Giraffe Gives Dying Zoo Keeper Final Kiss Goodbye

Zoo maintenance worker Mario spends his last moments of life with the beautiful creatures he spent 25 years looking after.

Mario has terminal cancer and his dying wish was to spend his last moments with his favorite animals at the zoo, the giraffes. When the Ambulance Wish Foundation brought Mario to the giraffe enclosure at Rotterdam’s Diergaarde Blijdorp Zoo, nobody expected this type of reaction. The giraffes came right over and could immediately sense something was not well with their beloved friend. The giraffes began to nuzzle, comfort, and kiss 54-year-old Mario. It was obvious they could sense a problem.

Giraffe Gives Dying Zoo Keeper Final Kiss Goodbye

Mario, who has a mental disability, was also given the chance to say goodbye to his long-time friends and colleagues at the zoo. The Ambulance Wish Foundation relies on volunteers to make these last wishes a reality for terminally ill people, just like Mario. Many studies have shown that animals can sense sickness and disease in humans, including those with no visible symptoms.

Giraffe Gives Dying Zoo Keeper Final Kiss Goodbye

The Ambulance Wish Foundation, which transported Mario to the zoo, said Mario has a tough time speaking and has very little mobility in his advanced state of cancer. “However, his face spoke volumes”, they said. “These animals recognized him, and felt that things aren’t going well with him,’ Kees Veldboer, the founder of the Ambulance Wish Foundation told Dutch newspaper Algemeen Dagblad.


“(It was) a very special moment. You saw him beaming.”

Do you think animals can sense sickness in their humans?


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  1. Yes, of course they can. They also return the love you give them. They are aware of all you do. There is nothing you can keep from them and I’m sure they have souls only purer then ours.

  2. I agree with Vanita. Service dogs can be trained to sense diabetes sufferers glucose levels, epileptics coming seizures, etc. Their love is unconditional. Zoo animals have this same abilities!!! Look at elephants, lions, etc. Kindness & love works wonders.

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