Staff keep count of the animals at Africa Alive! in Kessingland

Jade Ralph from Africa Alive taking the annual animal stock take. PHOTO: Nick Butcher

Jade Ralph from Africa Alive taking the annual animal stock take. PHOTO: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

598, 599...600! Staff at Africa Alive! breathed a sigh of relief after counting a total of 600 cockroaches as part of their annual inventory.

All of the other animals in the Kessingland park - including lions, giraffes and lemurs - have also been tallied up by zookeepers, who were also excited to record the three new fossa that were born in July this year at the park, managed by the Zoological Society of East Anglia.

The information is collated through a database, the Zoological Information Management System, which is used by zoos around the world so the information about different animals can be shared for conservation purposes.

The keepers have also been recording information on the animals' health along with any new arrivals, departures, births and deaths over the course of the year.

Jade Ralph, animal records keeper, said: 'It is easy to visually count the animals like giraffes and tigers but when counting the love birds for example, as there were so many of them, it was extremely difficult as they cannot be easily handled.

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'It takes a few weeks in total to collate all of the information, which is then shared with zoos globally.

'I am normally based in the office, so it was a welcome change for me and I really enjoyed it.'

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Africa Alive! is also home to animals including the critically endangered Somali wild ass and the endangered African hunting dogs.

For more information about the park, visit

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