The Deep’s annual census gets underway

Published: Friday 8th January 2016 by Rich Sutherland

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Animals great and small are being counted as part of The Deep’s annual census. So it’s time for one fish, two fish, three fish, four, five fish, six fish, seven fish, more!

The aquarists are armed with clicker counters and clipboards and face the daunting task of totting up the numbers of each of the 300 species housed at The Deep, which last year resulted in over 5,000 individual animals counted. From sharks to playful penguins, fast swimming fish to jumping frogs, there will be some skill required to ensure an accurate count.

Their Curator, Katy Duke, tells us more: “The census is something that our whole team gets involved in as every animal has to be counted.

“It can take us a number of days to complete as the vast majority of our species are fish and are constantly on the move.  Some of the species can take a lot of patience, particularly the insects, clownfish and jacks, so certain members of the team really do have a challenge on their hands.

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“In reality we keep records on our animals every day of the year but this is the annual stocktake for the whole aquarium, which is really just a confirmation exercise at the end of the year.”

The annual count is a compulsory requirement for the aquarium to maintain its license. With all the information collected, it is then shared with zoos across the globe and used to manage worldwide breeding programmes for endangered species.

2015 saw many new arrivals, along with the birth of six new Zebra sharks, making The Deep the first BIAZA (British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums) member aquarium to contribute to the Europe-wide breeding programme. All these new additions will have to be included in this year’s census.

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Published: Friday 8th January 2016 by Rich Sutherland

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