Animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, use for entertainment, or abuse in any other way.

Two of Michael Jackson’s Giraffes Die

Written by PETA | January 12, 2010
canyon-country / CC
Michael Jackson's giraffe, Princess

PETA recently learned that two of the giraffes the late Michael Jackson used to house at Neverland Ranch have died while living under the apparently neglectful eye of Tom and Freddie Hancock—owners of Banjoko Wildlife Preserve, a pseudo-sanctuary in Page, Arizona—and that at least one of the giraffes may have died as a result of improper feeding and/or exposure to cold temperatures.

Back in 2008, we wrote a letter to Michael Jackson urging him to take responsibility for four giraffes who once lived at Neverland Ranch after we received many complaints from citizens concerned about the giraffes’ well-being at their new home at the preserve. At the time, a former volunteer caretaker for the animals contacted us claiming that the giraffes had been kept in 15-foot-by-15-foot “temporary” enclosures since the day they were purchased in 2007.

Shortly before his death, the King of Pop started to clean up his act by planning to leave animals out of his London tour. Now, we’re asking the city of Page to confiscate the two remaining giraffes and relocate them to a facility that can provide them with appropriate care before it’s too late. Oh yes, we wanna be startin’ something.

Written by Logan Scherer

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  • AndyX says:

    Jackson owned the animals and he and his beneficiaries have an ethical obligation to see that they are properly cared for. Instead they dumped them and haven’t contributed a dime to their continued welfare or the welfare of any of the many animals he owned with the exception of the high profile chimp where they contribute a fraction of the cost of care. Revere MJ if you want but for all his talk he and his family have proved through their actions that they don’t actually care about these animals.

  • Alice M. says:

    STOP BLAMING MICHAEL for EVERYTHING! He took GREAT care of these animals which is proven because they were ALIVE WELL even while their owner was dieing. He took better care of them than he did himself. Michael was a true careGIVER and this is NOT HIS FAULT! Give him a break for goodness sake!

  • Sharon Mills says:

    For what it’s worth in my opinion it is clear to me that Michael Jackson loved animals and was concerned for their welfare. His song “Earth Song” notes the unfair and inhumane treatment of animals. To say that MJ is somehow at fault for this is unfair. There are others to blame here. The finger pointing will prove nothing. Beautiful animals have died. Michael is gone. For Michael’s sake and for the sake of the truth let those who are guilty pay.

  • wendy says:

    MJ2 is to blame for leaving the animals in the care of people that neglected them. He never should have gotten them in the 1st place. Isn’t it true MJ2 left elephants in pens that were too small? Why not blame MJ2? Cause he was about peace? Peace of what? Oh yeah wait he was a lover not a fighter… paleeze. Why don’t you blame the Dr. for this as well???

  • Someone's Watching You! says:

    “A definitive cause of death remains inconclusive however no evidence of infectious or toxic related process has been identified.” This is from the official death report so where’s the mention of blood in the stomach which is an indication of poisoning ???

  • dawn says:

    great story kenn!!!..did not one of the video’s mention that this was an all volunteer program?? hmmm?? and why did your buddy marc chandler flea the country and then call from columbia to the media to start trouble??? it’s because he wanted revenge for getting fired from using a tazer gun on the camel. Now!! lets tell the real story. I can’t wait to see the investigation reports. and anyone asking for donations on you tube or any other site..it’s a scam folks.

  • dawn says:

    caity..if these animals were have gone to die from extreme cold. they would have died 3 yrs ago when they first got here and the babies would also be dead..hmmmmmmmmmm…i’m looking forward to the investigations report and not what people are saying.

  • Paola says:

    I just hope people stop the useless talking against Michael Jackson a man who is already gone to star focusing and what is really important the ANIMALS. It’s obvious all his animals were in excellent shape while MJ was living at Neverland. The passing of these 2 wonderful animals is the result of a crime and so the criminals must be sent to jail. WHOEVER they are! Stop actingacting like haters and cheap papparazzi and focus on the real criminals the ones who KILLED both animals!! This shouldn’t be against Michael Jackson but against those involved.

  • Caity says:

    PageAZ gets extremely cold in the winter time. And it gets much colder where those poor giraffes where located they were outside of town a ways. Where temperatures can get as cold as 15 degrees.

  • Caity says:

    I live in PageAZ and I am outraged by the complete neglect! This is negative publicity and I would be the first one to say put these people in jail. The whole time I have lived here the Hancocks have only been criminals. They wanted the giraffes for money and we need to stop them before they do any more harm to these animals. These people make me sick! Those poor giraffes are stuck in the middle and we need to help get them out of their possession.

  • Sara says:

    Wait so why are people getting Michael Jackson involved in this? They were obviously fine while in his care it’s these new caretakers who are to blame. I agree with ‘Nickie’ People always find away to say something negative about Michael.

  • Nickie says:

    Poor Giraffes. There must’ve been something fishy going on since they both died on the same day apparently. I don’t know why people are talking shiz about Michael though. They’ve been under other care and died as a result of mistreatment at the hands of other people. Things happen! But of course people always find a way to bad mouth HIM. long sigh

  • dawn says:

    marc chandler former care taker at banjoko has given much false information on the size of the pens which are 28ft by 28ft and there are 3 stalls which had been rebuilt since marc was fired for animal abuse. Intense investigation is under way and blood was found in jabaar jr stomach. living conditions for these animals was approved by USDA.

  • vegancoin says:

    oh my such a charade. vanity. seems like the only thing a man can be trusted with is his own gutless insecurity and “gotta keep up with the joneses” relentless materialism and selfishness. a very good example of why animals should not be used for entertainment or kept locked in cages only for amusement and pretended friendship.

  • Rev. Meg Schramm says:

    Does anyone know where Bubbles is?

  • Sandy says:

    I hope that new homes are found for these magnificent creatures as soon as possible. It’s a disgrace to hear that these animals died needlessly. I wonder if the Detroit Zoo has been concidered. They have taken in neglected animals and have been shown to have an excellent reputation with caring for special animals such as these. They currently have an excellent facility for housing giraffe both in doors and outdoors. Anyway I hope we don’t hear of anymore tragedies. It’s too late now of course but it’s a shame Mr. Jackson had not done more thorough research before relocating these animals over two years ago. But then again he must have been lied to along with everyone else.

  • Carla* says:

    Kenn Stark thankyou for sharing your story. It just confirms what we already knew. Good luck to you and I hope enough out cry will save the remaining giraffes. Give them up Hancocks’ it’s the right thing to do!!

  • Kenn Stark says:

    I was the caretaker for these beautiful animals after they arrived in Page in 0708. I felt this was a chance and experience of a lifetime to do this. Two months into this project I started realizing that this was a fanatical pipe dream of Freddie Hancocks. She and Tommy started creating political strife for themselves by having disregard for the process by jumping the gun not getting the proper permits etc. and bullying the community bad mouthing the Navajo people lying and deceiving public officials. THEY” clearly showed they did not intend on being honest about any of their intensions. IT was all about high dollar profit. A SAFARI RESORT. The cost to enter was projected to be approx.$1500 to come through the gate something the average citizen could not afford. I was appalled by this. The average citizen could not experience this especially the Navajo people. Also the disrespectful treatment of their employees was becoming apparent Non payment of wages to Banjoko and Water world employees living conditions at Banjoko for employees no toilet fresh water or utilities. Freddie consistently lied to employees about pay and other promises i.e. caretakers quarters etc. Employees were expected to work for nothing. As for Marc Chandler wonderful human being he cared about his employees and definitely knew the business of taking care of exotic animals from lifetime experience. The experience I had living with these giraffes and the knowledge I learned from Mr. Chandler is something I will always cherish and remember. He and his family almost literally starved with no money for nearly a year. Until he got the opportunity to escape like myself because she felt she owned us like animals. We could not go work anywhere else or she would try to blackball us. She made numerous attempts to have Mr. Chandler and me arrested on bogus charges because we chose to leave to earn a real living. I have the utmost respect for Marc Chandler. The immediate care for the giraffes was not in grave question but the Hancocks put these animals in the position that they are in now by their own greed ignorance and arrogance. Marc and I did not approve of the direction the project was heading and the welfare of the giraffes was our main concern. I had a gut feeling after I left and made mention to members of the Page public and local officials that it was possible that a giraffe will die because of the environment they were in. Now two are gone. It disgusts and sickens me to know the animals I cared for are dead. I feel that another death is imminent if something is not done soon. Annie Sue is approaching her mid twenties. This is the maximum life expectancy for a giraffe in captivity. Her days are now numbered. There is no foul play Freddie Hancock just a foul smell. I feel that the giraffes were pawns in the illconceived pipe dream of Freddie Hancocks. These magnificent animals have paid a horrible price in death. e.I. Rambo and JJ Prosecution of the Hancocks is imminent. Sincerely by the other disgruntled employee.

  • Olivia says:

    Perfect example of just because you can afford it does not mean you can buy it!

  • Robyn Grogan says:

    The first page of your letter that you sent to the city of Page is missing. Would you please add the first page. Thank you.

  • Brien Comerford says:

    As Michael Jackson destroyed himself he also neglected his socalled precious animals. It’s even more of an outrage that a sanctuary in Arizona could not keep giraffes warm.

  • Taylor says:

    MJ LIVE ON

  • Andre Inglis says:

    Does owning a giraffe really have any value? Could a person ever give a giraffe a better place to live then their natural environment? It makes me wonder what the motive would be to purchase such a beautiful animal and keep it in such tight confinment.