Animal inventory at the zoo
Campaigns | 14 January 2022
In the final weeks of last year, our team was once again busy taking stock of all the animals in the zoo. As well as taking a full inventory, they also double-checked the zoo’s total population of animals. And the numbers for the 2021 animal inventory are now in: as of 31 December 2021, Dresden Zoo was home to a total of 60 mammal species, 79 bird species, 34 reptile species, 40 fish species, 15 invertebrate species and 7 amphibian species. The 235 species comprise a total population of around 1,370 individual animals, and include some species that first arrived at the zoo in 2021. Among the new additions to our zoo last year were red-winged starlings, marbled ducks and two bat-eared foxes.
The first animals to be inventoried were the red pandas, and this involved weighing our male, Manchu, and our female, Louanne. However, the pair were uneasy about all the photographers. Manchu was willing to approach our keeper Yvonne Luger, but he was not brave enough to get onto the scales. Previous attempts had been more successful: Manchu is 3.8 kilograms, and much lighter and smaller than Louanne, who weighs in at 5.4 kilograms. So it’s not difficult to tell the two apart.
Next it was the turn of the meerkats, and our keeper Ben Preussler was assisted by Detlef Sittel, Chairman of the zoo’s Supervisory Board and First Mayor of the City of Dresden. They recorded a total of 15 meerkats, six males and nine females. Differentiating individual animals can sometimes be tricky, even for our keepers. However, the oldest members of the group – Hilde, Horst and Hans – are very easy to identify. The three meerkats are also celebrating a very special birthday this year: they will all turn 10 in February and June.
In business terms, it was a year of highs and lows for us. Having had to close for over four months due to the lockdown, the zoo reopened on 15 March with a strict hygiene strategy and a maximum number of visitors permitted at any one time. But despite all the restrictions, the zoo welcomed a total of 575,595 visitors in 2021. “In the months when people were able to visit the zoo with virtually no restrictions, it was a very popular destination, and we even had more visitors than during the same period before the pandemic,” says zoo director Karl-Heinz Ukena.
There were also clear signals from government that since zoos were popular and attractive leisure facilities, they would be maintained and supported on a long-term basis. The support grant of 900,000 Euros we received from the Free State of Saxony was tremendously helpful in mitigating the 1 million Euro we lost in revenue as a result of the pandemic. “The City of Dresden has been another strong partner for us; not only have they provided us with financial support, they have also promised to invest in the construction of a new orang-utan house.” In addition to the major orang-utan house project, the red kangaroo enclosure is also due to be renovated this year.