Baby giraffe is born at Fota as the wildlife park commemorates its 40th birthday
By The Headlines, June 23, 2023 | 03:31 PM
Today, FOTA Wildlife Park welcomed a new baby giraffe to mark both its 40th anniversary and its position as the premier breeding ground for endangered species in the world.
With less than 50 species when it first opened in 1983 on the former Smith-Barry estate in east Cork, the facility is currently the biggest tourist destination in the region.
Today, Fota is home to 109 species (1,096 animals), many of which are at grave risk of extinction.
Fota's animal attractions now feature all "big cats," including the lion and the tiger, after beginning with cheetahs.
Sean McKeown, the park's director, described it as "a very proud day" for the park and its efforts in preventing the extinction of several species over the years.
Many cheetahs, European bison, and giraffe have been reintroduced to protected areas of the wild as a result of Fota's breeding work with these animals.
A total of 12 million people have travelled to Fota since 1983.
Fota has acted as a kind of maternity home for endangered species throughout those four decades, giving birth to 240 cheetahs, 72 Rothschild's giraffes, and 60 European bison.
Without counting the 7,500 Natterjack toadlets that were released, 7,914 distinct species have called Fota Wildlife Park their home over the past 40 years, some for a little period and others for their entire lives.
One of the first animal species to enter Fota Wildlife Park in 1983 was the Rothschild's giraffe, followed by the zebra and cheetah.
Fota found it ironic that the announcement of the birth of a new baby giraffe (Giraffa Camelopardalis Rothschildi) coincided with its 40th-anniversary celebrations.
On April 30, the young female giraffe was born to Clodagh and Ferdie.
Now, a contest will be organized to let the public choose her name.