Elisabeth Torres, Global Animal

The giraffe had people astir on main street. Photo Credit: Barcroft Media /Landov

A giraffe escaped from an Italian circus in the northern city of Imola, southeast of Bologna, for several hours last Friday.

The 16-foot-tall animal shocked residents as he made his way through the town’s main street. The giraffe, belonging to the Rinaldo Orfei Circus, galloped around the city during rush hour with local police vehicles and circus officials following close behind in a van.

The 2,000-pound animal was on the run for approximately four hours, damaging cars and public property as people looked on in astonishment.

Photos show a group of citizens desperately trying to push the giraffe into a cage while shoving a ladder against the animal’s neck after police finally cornered the giraffe in a grocery store parking lot, where the animal was soon tranquilized.

Due to high levels of stress after being herded through the city streets for four hours, it comes as no surprise the giraffe shortly died of cardiac arrest upon his return to the Rinaldo Orfei Circus. 

It’s unfortunate an innocent animal must suffer as a result of the circus’ lack of responsibility. While so many animals escape from zoos and circuses, it should be obvious that animals belong in the wild—or at the very least, we must enforce stricter guidelines upon those who choose to take on the care of a wild animal.