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Who's who in Belfast Zoo?

Keepers at Belfast Zoo have been busy this January, performing their annual stock take of animals

BELFAST Zoo has been taking stock this month with nine gentoo penguins, two red pandas and a critically endangered Francois langur among the new additions recorded in its annual record-keeping exercise.

Keepers at the north Belfast attraction have been totting up every mammal, bird, reptile or amphibian that lives at the zoo.

The massive task is performed every January in compliance with legislation which requires zoos to keep precise records of every animal birth, death, arrival and departure.

Its latest stock take has revealed there are currently more than 600 animals and around 120 different species housed at the zoo.

The records are maintained and stored in a central global zoo database, which links more than 20,000 animal care professionals to around 1,100 zoos and aquariums across the world.

The stock-take records the new arrivals, departures, births and deaths over the past year.

Among changes to the Belfast Zoo stock has been the arrival of nine gentoo penguins, a blesbok, one red titi monkey, two red pandas, a giant anteater and a critically endangered Francois langur.

Zoo manager Alyn Cairns said: "Belfast Zoo is home to a number of extremely unique and endangered species and we take part in more than 60 breeding programmes.

"Some species that live at Belfast Zoo are even extinct in the wild.

"This task is vital in ensuring that the central databases are up to date and can therefore be used to run detailed and scientifically-based reports to support the breeding programmes which are proactive in safeguarding and conserving some of the world's most iconic species, as well as the lesser known wildlife that is, never the less, facing the very real threat of extinction."

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