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01 / 12 / 2016
Animals hop on the scales for a weigh-in
From tiny birds and meerkats, to hefty antelope and zebra, we're undertaking the huge task of weighing all of our animals.
 
Keepers regularly carry out the weighty job as part of their usual animal care routines, particularly as part of monitoring the weight gain of pregnant or very young animals.
 
Wild Place Project is home to 111 individual animals of all shapes and sizes, including zebra, cheetah, gelada baboons, wolves, meerkats and red river hogs. Its heaviest inhabitants are the eland which can weigh up to 800kg, whilst its smallest creatures are the tiny Liocichlas birds which weigh just 45g.
 
It’s a tricky task for the lemur keeper who has to distinguish between 12 near-identical ring-tailed lemurs. Will Walker, animal manager, explains: “We like to keep a close eye on all of our animals whether big or small, particularly over the winter months to ensure they are maintaining their weight. It is sometimes also the only way we know that an animal is pregnant, as they are so small and weight gain or loss can be masked by their fur.
 
“It can be a difficult job at times but it is very important. Fortunately we have trained most of the animals to sit on specialist weighing scales but sometimes it simply comes down to sheer patience and trial and error!”
 
He added: “Weighing all the animals individually is an important part of our record keeping. The information is stored in a global database which is shared with zoos across the world. It helps to inform our research on animal species in the wild as well as ensuring we are keeping our animals as fit and healthy as possible.
 
We are currently fundraising to buy new specialist scales for our okapi. To find out more about how you can donate, please email: Development@bzsociety.org.uk