IN Noah's day it was easy - the animals came two by two into the Ark.

Things are a bit more complicated these days at Marwell Wildlife near Colden Common.

Registrar Debbie Pearson has been touring the zoo toting up the numbers of the creatures great and small.

From the towering giraffes to the industrious leaf cutter ants, the annual stock take must include them all.

More than 5,000 creatures across 140 species were recorded for this year’s check.

Debbie Pearson, the zoo’s animal registrar, said: “The annual inventory is completed every January in accordance with zoo legislation. This requires each animal collection to keep exact records of each animal species, births, deaths, arrivals into and departures out of the collection. All of this information is then logged into the International Species Information System.

“As well as being able to show inspectors the report, the audit is also shared with zoos around the world. This helps them to manage breeding programmes for endangered species. The audit also helps zoos understand more about how well breeding programmes are working and how much money is likely to be spent on food, bedding and medicine throughout the next year.”

Marwell has seen a number of new arrivals this year, including a giant anteater baby, snow leopard cubs, Arabian oryx calves, Scimitar-horned oryx calves, penguins and, most recently, a pygmy hippo.

The zoo has also welcomed an Amur tiger as part of the European Endangered Breeding Programme.