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Alleged Animal Abuse Surrounding South African Giraffes' Death Under Investigation In Brazil

Published September 21, 2023
9 months ago

The landing of an uncommon "cargo" consisting of 18 giraffes from South Africa in Brazil on 11th November 2021 has become the epicenter of a scandalous investigation. The debacle involves broad allegations of animal mistreatment, including the unfortunate deaths of four giraffes, emanating from their journey to Brazil's private zoo, BioParque do Rio.



South Africa's Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment has confirmed their awareness of the developing saga in Brazil but is yet to receive detailed findings from the investigations on Brazilian soil. After the demise of three giraffes in the immediate aftermath of their arrival in 2021, and a fourth in July 2023, an extended probe was launched.


Currently, the surviving 14 giraffes are said to be housed in Mangaratiba's Portobello Resort and Safari, along the southern coast of Rio de Janeiro.


The Costa Rica-bound giraffes embarked on their initial journey via a chartered flight from OR Tambo International Airport, South Africa, in November 2021 at a cost exceeding one million US dollars, as documented in a Brazilian government report.


With Intradco Global and Chapman Freeborn spearheading the giraffes' transportation to reduce their handling time, cranes assisted the seamless offloading of the animals upon arrival at their destination.



BioParque do Rio zoo also confirmed the death of three giraffes following their escape from an adaptation zone, sparking an investigation by Brazil's Federal Police. The focus of these investigations was the import process, alleged deliberate infractions by public servants approving the importation and the conditions of maintenance strongly suspected to be abusive.


Separate reports in 2022 from Brazil's Federal Police and Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources confirmed the ensuing investigations after the death of the fourth giraffe. Those reports stated the cost-cutting strategies employed during the exportation process were detrimental to the animals' welfare, prompting a call for the return of the remaining giraffes back to South Africa.


Despite allegations involving South African companies in the export process, the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment maintains that during the pre-departure inspection conducted on 11th November 2021, all giraffes were in good health. As a legal requirement, this inspection was performed 48 hours before export.


Though Brazil's authorities have so far withheld the outcomes of their investigations, their concerns regarding the welfare of the animals have prompted them to remove the giraffes from the zoo.


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