Fota Wildlife Park have just unveiled their latest arrival, Cónan not the barbarian but a 5ft tall male giraffe calf that was born on August 5th at Cork's number one visitor attraction.
The not so little giraffe that was born on August 5th to mother Roisin and father Tadgh, has been introduced to the rest of the herd in the large African Savannah area at the park this week. This is the second giraffe birth this year and head warden Willie Duffy is delighted with the progress so far "he is a strong little guy and that is why we are able to put him out with the rest of the herd within two weeks of his birth, as he was strong we wanted to give him a name to go with it so Conan the Barbarian came to mind but there is an Irish tradition here so we settled for Cónan which is a name that Aidan one of the wardens has been suggesting for a long time".
The birth of Cónan is Roisin's ninth and could be one of her last as she approaches the big 21 later this year. Cónan won't be the only baby on show at the African Savannah in Fota Wildlife Park with his half brother four month old Setanta and Zedward the baby Zebra all vying for the oooh's and ahh's from the visitors of Cork's number one visitor attraction.
Speaking about the arrivals Mr Duffy added "it's been a busy year up at the Savannah with two giraffe calves, a baby zebra and 5 ostrich chicks all arriving in the last four months which makes for a great sight when you walk in the new entrance at the park especially as you can see these beautiful animals right in front of you, for a minute you forget you are in Cork and instead think you are in Africa." The birth of Conan now brings the number of Giraffes at the park up to ten which includes the new male Walder the tallest of the herd who arrived in March from South Lakes in the UK and is settling in great with his new family.
Cónan now becomes the youngest of a herd of Rothschild giraffe at Fota Wildlife Park, which are one of nine races of giraffe found in Africa. The Rothschild Giraffe has been exterminated from much of their former habitat, however they can still be seen in western Kenya and eastern Uganda.
This year has been another great year for Fota Wildlife Park with visitor numbers up 5% at the end of July compared to 2010 which was the park's record year. Head of Marketing for the park Stephen Ryan is delighted with the figures "to be 5% up half way through the summer is remarkable considering the weather has been so poor since early May but we believe that we are becoming more of a national attraction rather than local as people from all parts of the country are visiting the park this year and we see evidence of this with hits on our website which has had a 43% increase on the same period last year."
Fota Wildlife Park is currently the number one attraction in Ireland's South West Region of Cork & Kerry with 377,000 visitors in 2010. The Park officially opened a brand new entrance complex earlier this year aswell as hosting the prestigious BIAZA (British Association of Zoo & Aquariums) annual conference in June.