Wildlife Park giraffe’s birthday is a tall order!

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Things are always looking up when you’re a giraffe - and Behansin certainly had a lot of admirers when he celebrated his ninth birthday at Yorkshire Wildlife Park yesterday.

Visitors signed an over-size card and the birthday boy got a special treat of an oak branch to graze on to mark his special day.

Behansin, the tallest of the Doncaster-based Park’s four giraffes who weighs in at 1,100 kg, also got time to indulge in his favourite past-time of scratching his long neck on tree branches before tucking into his birthday meal.

“He was a shy calf but has matured into a confident character, who is the dominant male of the group,” said Cheryl Williams, director of the award-winning park.

“He is very good natured and always a favourite with visitors so it was good to spoil him a bit on this birthday.”

The four giraffes - Behansin, older statesman Jasper, 14, and young four year-old bulls Palle and Jambo, enjoy life in a £350,000 state of the art enclosure.

Behansin is looking forward to a long and contented life to follow in the hoof steps of his mother Matilda, who is 17, and his grandmother Dribbles who lived till she was 33, making her the oldest recorded giraffe in the UK.

Britt Jenson, Head of Hoofstock, added: ”He spends hours play-fighting with the young bulls and is always gentle with them.”

YWP welcomed the four giraffes over a year ago and they are already a firm favourite in their reserve, which allows unspoilt access and views.

The innovative giraffe enclosure gives visitors the chance to see them inside just 1m away as well as eye to eye from a neighbouring 8m high platform when they are outside enjoying the sun in their 1 acre sand enclosure.

Set in 70 acres of countryside, the YWP, in Branton, provides a magical experience and unrivalled access to some of the most amazing and endangered animals in the world.

Their unique collection of animals includes Amur Tigers and Leopards, the most endangered big cats on the planet, Lions, Zebra, Antelope, African Hunting Dogs, Meerkats, Wallabies, Squirrel Monkeys, Camels and lots more.