What’s wrong with this picture? Taken by a motorist following the truck on a highway in South Africa, it was posted on Twitter. It clearly shows two giraffes being transported down a highway nearing an overpass that screams the fact those poor giraffes are too tall to make it through.
The pair was being transported to a game farm in Warmbarths, around 99 miles outside of Johannesburg. The incident went viral on Twitter with several people posting photos.
Pabi Moloi took the above photo and tweeted “Look how low that bridge is and how tall the giraffes are. Who thought this one through? I wish I hadn’t seen this.”
Thinus Botha posted a photo in Twitter saying when the giraffe hit his head “It was an incredibly loud noise” and “there was lots of blood.” Botha sold the photo he took of the two giraffes shortly before impact and can been seen here.
According to USA Today, Moloi said “The impact of the giraffe’s head on the bridge was so loud that my cousin, who was driving me, asked if someone had been shot, I saw the giraffe hit its head very hard on the concrete under the bridge and kind of be propelled forward.” In an eNCA interview, she saw “the giraffe’s head descend into the truck that it was in.”
It is believed the giraffe was killed instantly, which if determined by the scheduled necropsy, will be a blessing for the unfortunate animal. The truck carrying the pair broke down after the collision and was out of service for about three hours.
When the truck was repaired and the injured giraffe delivered to a veterinarian, the giraffe — who had been blindfolded prior to the accident — was declared dead. It’s not clear if the remaining giraffe was kept in the container for all three hours with the dead one.
Several witnesses also notified the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NSPCA), which is investigating the incident. Rick Allen, Animal Welfare Officer with NSPCA, said “It’s just so unnecessary” because it could have been avoided. An NSPCA official said the responsible parties will most likely be prosecuted for this crime.
It doesn’t take a genius to realize driving adult giraffes who average 16–20 feet in height who are loaded into an open air trailer isn’t a safe way to transport these magnificent creatures on a highway which has overpasses. Who made this decision?
The fact that they were being transported to a game farm is another slap in the face, no pun intended, for the two giraffes. Many game farms are known to be used not just for guests to enjoy safari experiences, some also offer canned hunting.
In case you are not familiar with the term, canned hunting is when people pay very high prices — in the tens of thousands of dollars — for the opportunity to kill wildlife like lions, cheetahs and giraffes while the animal is placed in a small enclosure which guarantees a kill because the animal has no way to escape. Many hunters do not consider this hunting and are opposed to the practice.
According to the group Campaign Against Canned Hunting (CACH):
Few people realise that SA [South African] Conservation authorities have divested themselves of most responsibility for protecting our wildlife. Citing the Convention on Biodiversity, and NEMA, they’ll tell you that they are merely required to count numbers of different species. They’ll confess that they have no interest in, or mandate for, wildlife protection beyond maintaining species numbers. Animal welfare is outside their mandate, and anyway the Department has formally ceded all control over hunting methods to the very people who are killing our wildlife daily – the ‘recognised hunting associations’.
Let’s hope the NSPCA will formally bring charges for the needless killing of this innocent giraffe.
Photo credit: Pabi Moloi via Twitter