The moment a giraffe ‘says goodbye’ to a dying zoo worker

A 54-year-old zoo worker suffering from terminal cancer was ‘kissed’ by a giraffe while on a visit to say goodbye to the animals whose pens he cleaned.

Mario was wheeled around the Blijdorp zoo in Rotterdam in his hospital bed thanks to the charity Ambulance Wish Foundation. While visiting the giraffes, one approached Mario and appeared to nuzzle him.

‘It was a very special moment. You saw him smile,’ the foundation’s director Kees Veldboer told the AD. ‘It was special that the animals knew him and could sense all was not well with him.’

Mario, who had learning difficulties, had worked at the zoo for most of his adult life.

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