A 7-year-old male giraffe has died at the Taipei Zoo in Taiwan.
— People’s Daily,China (@PDChina) August 11, 2016
The giraffe, named Hsiao Chiu, was in the process of being loaded onto a truck when he reportedly had a panic attack. The zoo planned to transport him to a private zoo for mating purposes. Instead, he died of lung and heart failure before the truck had even left the facility.
According to a necropsy, Hsiao Chiu was suffering from pneumonia as well as anxiety from being shoved into a cage, which triggered breathing difficulties and muscle damage.
Zoos like to claim that breeding giraffes helps sustain the population, but many of these animals die as young adults. In addition, even if captive giraffes are fortunate enough to see adulthood, they’ll never live in the wild.
Breeding programs simply produce cute baby animals to attract zoo patrons and generate revenue, creating a surplus of unwanted adult animals. As a result, zoos often become extremely crowded, and older animals may be “warehoused” behind the scenes or shuffled off to shabby roadside zoos, animal dealers, or auctions.
This isn’t the first time that a giraffe has died prematurely in captivity. Last year, a baby giraffe died after colliding with the wall of a zoo enclosure, and in 2011, three giraffes died within a week of each other at zoos in the Southwest U.S.
Transportation in general is also a hazard for animals, yet zoos treat them like inanimate cargo. In 2009, 5-year-old giraffe Amali sustained a debilitating—and eventually fatal—knot in her neck while being transferred for breeding. These are just a few of the many horrific incidents in which giraffes died in captivity.
Keeping giraffes in captivity is harmful to them, as they can develop stress-induced ailments that can lead to premature death. Even under the best of circumstances, captivity can never replicate giraffes’ natural habitats. The animals confined to zoos were born for natural, wide-open spaces, not cages and other cramped enclosures.
What You Can Do
Warehousing animals does not help them. Never patronize zoos or any other facilities that exploit animals.