Zoo keepers will be getting their abacuses out to count the animals at their attractions in an annual survey.

Staff at Drusilla’s Park near Alfriston are having to take stock of the 1,000 or so animals and 138 species at the animal park.

The laborious process will be a busy one this year with the zoo greeting new arrivals through 2012 including black lemur, colobus monkey, prairie dog, flamingo and penguin babies.

The counting process, which could last throughout the month, includes accounting for every animal including hundreds of hissing cockroaches which will be cleared out of their enclosure while it is cleaned and then counted back in.

The count is a legal requirement for members of the British and Irish Association of Zoo and Aquariums which also includes Tilgate Nature Centre and WWT Arundel in Sussex.