Hellabrunn Zoo stocktake: The great animal count

The complex task of counting all the animals is finally complete. The annual stocktake for 2015 concluded that 19,364 animals and 771 species are living at Hellabrunn Zoo.

Copyright: Tierpark Hellabrunn/Marc Müller

Copyright: Tierpark Hellabrunn/Joerg Koch

As with all companies, Hellabrunn Zoo is obliged to conduct an annual stocktake of valuable inventory - its animals. The date for completion of the annual stocktake is 31 December. Not all the animals are equally cooperative with this compulsory procedure. The guinea pigs tend to scatter wildly, the Seba's short-tailed bats invariably flutter all around the bat cave and the neon tetra fish simply dive deeper. Despite the numerous challenges, each animal - from A to Z (antelope to zebra) - must be counted every year in the annual stocktake, which is similar to that conducted by a DIY store. Except that in the case of animal inventory the procedure is a lot livelier than counting planks of woods.

Some species are constantly on the move and therefore their numbers can only be estimated. For example, in the case of free-flying birds that are not easily caught, the keepers will monitor the birds’ feeding place in the Jungle House. The number of birds pecking there will then be extrapolated. Likewise, the clownfish in the aquarium are counted based on the number of fish in a section of the tank that is meticulously examined to provide an estimate.

Every day the keepers record all births, deaths, departures or arrivals of animals for the day. The total figures are then entered in the daily report. Once the animal inventory is completed it will be incorporated in the annual report, and eventually published in the management report released each summer.

"Hellabrunn remains one of the most diverse zoos in Europe. With 771 species, we are now able to offer our visitors a chance to see an even greater range of animals than the previous year. In 2015, we added new species such as the dwarf crocodiles and Darwin’s rheas," says zoo director Rasem Baban.

The method of stocktaking for the many different domestic and exotic species at Hellabrunn Zoo varies greatly: counting individual ants, for example, would be an impossible task. Leafcutter ants are therefore counted as only one animal, even though there are obviously thousands of individuals. Considerably easier is to count, on the other hand, are the rhinoceroses: The three pachyderms are hard to overlook.

During the stocktake, the baby rhino Puri and his mother Rapti were also weighed. The little rhino bull - now almost six months old - tips the scale at 300 kg!

Hellabrunn Zoo animal inventory (Dated: 31.12.2015):

Mammals:      1,004 in 100 species
Birds:              1,031 in 99 species
Reptiles:         412 in 45 species
Amphibians:   138 in 8 species
Fish:                 ca. 9,026 in 302 species
Insects:             ca. 2,000 in 25 species
Arachnids:         53 in 7 species
Other invertebrates: 5,700 in 185 species

Total stock of animals at Hellabrunn Zoo:
19,364 animals in 771 species

The tallest, heaviest, oldest animals at Hellabrun Zoo

The tallest animal:        Limber the giraffe has a height of 4.15 m

The heaviest animal:   Mangala the female elephant tips the scales at 3660 kg

The longest animal:     The biggest female anaconda is 6.2 m long

The smallest animal:       Leafcutter ants are only about 0.1 to 0.2 cm long

The oldest animal:         The Seychelles giant tortoise is a little over 100 years old

The last animal born in 2015: Paulchen (Pauly), a Murnau-Werdenfels calf born on 31 December 2015, and is a member of an endangered livestock breed. There are only 350 individuals of this species left on the planet. Hellabrunn now has four cattle of this breed living at the zoo.

The first animal born in 2016: a mara in the South America enclosure