Giraffe gives dying zoo keeper a final kiss goodbye (photo)


Giraffe kisses terminally ill zookeeper goodbye at Rotterdam Zoo

This touching image shows a giraffe saying goodbye to a terminally ill zoo worker who is suffering from a brain tumour.

The 54-year-old man, who has been employed as a maintenance worker at Rotterdam Zoo in the Netherlands for 25 years, was taken into the enclosure in his hospital bed.

As soon as he arrived at the enclosure, he was approached by the giraffe, who appeared to give him a kiss.

The keeper has been battling brain cancer for some time. He also has mental disabilities and is known among his colleagues only by the name Mario.

His final visit to the zoo enclosure was organised by the Ambulance Wish Foundation. Its director, Kees Veldboer, told the Rotterdam newspaper Algemeen Dagblad: " You could see him light up... it was very special to see that the animals recognised him and sensed he wasn't doing well."

Mario now has very limited mobility and finds speaking difficult, but "his face spoke volumes," said Veldboer.

According to his colleagues, Mario was always at the zoo and is well-known by all the animals: he was with the giraffes nearly every day.

The Ambulance Wish Foundation relies on around 200 volunteers to help fulfil the last wishes of terminally ill patients, transporting them to places they choose to go to in special ambulances.

Best ever giraffe photos

Best ever giraffe photos

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