Baby giraffe born at Belfast Zoo

Baby giraffe born at Belfast Zoo

There was a surprise on Monday as some lucky visitors to the Belfast Zoo got a chance to witness the birth of a Rothschild's giraffe calf.

The latest addition to the zoo family was born to mother, 'Neja' and father, 'Finn'. Neja's pregnancy was first discovered by zoo keepers after a gestation period of approximately 15 months.She went into labour on Monday afternoon.The curator at Belfast Zoo, Alyn Cairns, spoke of her delight at the new arrival: "Keepers were onsite throughout the labour to ensure that everything went smoothly."Since the birth we have been giving the pair time to bond. For that reason, we have not yet had the opportunity to find out what sex the latest arrival is."Adding to this, Cairns said: "As we are extremely proud of being the only zoo in Northern Ireland, it is a tradition that we name our Giraffe calves after towns and villages in Northern Ireland and Ireland which begin with 'Bally'."If the calf is male it will be called 'Ballyrory' and if female it will be called 'Ballymena."The Rothschild's giraffe are one of the most endangered of the nine subspecies of giraffe and are part of a European breeding programme. The zoo first became home to giraffe in 1988 and since then 33 calves have been born at the Cave Hill site.

© UTV

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