Belfast Telegraph

A tall order as Belfast zoo visitor captures the surprise arrival of a baby giraffe

By Claire Williamson

Unsuspecting visitors to Belfast Zoo got a truly wild experience on Monday afternoon as a day trip quickly became an experience of a lifetime.

Checking out the rest of the zoo was put on hold as tourists and locals alike could hardly believe their eyes when a giraffe gave birth right in front of them.

Among them was Johnny Megarry (32), from Cookstown, who took a series of pictures of the natural wonder. At around 2.30pm, he was sitting down for a picnic when a zookeeper ran past saying, "has it happened yet? has it happened yet?"

Intrigued, they followed to see what the commotion was about. As they arrived at the giraffe enclosure, it became clear what was happening and right before their eyes a baby giraffe was born.

Mr Megarry said: "We just arrived and saw the two back legs hanging out.

"It was very lucky and I had to prop myself up against a fence to make sure the camera was steady.

"It was just complete and utter luck. Right time, right place."

After a few moments of grooming from its mother, the calf took its first faltering steps in front of goggle-eyed spectators.

Mr Megarry said many of the zookeepers chose to stay on for a closer look at the new arrival, which came just before 5pm.

He said: "They said it could be an hour, two hours, a day (before it was born). We just couldn't leave, and we had the rest of the zoo to do within an hour.

"When it was born, the zookeepers were communicating to each other – (asking) was it okay, was it breathing – and then all of a sudden it tried to get up and everyone was just willing it to be okay.

"It was a long wait but it was worth it."

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