Whipsnade Zoo residents hop on the scales for annual weigh-in

An annual “large scale” operation to weigh the 10,000 individual residents of a zoo has begun.

Keepers at Whipsnade Zoo in Bedfordshire often bribe the animals with their favourite treats to encourage them on to the scales.

The information is used to track the health and wellbeing of the animals, as well as identify any pregnancies.

Head of zoological operations, Matthew Webb, said it ensured vital statistics were accurate and up-to-date.

“From luring 2,000kg (4,409 lbs) rhinos onto scales in exchange for their favourite veggies, to encouraging our ring-tailed lemurs to bounce onto the scales for a juicy, sweet pepper,” he said.

Keeper Alex Simpson with Beluki the rhinoIMAGE SOURCE,SOUTH BEDS NEWS AGENCY
Image caption,

Beluki the rhino was weighed using industrial scales
Keeper Alex Johnson weighing penguinsIMAGE SOURCE,SOUTH BEDS NEWS AGENCY
Image caption,

Keeper Alex Johnson recorded the weight of penguins on Tuesday

A range of equipment is used to record the weight of all creatures – great and small.

An industrial-sized scale will be used for Behan, a 26-year-old female greater one-horned rhinoceros, while “extra-sensitive equipment” will be used to accurately weight smaller inhabitants, such as butterflies and spiders.

Keepers Angela Robinson and Harry Maskell with Nacho the aardvarkIMAGE SOURCE,SOUTH BEDS NEWS AGENCY
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Nacho the aardvark was weighed for the first time since arriving at the zoo earlier this month
Chameleon and weighing scales at Whipsnade ZooIMAGE SOURCE,SOUTH BEDS NEWS AGENCY
Image caption,

A chameleon was one of the smaller animals to step on the scales

The animals’ weights and measurements are recorded in a database called Zoological Information Management System (ZIMS), which helps zookeepers around the world compare important information on thousands of endangered species.

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