Lord Mayor mucks in at Belfast Zoo

Published Monday, 17 September 2012
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The Lord Mayor of Belfast took charge of some altogether wilder affairs when he swapped his chains of office for a pair of wellies to work at Belfast Zoo.

On Monday DUP Alderman Gavin Robinson mucked in as he joined staff at Belfast zoo to look after the vast array of exotic animals who reside there.

Mayor Robinson fed the penguins, giraffes, gave an elephant a pedicure and even fed a pack of hungry lions.

Mr Robinson said the visit was all in the name of getting to know the roles of city council staff.

"We have a lot of staff, over two and a half thousand in Belfast City Council in a wide range of jobs across the city and so I wanted to see what they're like, the pressures that they go through and the service they provide," he said.

He said he has already went to see how waste is dealt with in the city and next month he is planning to visit the city's parks to see how they are maintained.

"I want to get a true sense of what it is we do as a council and what the staff goes through in individual jobs," the Mayor added.

"Very often I hear from the public's perspective of maybe how they believe they are not performing, and so I want to see what those individual jobs are like, the pressures are like and hopefully that's of value to the council.

"It's been great to see what goes on here at one of our top ten visitor attractions, over 300,000 people visited Belfast Zoo last year and it's a great facility - and one Belfast City Council provides."

The Alderman said that feeding the lions was one of his favourite jobs as well as feeding the baby chimpanzee in the ape house.

Belfast Zoo curator Alyn Cairns said the Lord Mayor hadn't done badly during his shift.

"Belfast City Council is a big organisation so for us its great to know we have the support of Belfast City Council, to have our Lord Mayor come up and work with us is absolutely brilliant," he said.

"He's probably used with the council chambers, you know, (to) getting thrown to the lions' den," he added.

© UTV News
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