This mammoth task takes considerable time because there are around 14,000 animals that call the London Zoo their home.
The point of the annual weigh-in is so that zoo keepers and animal conservationists can keep their records up to date. All the information is added to the Zoological Information Management System, before it is shared with zoos all over the world.
This is vital to ensure the care and wellbeing of all animals and, in particular, any endangered species.
Speaking about the annual weigh-in, the head of zoological operations, Angela Ryan, explained that collecting vital statistics about the animals is a crucial annual task.
“We record the vital statistics of every animal at the zoo – from the tallest giraffe to the tiniest tadpole,” she said.
Ryan added that this information provided staff with important insights that could help keep the animals happy and healthy. She added: “Having this data helps to ensure that every animal we care for is healthy, eating well and growing at the rate they should – a key indicator of health and wellbeing.”
Ryan also said that by measuring the animals, the zoo could keep track of potential pregnancies that are crucial to conservation programmes among threatened species. “For example, a growing waistline can help us to detect and monitor pregnancies, which is vitally important as many of the species we care for are threatened in the wild and part of international conservation breeding programmes – London Zoo coordinates the global programme for Sumatran tigers, for example.”
To complete the weigh-in effectively, zoo keepers had to come up with some clever tactics so they can collect accurate measurements. For instance, keepers tricked the Humboldt penguins to walk over the scales as they lined up for their morning breakfast. Many treats were probably involved in the name of animal science.