Our 5 top animal tales from 2016

Top animal stories of 2016: Claudia the Cat, Animal Inventory and Dilber the Corgi (L-R). Photo: Arc

Top animal stories of 2016: Claudia the Cat, Animal Inventory and Dilber the Corgi (L-R). Photo: Archant - Credit: Archant

This year has seen many amazing animals from across the county hit the headlines for a range of reasons. Here's a look at our picks for the best of the bunch:

12 days of Christmas at Banham Zoo for the annual animal count. Animal records keeper Jade Ralph tak

12 days of Christmas at Banham Zoo for the annual animal count. Animal records keeper Jade Ralph takes notes on the number of animals in the zoo.PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY - Credit: SIMON FINLAY

5. The annual animal audit

The start of the year saw zoo keepers at Banham Zoo, near Diss and Africa Alive!, near Lowestoft, conduct their annual inventory which involved counting more than 200 different species across the two parks.

The information collected is entered into a database - the Zoological Information Management System - which is used by zoos around the world to share data about the different animals for conservation purposes.

Sarah Jermy, head keeper at Banham Zoo said that certain animals, such as the tigers, were easier to count than others, especially when there are more than 600 cockroaches.

Dilbert the Corgi. Photo: Sian Davies

Dilbert the Corgi. Photo: Sian Davies - Credit: Archant


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'Part of a keeper's job is to count their animals every day but this is obviously harder with the big groups of deer and flamingos we have,' she said.

4. Dilbert the Corgi

Back in June, a Cardigan Welsh Corgi from Norwich became an Internet sensation overnight, after a video of him having his ears wiggled went viral on social media, gaining almost 100,000 views on Facebook and being shared more than 1,000 times.

Dilbert now has a loyal following online and many of his supporters even stepped up to help him in October when he became poorly and needed surgery on his eye-catching ears.

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His owner, Sian Davies, a 24-year old Aviva worker, was shocked by the response to the video, she said: 'We never expected it to become so popular. Sometimes we'll spend ages planning our social media posts and think they'll work well but then nothing happens.

Claudia the cat was rescued after being stranded beneath a bridge in Norwich

Claudia the cat was rescued after being stranded beneath a bridge in Norwich - Credit: Archant

'With this video, we didn't really think much of it to be honest, but I woke up the next morning and my phone was going crazy.'

3. Claudia the Cat

March saw the triumphant rescue of Claudia the cat from Norwich, who had become stranded under a bridge in the fine city.

Two men paddled out in a dinghy to save the feline who was later reunited with her owner, Adrienne Hamilton of Stafford Street.

Mrs Hamilton had given up hope of ever finding her beloved pet after she went missing 15 months previously.

Jim Wells is the handler for Gizmo, a 9-week-old German Shephard trainee in Norfolk Police's dog uni

Jim Wells is the handler for Gizmo, a 9-week-old German Shephard trainee in Norfolk Police's dog unit - Credit: Archant

She said: 'I couldn't believe it when I heard that she had been found. It was lovely - she recognised me immediately and made this chirping noise she used to do when she saw me.'

2. Gizmo the Police Pup

In September, Norfolk police welcomed an incredibly cute new recruit in the form of Gizmo, a German Shepherd puppy about to embark on his training to become a police dog.

The Internet instantly fell in love with the constabulary's latest addition with @KezlarKezlar tweeting: 'OMG how cute! I'll help train Gizmo for free...he may disappear though!'

In an average month the Norfolk and Suffolk Joint Dog Unit attends 640 call-outs, conducts 122 drug searches and makes 122 arrests - so it looks like Gizmo will have his work cut out for him when he eventually gets his licence in September 2017.

Nelson the hedgehog.

Nelson the hedgehog. - Credit: Archant

1. Nelson the spineless Hedgehog

A little hedgehog from Hemsby captured the county's attention in October due to the fact that he is more or less spineless, with only a few on the lower half of his body.

Nelson the hedgehog is a resident at Foxy Lodge Wildlife Rescue, where each day a volunteer has to give him a massage with lotion to help combat his dry skin.

The rescue centre, which also homes a range of other animals, is run by Tonia and John Gardner, who met 10 years ago and soon discovered they shared a dream to set up a wildlife sanctuary.

• Which animal story was your favourite? Vote in our poll and let us know in the comments below.

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