Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 7 October 2015

Belfast Zoo has wooden breeds on show

By Linda McKee

Published 20/09/2007

Sea lions, rhinos, lions and giant spiders have invaded Belfast Zoo. But don't be afraid to approach them - their bark is worse than their bite!

The animals in question are magnificent wooden structures created by chainsaw artist Ivan McNally. They were sculpted for the zoo courtesy of funds donated by the Friends of Belfast Zoo.

Among the army of wooden animals are a giant barn owl and a huge nine-foot spider, along with a sea lion, a rhino and a lion.

The Friends of Belfast Zoo are a group of volunteers who have been playing an important role at the zoo for the past 10 years, fundraising, helping to organise events and even starting a children's club which works towards increasing young people's knowledge and understanding of animals.

A spokesman for the zoo said: "This club allows children to help in enriching the animals' lives, for example, making fruit kebabs for the cockatoos or stuffing sacks with hay and dried fruit and nuts for the chimpanzees to play with.

"In the past the Friends have raised over £28,000 for a number of vital projects including the building of an enclosure for the moloch gibbons, preparing for the imminent arrival of the coatis and the building of their enclosure and the purchase of Vishesh the elephant.

"Their latest project has been fund-raising to purchase these remarkable new sculptures for the zoo site."

The zoo said that without the Friends these projects wouldn't be possible and their dedication and commitment is greatly appreciated.

For information on how to join the Friends of Belfast Zoo, visit or

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