Baby giraffes at Fota need names, but only Irish ones

There are two baby giraffes in Fota Wildlife Park with no names. Can you help?

Baby giraffes at Fota need names, but only Irish ones

There are two baby giraffes in Fota Wildlife Park with no names. Can you help?

The wildlife park in Co Cork have just unveiled the latest arrivals who were born at the end of January.

They are both 5ft tall and one's a boy, the other a girl, and they become the youngest of a herd of Rothschild giraffe at the park.

Mother Bláithín and father Walder welcomed their girl on January 25, while the boy was born to mother Sapphire and father Tadgh two days later.

To celebrate, Fota have set up a competition inviting the public and schools to come up with a name for the calves.

You may remember they did the same for a cheetah cub born in October last year.

Head of marketing at Fota wildlife Park, Stephen Ryan, said: "The public love coming up with names for the babies here at the park so we are going to let them come up with one name and school kids to come up with the other via their teacher."

There is one rule, though.

Stephen said: "We have a tradition of giving an Irish name to every giraffe calf born at the park so that is the only condition we require when entering."

The competition is open to everyone via the education section on Fotawildlife.ie.

The closing date for the competition is Friday, April 4.

The newborn female giraffe with its mother Bláithín at Fota Wildlife Park. Pic: Neil Danton

There are two prizes up for grabs. One is for one lucky person who will get to bring their family or friends to the park for a VIP Family Experience where they will get the opportunity to feed a giraffe and see what happens behind the scenes at Fota.

The other prize is for a class suggesting a winning name. They will get a class tour behind the scenes at the park where they will get to experience the new S.O.S (save our species) workshops at the park. The winning class will also get to go behind the scenes and see some of the giraffes inside their house at Fota Wildlife Park.

If you want to treat your mammy on Mothers Day, you can bring her to see the two calves at the park as they be will outside this weekend with the rest of the herd.

We asked Fota about their view on Copenhagen Zoo's decision to put down a lion this week and a giraffe last month, but they declined to do so saying: "We would prefer not to comment on an issue from another Zoo or Park."

Giraffe facts:

* Giraffes are the tallest land mammal. They are often called the watchtowers of the Serengeti, helping to keep track of predators. The Rothschild giraffe is taller than any other sub-species.

* The males can grow up to 5.9m in height and are capable of attaining weights in excess of 2000kg.

* The giraffe is a strict herbivore eating leaves and buds from trees. It digests its food in a chambered stomach.

* Females give birth to a single calf after a gestation period of 15 months. A mother giraffe often gives birth while standing so that the newborn's first experience outside the womb is a 1.8 m (6 ft.) drop.

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