Yorkshire Wildlife Park Animal Audit 2021
Measuring a millipede and weighing a wallaby are all in a day’s work for Yorkshire Wildlife Park in its annual monitoring of its 57 species.
Staff at the award-winning park used their ingenuity and skills to record the vital statistics of all creatures great and small from spider to snake and polar bear to blue-tongued skink lizards.
The measuring programme, part of a national animal audit, took a full week with the use of treats, gentle coaxing and collection of tape measures and scales that flexed from featherweight tarantulas to the heavyweight bears at Project Polar.
“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,” said Dr Charlotte MacDonald, Director of Animals, Yorkshire Wildlife Park
The wriggling millipedes, which have up to 400 legs each and can grow to 33cm in length, are a challenge at one end of the scale while three-year-old Hamish, the first polar bear to born in the UK for 25 years, presents a hefty task, weighing in at more than 650kg and standing 2.5 metres tall.
The park is also home to more than 25 wallabies from two species – Bennett’s and Swamp Wallabies, both native to Australia – who can grow to just under one metre tall and weigh 18kg.
“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,” added Dr MacDonald.
Every animal from the 57 different species at the innovative park has to be measured and recorded 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 ten million animals, which is critical to conservation efforts.
The task of weighing the park’s animals was helped by the support of Marsden, the Rotherham-based company that supplies equipment and expertise around the globe.
“As a proud local Yorkshire manufacturing business, Marsden has been providing weighing scales and on-going repair and maintenance services to the wildlife and veterinary industry globally for 95 years,” said Dr McDonald.
“We are delighted to have been able to support the Yorkshire Wildlife Park with their annual weigh in, by donating ten sets of scales to cover their full animal range from the Red Panda to the Rhino” spokesperson from Marsden.