Dying Zookeeper Gets One Last Kiss From Giraffes He Took Care of For 25 Years

Written by Lima Yayk

A terminally ill zookeeper named Mario got an emotional farewell from a group of giraffes he looked after for 25 years.

Mario was a maintenance worker at Rotterdam’s Diergaarde Blijdorp zoo in the Netherlands until he was diagnosed with cancer.

While in the final stages of his battle with a brain tumor, he asked hospital workers if he could be wheeled into the zoo’s giraffe enclosure one last time. He wanted a chance to say goodbye to the animals he loved so dearly.


The 54-year-old man’s final visit to the Dutch zoo was organized by the Ambulance Wish Foundation, a volunteer-run organization that fulfills the last wishes of terminally ill patients.

“These animals recognised him, and felt that [things aren't] going well with him,” Kees Veldboer, founder and director of the Ambulance Wish Foundation, told Dutch newspaper Algemeen Dagblad. ”It was a very special moment, you could see him beaming.”

Our love and prayers go out to Mario as he lives out the last days of his life.

This post originally appeared on RYOT

Photo Credit: Facebook/Stichting Ambulance Wens Nederland


Jim Ven
Jim V2 years ago

thanks for the article.

Carrie-Anne Brown

thanks for sharing :)

Jay Bauder
Jay B3 years ago

Just adorable


Very touching story, yes animals feel and know when a human love them!!!!!!

Sylvie NoStarPlz
sylvie C3 years ago

Agree with annie and thanks to Russ

Russ L.
Russell L3 years ago

Animals are so amazing! They know so much more than we give them credit for. So so sad that us humans are killing them at alarming rates! Please do something to help our wonderful beasts. Us humans are ones killing everything. Please eat less meat. Please stop wearing big leather boots. Please get a car without leather. Donate, do what we can for our animals they are so important to us and our planet.

annie statton
christine s3 years ago

So sad and yet so beautiful .

Noreen Niamath
Noreen Niamath3 years ago

What a great example of thinking outside of the box...or the cage in this case. We are all "connected" we just need to accept it and a lot of the cruelty in this world will stop. It is when we think of ourselves as seperate from "others" that we make the space to be cruel instead of kind. Thanks to the Zoo and Ambulance Wish for making this possible.

Lynn C.
Lynn C3 years ago


Neil A.
Neil A3 years ago

Beautiful but sad story,what lovely animals That some shit USA people like to shoot, vile scum that they are!