What a year it has been for Chester Zoo.

The Upton charity has gone from strength to strength and is now the most visited paid-for attraction in the UK outside of London.

There were no shortage of cuddly and cute arrivals, including vital births of endangered species.

Here are the zoo's best moments of the year which were caught on camera:

Stock take

There are thousands of animals at the zoo, but they all count.

The year started, as it always does, with the annual stock take.

Keepers have the big task of noting every individual mammal, reptile, amphibian, fish, bird and invertebrate in their care.

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Black rhino debut

Gabe the Eastern black rhino caused a stir in January as the zoo's first major arrival of the year.

His birth was caught on CCTV as his mum Ema Elsa brought him into the world after a 15-month pregnancy.

Eastern black rhinos are listed by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as critically endangered in the wild.

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It takes tuatara to tango

A world first saw the endangered tuataras successfully bred outside of New Zealand.

A youngster weighing just 4.21 grams hatched after 238 days in incubation.

Keeper Isolde McGeorge said: "They are notoriously difficult to breed and it’s probably fair to say that I know that better than most as it has taken me 38 years to get here."

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TV famous

Not for the first time Chester Zoo hit the small screen as part of a Boots ad campaign.

It was aimed at persuading parents to get their children’s eyes checked free of charge.

In the ad, a Boots optometrist helps children visiting the zoo to spy elephants and lemurs through a giant pair of binoculars, with interchangeable lenses, to test their eyesight.

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Meerkat madness

Peeping out of their burrow for the first time in March were this trio of rascals.

Sometimes it is easy to forget meerkats do not just sell comparison websites.

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Hold on tight

A five-day-old Sulawesi crested macaque was spotted clinging tightly to its mum Camilla.

We think this video might take the award for cutest of the year.

Habitat loss and illegal poaching has reduced the estimated number of the species to less than 5,000, further emphasising the zoo's vital conservation work.

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Cooling off in style

High temperatures were not just a problem for the zoo's visitors in July.

To stop them getting hot and bothered, some animals get ice lollies to help them cool down.

The Asian elephants have a refreshing waterfall – like a giant shower – and a pool in which they can bathe to escape the heat.

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Swimming lessons

First-time parents Annie and Wallace took their short-clawed otter pups for their first ever dip in August.

As you can expect it was a tricky task to keep track of their famous five.

Asian short-clawed otters, which are found in various parts of Asia from India to the Philippines and China, are listed by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as vulnerable to extinction.

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Look away now

The arachnophobes among you might want to skip this one.

This video of 200 Montserrat tarantulas hatching sent shivers down the spines of the spider-fearing population.

But it was another world first for Chester Zoo and described as a 'huge achievement' for the breeding team.

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Halloween treats

The animals did not miss out on the fun over Halloween.

Pumpkins packed with honey-coated treats were put into their enclosures for them to play with.

Look out for Bernie the Andean bear getting stuck right in.

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Secret Life returns

Popular Channel 4 documentary The Secret Life of the Zoo returned to our screens in November.

It delves behind the scenes with both animals and their keepers to give a unique insight.

Crews managed to fantastic footage of the live birth of a babirusa piglet.

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A late arrival

Finishing off the year is another successful breeding story.

These Phillippine mouse deer are among the smallest hoofed animals in the world.

Parents Rita and Ramos celebrated the birth of their youngster, the first ever to be born in the UK.

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