Giraffe sends Bisley walkers running for cover

2012-12-04 00:00

A SATURDAY afternoon family outing to the Bisley Game Reserve turned ugly when a male giraffe charged at a couple and a 13-year-old girl, sending them scrambling for cover.

Carol Ahern, her boyfriend Kevin Hayes and daughter Kayleigh (13) spotted a herd of giraffe at the top of the ridge, but continued with their walk, hoping to see more wildlife.

Ahern, a school administrator at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, said they walked along the winding path on the mountainside behind the horse-riding school, which led out into an open area.

“As the open area began to narrow down to a path, I heard a slight scuffing sound behind us. At a quick glance I saw an angry male giraffe about 20 feet away, charging full-steam directly at us,” she said.

She alerted her boyfriend and the three raced into a thicket with low-lying thorn trees about

10 metres away from the animal.

“As we ran around a bush under the trees, to keep our distance from the angry guy, he came crashing through and stopped next to us,” she said.

She said after a little while, the giraffe moved off down the hill and watched them from about 100 metres away.

“We eased ourselves out of the bush and continued along our circuit, with a close eye on him and any other potential hazards.”

In 2008, The Witness reported on Schalk Hagen (70), whose mysterious death was suspected to have been caused by a giraffe at the Bisley Game Reserve.

Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife spokesperson Musa Mntambo said giraffes did not attack humans, but defended themselves when they felt threatened.

He said if a giraffe ran after a person and then turned its back on him, it was a sign that it was about to attack, because it uses its hind legs to strike.

“Even if a giraffe has offspring, it does not defend them against humans; it leaves them behind because it is normally a passive animal,” he said.

Mntambo said it was difficult to understand what could have led to the charge.

Attempts to get comment from Msunduzi Municipality, which administers the game reserve, were unsuccessful.

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