Sunday 19 November 2017

A million visitors, 66 newborns, a primate forest... and one busy zoo

African painted dogs. For further information visit and
African painted dogs. For further information visit and
Asian Elephant Calf Born at Dublin Zoo

Jane O'Faherty

After 66 new arrivals and well over one million visitors, 2016 was a record-breaking year for Dublin Zoo.

Over 1,100,000 people visited the Phoenix Park attraction over the course of 12 months.

Staff welcomed numerous new additions across several rare species.

The baby boom included seven African painted dogs, a southern white rhinoceros calf, an Asian elephant calf and three western lowland gorillas. All these animals are endangered in the wild.

They were joined by eight grey wolves, 28 Tamworth piglets, three Sulawesi crested macaques, one Goeldi’s monkey, three common peafowl, four waldrapp ibis and six white-cheeked pintail ducks.

Ciaran McMahon, a team leader at Dublin Zoo, said each female would be weighed regularly to detect any possible pregnancies.

Rhino Calf Born at Dublin Zoo
Rhino Calf Born at Dublin Zoo

“The planning (for a new arrival) would start as soon as we know there’s an embryo,” he told the Irish Independent.

Each enclosure is equipped with cameras, which beam live videos to the team’s computers and phones.

“We have CCTV cameras to monitor their progress,” he said. “We can watch them, but from a distance.

“When an animal goes into labour, we leave the lights off and let the herd take over. As we always say, they do a lot better than we could. Of course, there are times when we do have to intervene, and we are always ready to help when that happens.”

After the excitement of more than 60 new charges, Mr McMahon said his own personal highlight was the addition of a new habitat

for the zoo’s orangutans.

Baby Gorilla Born at Dublin Zoo
Baby Gorilla Born at Dublin Zoo

The €3m home for the endangered primates opened this summer, attracting widespread attention from the international zoo community.

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