoological Operations at the London Zoo, surrounded by her assorted paperwork, charting the vital statistics of the animals. Taken with Sony α7R III.

Further supporting the importance of the data, Ryan explained that animal weight could help assess health conditions and even identify potential pregnancies. She emphasized the significance of these metrics in managing the zoo's critically endangered species, as their proper healthcare, fruitful breeding, and the birth of healthy offspring are paramount from a conservation perspective.