Baby giraffe ‘Ballymena’ is a girl

The new baby giraffe at Belfast zoo called  'Ballymena'.
The new baby giraffe at Belfast zoo called 'Ballymena'.

Belfast Zoo welcomed a Rothschild’s giraffe calf on Monday, September 1 and keepers are delighted to announce that the infant is a girl.

The lofty newcomer, who has been called ‘Ballymena’, was born to proud parents, Neja and Finn.

Zoo curator, Alyn Cairns, said: ‘It is a tradition at Belfast Zoo, that any new giraffe calves born here are named after towns and villages in Northern Ireland, which begin with ‘Bally’. The keepers, who care for the giraffes, have been thinking of names throughout Neja’s pregnancy and have selected ‘Ballymena’. This will be shortened to ‘Mena’ which coincidentally means ‘love’ in German.”

Rothschild’s giraffe are one of the most endangered of the nine subspecies of giraffe and are part of a European breeding programme. Belfast Zoo first became home to giraffe in 1988 and since then 33 calves have been born at the Cave Hill site.

You can support the care of Belfast Zoo’s giraffe herd by taking part in the animal adoption scheme. Visit www.belfastzoo.co.uk/adoption or call 028 90 776 277 extension 229 for more details.