Belfast Zoo’s latest addition, baby giraffe Gilbert, has been finding his feet and stepping out to meet the public.
The endangered Rothschild’s giraffe was born to mum Daisy and dad Finn on Sunday 7 May.
He was named Gilbert as all Belfast Zoo’s baby giraffes have followed a tradition of being named after towns and villages in Northern Ireland and the Republic which begin with ‘Bally’.
Zoo manager Alyn Cairns said: “Since we became home to the species in 1988, we have celebrated the arrival of 34 calves and we are delighted to welcome little Gilbert to the family!”
Zoo curator Raymond Robinson added: “The calf and mum have been spending some time inside together to bond, but are now starting to venture outside with the rest of the herd.”
In the wold, the Rothschild subspecies of giraffe only exists in small numbers within protected areas in Kenya and northern Uganda.
Alyn Cairns added: In fact, some estimates suggest that less than 1,600 still remain in the wild due to poaching and habitat loss - factors which are pushing this iconic species ever closer to extinction.”
Belfast Zoo works collaboratively with other zoos around the world and takes part in a European breeding programme.