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Outrage over giraffe bridge death

Johannesburg - An animal rights group is planning to sue the people responsible for the death of a giraffe that smashed its head on a bridge as it was transported in a trailer on the N1 near Pretoria.

Eyewitnesses reported seeing two blindfolded giraffes in an open air trailer being driven along the N1 north (towards Polokwane) on Thursday before one hit its head on the Garsfontein Road bridge.

As this truck carrying giraffes passed underneath Garsfontein Road on the N1, the bull hit his head on the bridge. Picture: Greatstock / Thinus Botha. Credit: Greatstock / Thinus Botha

“What a weird and sad thing to witness. That impact was so shocking,” TV and radio personality Pabi Moloi said on Twitter, next to a cellphone picture of the giraffes shortly before the incident.

“Look how low that bridge is and how tall the giraffes are. Who thought this one through?”

South Africa’s National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NSPCA) said they would be seeking to prosecute those responsible.

“We’re very concerned about the way it was transported. Most definitely there has been negligence,” NSPCA manager Rick Allen said.

In his report, vet Dr Chris Kingsley who conducted the post-mortem, states the giraffe died from the trauma of hitting its head on the bridge.

The incident has caused outrage in South Africa and has been tragically compared to a scene in Hollywood film Hangover 3 in which bungling character Alan Garner buys a giraffe before accidentally decapitating it on a highway bridge.

Allen said it was fortunate the other giraffe survived.

“We have already nicknamed it ‘Lucky’,” he said.

The giraffe’s death has made international news. The New York Post reported that the “exotic animal” was travelling down Pretoria’s N1 highway when his “dim-witted driver drove under a bridge, sending the giraffe’s head directly into the overpass”.

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