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London Zoo undertakes annual stocktake
The zoo's 67 Humboldt penguins line up to be counted.

Keepers tally more than 400 species behind closed doors

Zookeepers at ZSL London Zoo began their annual stocktake this week, continuing their essential work despite the zoo's closure as a result of the national lockdown.

Kathryn England, ZSL London Zoo’s chief operating officer, said: “There’s no doubt that 2020 was the most challenging year in our almost 200-year history – national lockdowns saw us closed for 18 weeks, cutting off millions of pounds of vital charitable income from lost ticket sales – but kicking off this new year with the annual stocktake is a chance to reflect on some of our achievements in the face of these challenges.”

The zoo welcomed multiple births across 2020, including two otter pups, a critically endangered Waldrapp ibis chick and a female okapi calf, which was born as part of the breeding programme for the endangered species.

A critically endangered Sumatran tigress called Gaysha was also brought over from Ree Park Safari in Denmark. She was reunited with her former mate, Asim, in mid-December.

The zoo's animal manager, Angela Ryan, said: “ZSL London Zoo is home to more than 400 species, from endangered Asiatic lions to critically endangered Chinese giant salamanders – we’re working not only here in the Zoo to increase their numbers and learn more about these amazing animals, but on conservation projects around the world too.”

The annual task takes almost a week to complete and some keepers had to use imaginative methods to tally the zoo's many animals. For example, rather than tracking hundreds of individual ants, the team at B.U.G.S count colonies as one.

This information will be uploaded to the ZIMS database and shared with zoos around the world in order to help manage worldwide conservation breeding programmes for endangered species.

Image (c) ZSL London Zoo.

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Born Free video highlights how humans are to blame for COVID-19

News Story 1
 Wildlife charity Born Free has released a video emphasising the importance of changing the ways in which humans treat wildlife in order to prevent pandemics from occurring in the future.

The video, narrated by founder patron Joanna Lumley OBE, says: "To deal with the very immediate threat of another global catastrophe, we have to focus on ending the destruction and conversion of natural habitats and the devastating impact of the wildlife trade.

"The vast majority of these viruses originated in wild animals before infecting us. Destroying and exploiting nature puts us in closer contact with wildlife than ever before."

Born Free has compiled an online resource with information on how to take action and improve protections for wildlife here.

To view the video, please click here.

Images (c) Jan Schmidt-Burbach. 

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RVC opens 2021 Summer Schools applications

The Royal Veterinary College (RVC) has opened applications for its 2021 Summer Schools, with students in Years 10, 11 and 12 invited to apply.

Taking place between July and August 2021, the event gives budding vets from all backgrounds first-hand insight into what it's like to study at the Campus.

Much of this year's content is likely to be delivered virtually, including online lectures and practical demonstrations, but the RVC hopes to welcome each of the participants to campus for at least one day to gain some hands-on experience.

For more information about the Schools and to apply, visit: Applications close on the 2 March 2021.