"BELFAST ZOO DUE TO HIT THE BIG SCREEN ON 29 JUNE 2018 Check out the latest trailer for ‘Zoo’ which is due to be released in cinemas across the UK and Ireland on 29 June 2018! Last year Belfast Zoo travelled back in time to the Blitz era, as filming took place onsite for ‘Zoo’, a movie based on one of Northern Ireland’s most famous war-time stories. Zoo is based on the true story of Belfast Zoo’s ‘elephant angel’. During World War II, the Ministry of Public Security issued a directive that all dangerous animals should be destroyed. This was to ensure public safety, in case the animals escaped if the zoo was damaged by German air raids. On 19 April 1941, Mr A McClean (head of the Air Raid Protection Section) enlisted the help of Constable Ward, from the Royal Ulster Constabulary, and Sergeant E U Murray, of the Home Guard. A total of 33 animals were shot, including hyaena, wolves, a puma, a tiger, a black bear, polar bears, a lynx, racoons and a vulture. During this time Sheila, a baby elephant, was protected and taken to the backyard of the North Belfast terraced home of zoo keeper, Denise Weston Austin. Here Denise comforted and cared for the young elephant as the bombs rained down upon Belfast. When head zoo keeper, Dick Foster, left work in the evening, Denise took Sheila from her enclosure, walked her the short distance to her house at 278 Whitewell Road and walked her back up to the zoo in the morning. It seemed zoo staff did not know about this arrangement until Sheila chased a dog into a neighbour’s garden, breaking the fence. Sheila remained in the zoo after her evening activity was discovered. However, Denise’s fondness for the elephant continued and she visited Sheila in the zoo at night, during the air raids, rubbing her ears to keep her calm. In ‘Zoo’, the story is seen through the eyes of a 12 year old boy named Tom who, with the help of his friends, tries to save ‘Buster’ the elephant. Check out the trailer and see how many of our animals you can spot or find out more about our 'elephant angel' story and the inspiration behind the film at The Zoo | Our elephant angel "