KEEPERS at West Midland Safari Park have been busy counting their many critters as part of their animal stock take.

The annual count includes every creature at the park, from their huge white rhinos, to their colony of tiny leaf cutter ants.

Last year saw the arrival of a host of newborn animals to count, including Granville, the baby southern white rhino, Gerald the Rothschild's giraffe, and two Grévy’s zebra foals - Grace and Gamba.

Angela Potter, Head of Wildlife said: "As part of our zoo licensing requirements, from 1 January, we complete an audit and produce a report for our Local Authority, so keepers have been out and about counting all of our animals, from elephants down to ants.

"Our wildlife administrator, Rosie Wilkes, then carefully checks our animal record system to ensure the census adds up correctly.

"Some animal groups, such as our white rhino herd of eight animals, are much easier to count than our colony of Madagascar hissing cockroaches.

"Although the audit is undertaken once per year, the animal keepers keep track of the animals in their care on a daily basis."

The total number of animals is yet to be confirmed, but as there are over 120 different species at the Park, the figure is likely to be over 800 animals.

West Midland Safari Park is currently open on weekends only for Wild Winter Safari until February 10. The Park opens daily from February 16.

Further information and tickets are available from the Park’s website or by telephone 01299 402114.