Pretoria - A tragic accident. That’s how the Pretoria vet, who conducted the post-mortem on a giraffe bull whose head struck a overpass on the N1 while it was being transported on an open truck, has described its death.

But the bizarre death of the animal was no accident, Rick Allan, the head of the Pretoria branch of the SPCA, said.

“Accidents do happen, especially with wildlife,” he told the Saturday Star on Friday. “But this is one of those things that could have been prevented. It’s just common sense.”

The two blindfolded giraffe were being transported on the N1 north when the bull smashed its head on the Garsfontein bridge on Thursday.

In his report, vet Dr Chris Kingsley, states the giraffe died from the trauma of hitting its head on the bridge. “The vet says it probably should have been transported in a closed container,” Allan said.

Photographs, snapped by shocked motorists, have revealed how the long necks of the blindfolded giraffes loomed above the sides of the vehicle.

Allan said the animals were being transported by a wildlife translocation firm from the Alberton or Meyersdal area en route to the north of Pretoria.

The SA Bureau of Standards has published a code for public transport of wild animals, and open transport with the heads of giraffes sticking out is unacceptable.

Inspectors interviewed several witnesses on Friday, but were “struggling” to obtain information from Ditjabe Wildlife Services, the translocation company. Dirk Boshoff, of the company, did not respond to the Saturday Star’s requests for comment.

Those responsible for the giraffe’s death would be prosecuted under animal protection laws. “On Monday, we will take all the information we have to the public prosecutor. We are just waiting for the permits from Gauteng Nature Conservation and a few other reports.”

The giraffe’s death has made international news. The UK’s Metro said that “common sense is evidently in short supply among some lorry drivers on South Africa’s roads. For a giraffe has died after hitting a bridge”.

Allan said the surviving giraffe was doing well at a wildlife clinic.

Saturday Star