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Giraffe dies in transit as head hits overpass

Those responsible for the death of a giraffe whose head struck a South African highway overpass while it was being transported will likely be prosecuted, an official has said.

The accident on a highway between Pretoria and Johannesburg was very unsettling because it could easily have been avoided, said Rick Allan, an animal welfare officer.

"It's just so unnecessary," said Mr Allan, head of the Pretoria area branch of Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

The group's members were able to respond quickly to the giraffe accident because they were already out on the highway attending to a separate case of cattle stranded because of a truck breakdown, he said.


Prior to the giraffe accident, startled motorists took photographs of the truck, which was carrying two giraffes whose long necks were visible above the sides of the vehicle. The surviving giraffe was taken to a wildlife clinic.

Pabi Moloi, a radio and television presenter, was in a car on the highway and saw the giraffes just before the accident.

"The impact of the giraffe's head on the bridge was so loud that my cousin, who was driving me, asked if someone had been shot," Moloi said. "I saw the giraffe hit its head very hard on the concrete under the bridge and kind of be propelled forward."

The other giraffe appeared to escape injury by millimetres because it was slightly shorter.