Xolani Koyana and Sapa

A GIRAFFE died after its head struck a bridge – prompting an investigation by the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animal which could charge the animal’s owners.

The giraffe and another were being transported near Pretoria, reportedly to Limpopo, when it “reared-up” after its head struck against the Garsfontein Road bridge on the N1 North yesterday.

While it was unclear whether the vehicle’s driver had immediately noticed the incident, the giraffe was taken to a veterinary clinic where it died. The other giraffe is resting at a wildlife veterinary clinic.

“The giraffe died due to the trauma to the head,” Tshwane SPCA managing director Rick Allan said.

He said the SPCA was investigating the matter and there was a strong possibility of it lodging a criminal complaint against the owners in terms of the Animal Protection Act.

Allan said inspectors would interview witnesses and the animal’s owner today.

“We have been able to trace the owners. So far they have not been co-operative. They said they wanted to speak to their lawyers first and hopefully we will be able to interview them during the day,” Allan said.

He said that according to witnesses, the giraffe had reared up when the truck drove underneath the bridge and hit its head. The animal’s head had protruded above the vehicle, Allan said. He added that it meant the animal had not been transported correctly.

A witness, Thinus Botha, who took the picture which caused a lot of outrage on social media, said he had been driving next to the truck for about five kilometres trying to get a snapshot of the giraffes.

“I though it was was not something you see every day, for giraffes to be on the highway, and I thought I should take a picture,” Botha said.

He could not get the right shot so pulled over on to the side of the road to wait for the truck to come past. A few seconds later one of the giraffes hit the bridge. “It’s really sad,” he said.

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