Friday 15 December 2017

Children with ginger hair get red-carpet treatment at zoo

Patricia McDonagh

GINGER-haired children proudly flaunted their red locks this weekend as Dublin Zoo allowed them free entry to raise awareness of the plight of orangutans.

Zoo officials offered free entry to all red-haired children under 16 to highlight the endangered status of the gentle ape.

But children with dark or blond hair were also given free entry if they wore something red or orange.

Almost 8,000 people attended the zoo for Orangutan Awareness Week, part of a range of activities intended to educate people about the threats facing the animals. Orangutans share 97pc of human DNA, but are highly endangered, and could have less than 10 years left in the wild.

Despite some criticism for singling out red-haired children, Derry native Surney Duggan -- mother to red-headed Roan (3) and Einin (2) -- insisted the event was just a bit of fun." Some people were getting upset, but that is just silly. I really love red hair."

But Barry Gleeson, from Tyrellstown, Co Dublin, thought otherwise. "It is definitely controversial. It doesn't affect me because I am not red-haired. But you could get people who are sensitive and who are a little annoyed by it."

But Dublin Zoo team leader Ciaran McMahon confirmed it had attracted more people than usual. "We had around 3,000-4,000 on Saturday and it is looking like we beat that yesterday with 4,000-5,000. Usually we would have 1,500 people on a Saturday."

Irish Independent

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