Jungle bells ring to welcome exotic new arrivals
A LITTLE unsteady on her feet but already standing tall, a giraffe calf named Cuileann, the Irish for Holly, was unveiled to visitors to Fota Wildlife Park.
She was born the week before Christmas and is the third giraffe calf in five months at the east Cork park, following the births of Casey in July and Aoibhinn in August.
Cuileann was born to mum Roisin and dad Tadgh, the oldest giraffes at the park. Head warden at the park Willie Dufy added that there was a huge sigh of relief on the arrival.
"With Roisin being 21 we were worried about her giving birth and how the stress would impact on her and the little calf but she coped very well."
The giraffe baby boom at Fota has been mirrored at Dublin Zoo with a raft of new arrivals enjoying their first Christmas there.
Young DJ, the baby sealion, twin red pandas Tara and Nima, lioness sisters Sita and Suri, meerkat pups and Marmaduke Jnr the tapir all joined the zoo population this year.
The animals were at least guaranteed a quiet Christmas as the zoo was closed to the public and only reopened yesterday. But keepers were on duty to attend to any needs they might have.
"Sure, every day is Christmas Day to them," added zookeeper Eddie O'Brien.