The wardens in Fota Wildlife Park are celebrating the birth of a giraffe calf Aoife, the first giraffe born in the park since July 4th 2008.
This however was no ordinary birth in the park as Aoifes mother Roisin is also a grandmother to three other giraffes in the park making Aoife an auntie. Head Warden at the park Willie Dufy added that there was a huge sigh of relief on the arrival, "with Roisin being 19 we were worried about her giving birth and how the stress would impact both on her but also on the little calf but she coped very well."
Roisin had carried Aoife for an incredible 15 months and like all giraffe mothers gave birth to Aoife whilst standing. This meant that the first experience Aoife had was a 6ft drop to the ground.
Although giraffes are more commonly known for living in Africa, the wardens at the park like to name the Cork born giraffes with Irish names. "We like tradition in the park and it was decided in the early days of the park that we would give our giraffes Irish names so Aoife Joins mum Roisin and dad Tadhg in continuing that tradition" added Mr Duffy.
The last giraffe calf born in the park was Aoifes brother Finn who will be two years old in July. Despite the rare occurrence this is Roisins eight calf which is a remarkable achievement considering how endangered the Rothschild Giraffe is today.
Aoife 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. Exterminated from much of their former habitat, they can now be seen in western Kenya and eastern Uganda.
The park also saw some magic yesterday when Keith Barry paid a visit to the 6 remaining contestants of the Wild Life competition which comes to a close with a grand final on Easter Monday. Keith was on hand to see the contestants search through animal faeces as part of their daily task and also surprised the visitors to the oasis cafe with some magic tricks.