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During Transport, A Giraffe In South Africa Hits Head On Overpass, Dies

A pair of giraffes being transported in a crate Thursday near a low bridge on a freeway in Centurion, South Africa.
Thinus Botha
Barcroft Media /Landov
A pair of giraffes being transported in a crate Thursday near a low bridge on a freeway in Centurion, South Africa.

As one South African journalist put it on Twitter, this tale is worthy of Aesop. It starts on a South African highway on Thursday. A truck is transporting two giraffes and as you might imagine, it creates a great buzz among drivers.

Pabi Moloi, a well-known TV and radio host, snaps a picture that portends trouble:

The truck zooms through the underpass, and Moloi tells South Africa's ENCA-TV that she heard a loud thump — so loud that her cousin who was driving asked her if it was a gunshot.

Tragically, what happened is that one of the giraffes, which was blindfolded, smashed its head against the overpass.

As Agence France-Presse reports, The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is taking this incident seriously. It is launching an investigation and "may lay criminal charges against those involved in transporting the animals."

Rick Allan, of the organization, told AFP: "Our investigations so far showed that the transport used was inadequate and incorrect. There are lots of projectiles flying around on the highway (and) especially leaving an animal with its heard sticking out blindfolded, is looking for problems."

But back to Aesop. The lesson, wrote Gus Silber on Twitter: "Don't think laterally, think vertically."

This story reminds us of:

-- "'Star Rabbit' Dies When Photographer Takes Wrong Step"

-- "Copenhagen Zoo Euthanizes Giraffe Despite Online Protest"

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.

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