The best-known animal in Britain at the moment, Victor the giraffe, has died. The end?
The best-known animal in Britain at the moment, Victor the giraffe, has died. The end came at a small zoo near Winchester in Hampshire in England on Tuesday (20 September). Victor died ten minutes after being winched to his feet again. He had collapsed six days before when apparently trying to mount one of his three female mates at the zoo. Since then, enquiries and suggestions of how to get Victor back on his feet have flowed in from all over the world. On Tuesday, he was winced up in a special harness, but the strain proved too much for him. His chances of living were never thought to be more then fifty-fifty. Zoo owner, John Knowles said after Victor's death that he felt 'rotten'.
SYNOPSIS: People came from all over Britain to see Victor rescued. Just before midday, the lifting crew began wrapping the specially made canvas trouser suit harness around his body.
Victory seemed to be coping with everything quite will, but the real test would come when the lift actually began. The problem was not getting him up; that was a mechanical manoeuvre.
His constant companion, keeper Ruth Giles knew that emotional stress could give Victor a heart attack. But the risk had to be taken. The fifteen year old animal had suffered for six days out in the cold autumn air.
His legs, trapped under his body all the time, needed medical attention.
On Sunday (18 September) well-wishers had seen Victor receive massive doses of antibiotics and energy drugs. And, in the last stage of the lift, after some effort, his veterinarian finally succeeded in giving Victor another energy boost.
But Victor failed to respond to the injection, and only ten minutes after the lift was completed, he was dead.
But did his accident or the shock of lifting kill Victor?
KNOWLES: "I think that the shock of what has happened, progressively, and this last trauma he hadn't got the will to withstand it. But this is always a problem with giraffes-that they suppress their shock. They're in human terms, quiet and unemotional and yet their worrying concern is going on inside, and they reach a point which we've all seen where he just gave out."
Many onlookers wept openly when it was announced that Victor had died.