Image: © ZSL

Whipsnade Zoo Animals Have Their Yearly Weigh-In


Cale Russell


August 22, 2023 4:13 pm


City, State, Country

ZSL Whipsnade Zoo have begun the jumbo task of coaxing their 1000s of animals on to the scales as part of their annual weigh-in process. The checks help zookeepers and veterinarians track the health and wellbeing of more than 11,000 animals.  

Zookeeper Tim Savage said: “All of the animals at Whipsnade Zoo are weighed and measured regularly, but today's Annual Weigh In is an opportunity to review the information we’ve recorded, and ensure it is up-to-date and accurate. 

Standing up to have their measurements taken were European brown bears, Minnie, Mana and Naya - who arrived at the conservation zoo in April as part of a global breeding programme for the species. During their first weigh-in at the zoo the bears stood up against a large ruler allowing them to be measured. In exchange the bears received a small honey treat.

To ensure they can get the correct measurement the zoo make use of a range of tools. This includes an industrial scale for Bactrian camel, Oakley and specially designed perch scales for two-year-old Critically Endangered blue-throated macaw Stilton.

“With so many animals with different personalities, we have to come up with creative tactics to entice them onto the scales; from luring our leaping 2.5kg lemurs onto the scales in exchange for their favourite sweetcorn or using honey to encourage our European brown bears to stretch up to their full height against giant rulers. Minnie and Mana proved that bears really will do anything for a taste of honey!” Added Savage.

All the measurements collected during the weigh-in will be recorded in the Zoological Information Management System (ZIMS), a shared database allowing zoos across the globe to compare important information on thousands of threatened species.   

The checks have a wide range of purposes outside of allowing carers to keep track of their health. They can also identify pregnancies, inform daily care and assist with planning the international breeding programs for a range of threatened species.

ZSL Whispande Weigh In 2023

Panther chameleon ‘Peach’ completes her weigh-in at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo. She came in at just 60g. Her weigh in was completed by Keeper Elliott Rose. Image: © ZSL

ZSL Whispande Weigh In 2023

European Brown Bear ‘Mana’ is pictured helping keepers to measure her at the Annual Weigh In Image: © ZSL

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About the Author

Cale Russell

Cale has operated The Animal Facts since 2012. During this time he has volunteered and worked across a range of Australian Wildlife Parks something he continues to today. He holds a certificate in Animal Care and Husbandry.

Our Favourite Bactrian Camel Fact!

Two species of camel are recognized, the dromedary camel and the Bactrian camel. Bactrian camels are further divided in to a domestic and wild variety. Dromedary Camels have one hump while the Bactrian camel has two humps.

Image: © ZSL

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