New animal breed moo-ve into Belfast Zoo

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BELFAST Zoo has welcomed the arrival of a new breed of animals in the form of the Northern Ireland Tourist Board’s fibre glass ‘ni2012 cows’.

Part of the world’s largest public art exhibition, the cows will be grazing in the zoo until the end of October giving the public one last chance to view the artwork which has been designed using the now highly-recognisable ni2012: our time, our place colours of pink, blue and yellow.    

The Cow Parade art exhibition involves up to 200 cows being transformed into magnificent sculptures by local artists and community groups and NITB’s herd of cows have been visiting towns and cities around Northern Ireland during the summer for one week at a time.  

After appearances in Portrush, Derry~Londonderry, Bangor, Warrenpoint, Omagh, Armagh, Downpatrick, Enniskillen and the Belfast International Airport, the cows will feel right at home among the ‘udder’ animals at the zoo.

While the cows have been travelling over the summer they have been stopping along the way to visit some of Northern Ireland’s iconic locations and tourist attractions to have their photo taken including Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge, Marble Arch Caves, the Mournes and Slieve Gullion.

NITB’s ni2012/13 manager Siobhán McGuigan is thrilled that NITB is part of the Cow Parade.

“We decided to get involved in the Cow Parade as 2012 is such a momentous year for Northern Ireland.  It is a great way to showcase our towns and cities and encourage people to visit the public art sculptures as they graze in different areas,” said Siobhán.

“There has been a number of cows on display throughout the cities of Derry and Belfast but the ni2012 cows were the only herd that have been moooving across Northern Ireland to be displayed in different areas and we’ve had a fantastic response from people coming out to see them,” she added.

Belfast Zoo manager Mark Challis is encouraging people to take this last opportunity to visit the cows. 
“We are delighted that the ni2012 cows are on display at the Belfast Zoo. It’s certainly the first time I’ve seen a yellow, blue and pink cow and they are a very welcome addition to what we have to offer.

I hope everyone takes the chance to come visit them before they leave Northern Ireland for pastures moooo,” Mark said. 
Make sure that you go and visit the cows so that they’re not lonely and post your pictures on the Discover Northern Ireland Facebook page.  

To view where the cows have already been, visit www.ni2012.com, where you can also see a behind-the-scenes video of Mooty’s very valiant attempt at surfing at Portballintrae’s Runkerry Strand.

More than 70 cities across the globe have hosted a Cow Parade since 1999 but this is the first time it has come to Northern Ireland as well as the first time it has taken over an entire region rather than just one city.  

For more information on the Cow Parade and attractions in Northern Ireland click on www.discovernorthernireland.com or visit your local tourist information centre. You can also keep up-to-date with the latest news, images, videos and competitions by visiting http://www.facebook.com/discovernorthernireland.