Visitors heading to Belfast Zoo following its reopening will be able to meet the latest addition to its herd of endangered Rothschild’s giraffes.
Any giraffe calves born at the zoo are traditionally named after towns and villages that begin with Bally, so the latest little one – who stands at 5ft 2ins - is called Ballyronan, or Ronan for short.
“Little Ronan is one of the shortest giraffe calves ever born here at Belfast Zoo,” senior keeper Peter Cross said.
“However, he has one of the biggest personalities and is full of beans.
“He loves adventure and spends most of his day following his big brother George, exploring the paddock and generally getting up to mischief together.”
Zoo curator Raymond Robinson added: “Both mother and calf are doing exceptionally well.
“This is an exciting time in the giraffe house with the arrival of Ballyronan, and indeed across the wider zoo, as we have had a number of new additions including a Southern pudu and a pair of Scottish wildcat kittens.
“It is fantastic to be able to welcome visitors again and for everyone to enjoy our residents both new and old.”
The zoo had to temporarily close to the public as a precautionary measure in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
However, it has reopened with extra measures in place to protect staff and visitors.
Those planning to visit must pre-book tickets and then follow a new outdoor, one-way walking route on arrival which will reinforce social distancing.
New measures at Belfast Zoo
Visitor numbers limited to 1000 per day
All visitors must book tickets in advance
Visitors must follow a one-way system which is clearly marked
Floor markings illustrate 2-metre distances to manage queues
Protective screening is in place at all contact points
Many indoor animal areas remain closed
Keeper talks and animal feeding times are temporarily unavailable
Zoo café will offer takeaway options only
Seating will be available around the perimeter of the one-way system and at Treetop café.
Hand sanitiser stations are available throughout the zoo site