A giraffe being transported in an open-air truck bed on a South Africa highway this week died after reportedly hitting its head on an overpass.
"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," the SPCA's Rick Allan told Johannesburg's Eye Witness News.
The owner of the giraffe confirmed that the animal had died to a local reporter.
Multiple eyewitnesses reported seeing the giraffes traveling on Pretoria's N1 highway, with many posting Tweets and Instagram photos after one hit its head on the bridge.
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
@ewnreporter Truck with 2 giraffe just passed underneath Garsfontein rd on N1. 1 giraffe hit it's head on the bridge. pic.twitter.com/Bb3Jac3ew3
— Thinus Botha (@thinusb_) July 31, 2014
Took this pic on the N1 earlier.Just heard one Giraffe passed away! Apparently due to head trauma! So sad! @Radio702 pic.twitter.com/RNCMdALgl3
— Wingate Road Runners (@wingaterunners) July 31, 2014
One witness, Instagram user pabimoloi, writes in a post, "Saw two giraffes being transported to Pretoria on the highway today. Not sure what the regulations are but as they were going under a normal highway bridge, I saw one of the giraffes hit its head. It was so terrible to see. Hope they got wherever they were going okay."
Multiple Twitter users noted the similarities to a similar scene in The Hangover Part III, in which Zach Galifianakis's character accidentally decapitated a giraffe while doing pretty much the same thing as the real-life giraffe's owner.
The owner of the giraffe that was killed in Pretoria said the animal had craned its neck just before the incident, resulting in its death.
"We went through lots of other bridges," he said.
How do you transport a giraffe?
Zoos, in the past, have used specially-built trailers to transport giraffes around the world.
The Santa Barbara Zoo posted a video to its Facebook page in December 2010 that showed the trailer with its custom-built roof.
Bob Lawrence, director of wildlife at West Midlands Safari Park in Worcestershire, England told the BBC in January that his giraffes arrived on a double decker bus.
In Devon, England, the Paignton Zoo's 14-foot giraffe made its move in a trailer with an adjustable roof.
"We didn't sedate him," zoo spokesman Phil Knowling said, "because the last thing you want is a woozy giraffe in case he falls over. All we had to do was lure him into the trailer with a bit of green food."
The SPCA's Rick Allan tells eNews Channel Africa that the truck involved in Thursday's incident didn't comply with South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) and that it ignored the agency's transportation codes for the animals.
"When you are transporting giraffes on an open road, their heads should be covered by a structure which is a specially designed container that looks like a crate," he said.
Mashable's reached out to Allan and the SPCA for more information but we've yet to hear back. We'll continue updating this story once we do.
Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments.