Fota Wildlife Park staff were not only celebrating Christmas this week, they were also celebrating the 21st birthday of Nollaig the Giraffe.
Nollaig like all the giraffes born at Fota Wildlife Park was given an Irish name as she arrived during the festive season back in 1989, thus the wardens called her after Christmas. Head Warden at the Park Willie Duffy has a special fondness for Nollaig "I remember when she was born so I have seen her grow up, give birth and also become a grandmother so it's great to celebrate her 21st".
Nollaig is one of 8 Rothschild Giraffes at the park which are the tallest of all giraffes, and so the tallest of all living animals in the world. The Rothchild Giraffe hails from East and Southern Africa in the countries of Kenya, Uganda and Sudan.
The park were going to have a birthday party but with the weather being so indifferent of late they are instead treating Nollaig to extra willow, hay and fruit to eat. The park's head of marketing Stephen Ryan said "if people would like to post their birthday wishes they can do so on www.facebook.com/fotawildlife or the little one's can post in their birthday cards and we will display them in the park."
The park is open during the winter and has fun activities for little kids lined up indoors at the Arctic Experience from now until the 9th of January with the park's mascot Larry the Lemur. Fota Wildlife Park is open Monday to Saturday from 10 - 4.30pm and Sunday 11am - 4.30 with the last admission one hour before closing.