A 7-year-old male giraffe was literally scared to death at Taipei Zoo in Taiwan.
Hsiao Chiu was being loaded onto a truck when he experienced a panic attack. The zoo planned to transport him to a private zoo for mating purposes. Instead, he struggled for his life before dying shortly afterward. The truck never even left the zoo.
— People’s Daily,China (@PDChina) August 11, 2016
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. Reports state that he died of lung and heart failure resulting from the panic attack. In the wild, giraffes have a life expectancy of about 25 years, but the Taipei Zoo killed Hsiao Chiu at the age of 7.
Animals in zoos are bred primarily because their babies attract visitors, and that makes money. 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.
Animals are not inanimate cargo.
Transportation in general is a hazard for animals, yet zoos treat them like inanimate cargo. In 2014, a male hippo held captive by a private facility and forced to perform for human entertainment died after breaking a leg and sustaining other injuries while being transported.
Last week, 100 birds, two cats, and a dog destined for Malaysia were found dead after they were left in a container without air holes in scorching temperatures for two hours at an airport near Taipei.
Zoos like to claim that breeding giraffes and other animals helps sustain the population, but many of these animals die as young adults. If captive giraffes are fortunate enough to see adulthood, they’ll never live in the wild.
What You Can Do
Warehousing animals for life is not the way to save them from extinction. Their salvation lies in protecting habitats, not in creating animal prisons. Instead of patronizing zoos, you can help animals by supporting organizations such as the International Primate Protection League, the Born Free Foundation, and Earth Island Institute that work to preserve habitats and protect captive animals from exploitation.