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New Educational All-weather Viewing Pod Opens at Fota Wildlife Park State-of-the-art weatherproof viewing area overlooking the Giraffe Paddock now open to the public
Today the President of the Zoological Society of Ireland and Board Member of Fota Wildlife Park, Michael Daly, along with the Chairman of Fota Wildlife Park, Neil O’Carroll and Director of Fota Wildlife Park, Sean McKeown, officially cut the ribbon, opening a new indoor educational pod looking out over the African Savannah paddock at the iconic East Cork visitor attraction. The new viewing area was built into a section of the paddock where some of Fota’s best known and endangered species live including the Rothschild’s giraffe, Scimitar-horned oryx, ostrich and Grant’s zebra.
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. 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 individuals. The exterior slopes of the pod have been planted with wildflowers, this is 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 today at the opening of the viewing pod, “We are delighted to be able to open this educational observation area today at the end of our summer season as it offers 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.” He continued, “The giraffe viewing pod is part of our 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 - this will be announced next month when we will be welcoming a new primate species to Fota Wildlife Park.”
Part of the not-for-profit Fota Wildlife Park’s key objectives is to educate, highlight and contribute towards conservation – they do that through their Sandford-award winning educational department which welcomes over 15,000 students a year via their school and colleges programmes. By participating in conservation breeding they are also helping to restore populations of some species while protecting the very survival of others including working with other zoological institutions to reintroduce several species that had become extinct in the wild such as the Scimitar-horned oryx and the European bison.