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Wednesday, 17 July, 2002, 13:34 GMT 14:34 UK
Zoo sticks its neck out on giraffe
Sapphire gets a lick of approval from her mum
Sapphire gets a lick of approval from her mum
Edinburgh Zoo is quietly confident that its latest delivery will help entice more visitors through the gates.

Staff at the zoo hope that Sapphire, a 6ft baby giraffe, will prove to be a good luck charm and attract crowds to Scotland's second biggest visitor attraction over the coming months.

Despite being a bit wobbly on her feet, the new arrival made her first public appearance at the zoo.

Headkeeper Darren McGarry described the giraffe as "a little gem" and said that he expected lots of people to flock to see her.

Sapphire
The zoo hopes Sapphire will woo the crowds

"Sapphire is a real gem, and as her mother is called Jade we thought we'd name her after a gemstone too, though I think she'll get nicknamed Sapphy," he said.

"Giraffes are great to work with but they can be difficult to treat if they get ill because they are so tall.

"They are also more prone to eye problems but in general they do very, very well in captivity.

"Giraffes are also real favourites with visitors because they are so cute, so we expect lots of people to come along in the next few weeks to see our new bundle of joy."

Edinburgh Zoo, which was built in 1913, celebrated unexpected good news in April last year when it announced it had received a huge bequest from a mystery benefactor.

The zoo, and its sister attraction, the Highland Wildlife Park at Kincraig, near Aviemore, benefited from a 1.9m windfall left by a secret benefactor in her will.

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Liv Casben reports
"Sapphire is already proving a real hit with the visitors"
See also:

04 Apr 01 | Scotland
03 Apr 01 | Scotland
20 Mar 01 | Scotland
13 Feb 01 | Scotland
17 Dec 00 | Scotland
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