Workers at London Zoo will today begin the arduous task of counting all the animals it houses.
At the last count, the zoo was home to over 15,000 different animals, including 752 different species.
The zoo takes stock every year in order to comply with its license and some years are easier than others.
On the morning after the last count a meerkat gave birth to a litter and this year the zoo has seen several new arrivals including lion cubs, komodo dragons and… more meerkats.
The zookeepers hope the Galapagos turtles, which arrived in July 2009, will start to breed soon. According to a zoo spokeserson the male turtle, Dirk, is mating energetically with 16-year-old Dolly, despite being her senior by 54 years.
The other new arrivals this year incude a pair of lion cubs who were the first to be born at the zoo for ten years, and played in the snow for the first time this winter.
A zoo spokesperson said: “Counting animals is easy, but the bug house takes a week in itself. The ants aren’t counted individually, they are counted as a colony, but the moon jellyfish are counted one by one.”