Leap year man trap at zoo

WOMEN with one eye on the altar are expected to spring into action at the end of this month to avail of the tradition that allows females to propose to their partners during a Leap Year.

Those well-known matchmakers at Dublin Zoo are hoping to continue to play Cupid by encouraging the ladies of Ireland to keep up the age-old custom.

The zoo is pairing up with Appleby Jewellers to launch a competition to reward women who take the great leap of faith by proposing to their man on February 29 which occurs once every four years.

The carrot, or indeed carat, is the prize of a fabulous diamond engagement ring for the winning entry.

The competition is also being used to promote the zoo's Love Trail.

All visitors to the Zoological Gardens between now and the end of the month will receive a free storybook and sweets.

The Love Trail offers amazing facts about the love and mating habits of various animals, as well as information about the reproductive systems of trees.

Yesterday, model Kelly O'Byrne braved entry to the lemur enclosure to pose with the ring-tailed animals to help launch the competition.

Entrants are asked to submit a photo of themselves and their partners.

However, the key element in the competition is to outline in less than 30 words which animal in Dublin Zoo is most like their man.

"One thing for sure, whatever the personality, there is an animal in Dublin Zoo to match it.

"All entries will be considered the more wild and wonderful, the better," said a zoo spokesperson.

Whether disgruntled fiancées fed up at playing the waiting game will draw parallels between their menfolk and the baboons, skunks and pigs remains uncertain.

However, the organisers are hoping that the competition will result in more l'amour than lemurs.

Anyone wishing to enter the competition can e-mail their application to leapyearproposal@dublinzoo.ie or write to Leap Year Proposal, c/o Dublin Zoo, Phoenix Park, Dublin 8.

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