Eric the giraffe orphan finds a new family

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A giraffe who was orphaned when his parents were killed by poachers has formed a unique friendship with staff at a nearby hotel.

Lonely Eric wandered into the grounds of Elsamere Lodge in Naivasha, Kenya looking for love following the brutal murder of his mum and dad.

The affectionate giraffe soon won the hearts of staff at the hotel and has returned on a regular basis delighting guests ever since.

Eric can often be found watching over staff during their day-to-day cleaning duties and posing for pictures with astounded visitors.

He also enjoys joining the locals at a nearby lake to collect water and wash clothes and will happily take leaves and food handed to him by star-struck tourists.

Despite being harmless, the loveable giraffe has been known to get a bit too close for comfort for some, after eating a straw hat straight from the head of a visitor at the lodge.

Eric is often to be found at the hotel’s reception to welcome selfie-seeking tourists

Photographer Mark Boulton has been asked to pack a straw hat as a present for Eric and the snapper captured him investigating his new gift as well as roaming around the hotel grounds and mingling with staff, guests and locals.

Mark, 80, from Mickleton near Evesham, said: ‘It was my last day and I was at breakfast when a head just appeared at the window.

‘I didn’t have my camera so I ran up to get it and grabbed the hat too.

‘I asked if anyone would be willing to wear it and everyone was kind of hesitant and perplexed until one guest volunteered.

‘He didn’t actually eat this one, I don’t think it was made entirely from straw. He did seem very intrigued though.

‘He’s just a real people giraffe. He seems to prefer people to his own kind.’ 

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