New all-weather view­ing stand opens at Fota

Irish Examiner - County - - News - Sean O’Rior­dan

A new all-weather view­ing stand has been opened at Fota Wildlife Park over­look­ing the graz­ing area used by Roth­schild’s gi­raffe, Scim­i­tarhorned oryx, os­trich and Grant’s ze­bra.

The new view­ing area was built into a sec­tion of the pad­dock where some of Fota’s best known and en­dan­gered species are based.

The view­ing pod con­tains an ed­u­ca­tional video and pan­els fea­tur­ing de­tails of the var­i­ous species liv­ing in the African Sa­van­nah pad­dock, in­clud­ing de­tails of the gi­raffe herd’s in­di­vid­u­als.

The ex­te­rior slopes of the pod have been planted with wild­flow­ers, one of the two ded­i­cated wildflower plots at Fota Wildlife Park and is part of the cam­paign to ad­dress pol­li­na­tor de­cline in con­junc­tion with the All-Ire­land Pol­li­na­tor Plan 2015-2020.

Di­rec­tor of Fota Wildlife Park Sean McKe­own said the park was de­lighted to pro­vide the ed­u­ca­tional ob­ser­va­tion area, at the end of the sum­mer sea­son, as it of­fered a piv­otal view­ing point in all types of weather.

“Vis­i­tors are wel­come to linger here and can ob­serve and learn more about the Roth­schild’s gi­raffes and the other species in the pad­dock in to­tal com­fort.”

Con­struc­tion of the view­ing area started in April this year and the over­head walk­way, which of­fers panoramic views of the gi­raffe and bi­son habi­tats, opened in July.

Mr McKe­own said the gi­raffe view­ing pod was part of the wildlife park’s con­tin­ued de­vel­op­ments and im­prove­ments in­clud­ing plans for a bird hide and ob­ser­va­tion deck over Cork Har­bour and a new pri­mate house and view­ing area which is in the fi­nal stages of com­ple­tion.

Full de­tails of the planned new pri­mate house will be out­lined later this month when a new pri­mate species is in­tro­duced to Fota Wildlife Park.

Zoo­log­i­cal So­ci­ety of Ire­land pres­i­dent Michael Daly, along with fel­low board mem­bers of Fota Wildlife Park Neil O’Car­roll and Sean McKe­own at the of­fi­cial open­ing of the new view­ing area.

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