A giraffe being transported in an open-air truck bed on a highway in South Africa died,Thursday after reportedly hitting its head on an overpass.
All we can ascertain at this stage is severe head trauma. We are continuing our investigation with the view to possibly lay criminal charges against those responsible, Rick Allan of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals told JohannesburgsEye Witness News.
The owner of the giraffe confirmed, to a local reporter that the animal had died.
Multiple eyewitnesses reported seeing two giraffes traveling on Pretorias N1 highway, with many posting Tweets and Instagram photos after one hit its head on the bridge.
Pabi Moloi, the Instagram user and a South African TV and radio presenter, says the incident will haunt her for a long time.
"My cousin and I were driving in Pretoria on a busy highway when I spotted a pair of giraffes in the back of a truck.
I whipped out my phone to take pictures of this, since it isn"t a very common thing to see in the city. As I was getting shots the truck went under a bridge and suddenly one of the giraffes hit its head HARD on the concrete.
The sound was so loud that my cousin, who was driving, asked me if there was someone shooting because she thought she"d heard a gunshot!
That is how loud the impact was from the animal"s head smashing into the overhead bridge.
I quickly posted the pictures and the story on my social media. Soon the news had been alerted to the story and were reporting that the truck had in fact broken down.
We saw in the rear view mirror that the truck had moved to side of the road and had stopped. Only one giraffe was still standing.
That sound of a skull being hit and the force with which it threw the giraffes head forward is something I won"t easily forget."
Multiple Twitter users noted the similarities, to a similar scene, inThe Hangover Part III, in which Zach Galifianakiss character accidentally decapitated a giraffe while doing pretty much the same thing as the real-life giraffes owner.
The owner of the giraffe that was killed in Pretoria said the animal had craned its neck just before the incident, resulting in its death.
We went through lots of other bridges, he said.
How do you transport a giraffe?
Zoos, in the past, have used specially-built trailers to transport giraffes around the world.
The Santa Barbara Zoo posted a video to its Facebook page in December 2010 that showed the trailer with its custom-built roof.
Bob Lawrence, director of wildlife at West Midlands Safari Park in Worcestershire, England, told the BBC in January that his giraffes arrived on a double decker bus.
In Devon, England, the Paignton Zoos 14-foot giraffe made its move, in a trailer with an adjustable roof.
"We didn"t sedate him, zoo spokesman Phil Knowling said, because the last thing you want is a woozy giraffe in case he falls over. All we had to do was lure him into the trailer with a bit of green food."
The SPCA"s Allan tells eNews Channel Africa that the truck involved in Thursday"s incident didn"t comply, with specifications set by the South African Bureau of Standards and that it ignored the agencys transportation codes for the animals.
When you are transporting giraffes on an open road, their heads should be covered by a structure which is a specially designed container that looks like a crate, he said.
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