Belfast Zoo curator joins Euro peers for Kilimanjaro quest
A curator from Belfast Zoo has joined a team of zookeepers from across Europe who are scaling Mount Kilimanjaro to raise money to save threatened polar species.
Andrew Hope is one of 11 conservationists who are heading to Tanzania later this month in a bid to raise funds for the Pole To Pole campaign.
The campaign by the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria is hoping to make more people aware of the impact that climate change is having on the polar caps and the wildlife that lives there, including the Emperor penguin and the polar bear.
Mr Hope will also be raising money for the conservation of some of the species he cares for at Belfast Zoo, including the Francois langurs and the crowned sifaka.
Belfast Zoo is one of only a handful of zoos across Europe to hold breeding collections of these primates.
"Climbing Kilimanjaro is something that I've always wanted to do as a personal quest," he said.
"The preparations have involved lots of trips to the gym – I was going a couple of times a week and I've stepped it up – and lots of hiking.
"I've had regular hikes across Cave Hill and climbed Slieve Donard recently."
The team will start the ascent on January 21 and it is expected to take seven days.
To donate money to Andrew, visit www. justgiving. com/Andrew-Hope7.