'Famous five' take ferry to Fota
Published 28/07/2011 | 05:00
THEY couldn't fly -- so they had to get the ferry.
A quintet of adorable baby ostriches -- affectionately dubbed the 'The Famous Five' -- arrived in Fota Wildlife in Cork after travelling across the Irish Sea from Bristol in the UK.
Their arrival was part of a deal to relocate a female meerkat who had fallen out with "the mammy" of the pack.
The obstreperous female had to pack her bags along with two rodents and make the journey over to Noah's Ark Zoo in Bristol.
In return, Fota welcomed the five baby ostriches, who had become homeless after they hatched earlier this month.
"We have them in a pen, just in case any giraffes might step on them," wildlife worker Stephen Ryan said.
Ostriches are the largest and heaviest birds in the world and are usually found in the Savannas and Sahel regions of Africa.
An ostrich egg can weigh up to 20 times that of a chicken's, making it the largest egg in the animal kingdom. Surprisingly, the father ostrich rears the chicks, teaching them to feed and defending them from any predators.
The five baby ostriches at Fota will eventually grow to a height of 2.75 metres and weigh in excess of 150kg.
Fota has become synonymous with ostriches since its foundation in 1983.
The new arrivals will make it the largest collection of its kind in the country. Fota is open every day until 6pm.