A male giraffe has been killed after it hit its head on a bridge it was being driven under.
The blindfolded animal - which was in the back of an open truck with a female giraffe - suffered catastrophic head injuries, but according to one eyewitness, the driver initially failed to notice it had happened.
Engineer Thinus Botha, 32, witnessed the scene as he pulled over from the N1 motorway on the outskirts of Pretoria – South Africa’s capital.
He told Barcroft Media: “I couldn’t believe what I was seeing – it was such a strange sight.
“I decided to pull over to take a photo but just seconds later one of the animals hit its head on the Garstfontein highway overpass – killing it.
“I heard a loud thump and saw a lot of blood coming out of the giraffe’s nose.”
“I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I had to take the next off ramp but I noticed the truck just kept driving along for a while before it stopped.
Look how low that bridge is and how tall the giraffes are. Who thought this one through? I wish I hadn't seen this. pic.twitter.com/as2jJkIwpv— Pabi Moloi (@PabiMoloi) July 31, 2014
“I don’t think the driver knew exactly what had happened – he only stopped when other motorists started hooting.”
The surviving animal – a female - was not injured and is “doing well”, vet Dr Chris Kingsley told The Citizen.
The pair were being transported to a game farm when the accident happened.
South Africa’s National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NSPCA) is looking into the matter.
An NSPCA spokesman told Eye Witness News: “All we can ascertain at this stage is severe head trauma. We are continuing our investigation with the view to possibly lay criminal charges against those responsible.”
"Our investigations so far showed that the transport used was inadequate and incorrect."
Pabi Moloi also witnessed the accident.
She tweeted: “What a weird and sad thing to witness. That impact was so shocking. Wow."
What a weird and sad thing to witness. That impact was so shocking. Wow. #PTAGiraffeDeath— Pabi Moloi (@PabiMoloi) July 31, 2014
Who the hell transports 2 giraffes on the N1 standing upright in a truck?Now one is dead from hitting it's head on a bridge!cc @PabiMoloi— Jadene Tager (@jadene85) July 31, 2014