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Elephant at Dublin Zoo

Elephant at Dublin Zoo

Elephant at Dublin Zoo

DESPITE being some of the few people working on Christmas Day, the keepers in Dublin Zoo have said they would not have it any other way.

The zoo will be closed to the public on Christmas Day and St Stephen's Day, but the staff still have to work as the animals need to be cared for.

But keeper Ciaran McMahon said it feels like his team get to have an exclusive day out with the animals.

"When I started in the job 20 years ago, Christmas was a bit of a novelty, but there's always a great atmosphere," said Ciaran.

"Your colleagues are happy, everyone is in great form and it's just a very happy time of year."

Ciaran and his colleagues have to tend to the animals and maintain a constant presence in the zoo throughout Christmas in case of an emergency.

preparation

As a result, a lot of preparation goes into making sure everyone gets enough time off.

"The keepers will come in at about 7.30am on Christmas morning and work for three or three-and-a-half hours to get the jobs done - the cleaning, the feeding, any medication that needs to be given to the animals is sorted out," said Ciaran.

"Another team leader will come in during the afternoon and do the later shift and then our second team come in."

Ciaran said it is never a chore, and this year they will get to spend Christmas with some new arrivals at the zoo.

"We've had three baby elephants and it will be their first Christmas and we have had lion cubs, red pandas, baby giraffes, a zebra and a lot of baby animals that are going to celebrate their first Christmas here and that makes it very special for the staff too," he said.

hnews@herald.ie


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