1. ITV Report

Final farewell: Giraffe's goodbye to dying zoo keeper

A giraffe notices Mario and licks his face on the former zoo keeper's last visit. Photo: The Ambulance Wish Foundation

A zoo keeper who is dying from cancer received a touching farewell from a group of giraffes he cared for during his time at the zoo.

54-year-old Mario had been working at Rotterdam Zoo in the Netherlands for years before he was diagnosed with a brain tumour.

The terminally-ill patient asked hospital staff if he could be wheeled into the giraffe enclosure to say his last goodbyes on his birthday, along with his sister and her two children.

Mario with one of his giraffe's at Rotterdam zoo. Credit: The Ambulance Wish Foundation

The Ambulance Wish Foundation - a charity that specialises in takingnon-mobile terminally-ill patients to fulfill their dying wishes - grantedMario his last request and one of the animals leant down to give Mario a kisson the cheek.

Kees Veldboer, founder of the Ambulance Wish Foundation, told Dutch newspaper Algmeen Dagblad: “These animals recognised him, and felt that [things aren’t] going well with him.

“It was a very special moment, you could see him beaming. It was very nice that we were able to work on the last wish of this man,” he added.