San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Giraffe Dies After Trip to Guanacaste

A four-day journey from the United States to the Africa Mía wildlife park in the northwestern province of Guanacaste proved to be too much for a giraffe that died after arriving there Tuesday.

One of 28 animals sent from a zoo in Cincinnati, Ohio, to the private reserve, the giraffe died because of stress it endured during trip to Africa Mía in the town of Bagaces, near Liberia.

The animal “was already in very serious condition when it got off the plane,” at Liberia’s DanielOduberInternationalAirport, said Africa Mía tour director Diana Hernández.

Along with other giraffes and camels, zebras and several species of antelope, the giraffe that died left Cincinnati Friday and traveled by land to Miami, Florida, where their crates were loaded onto a 747 jet for Costa Rica.

“The problem was the transport and all the time they had to be in cages,” she said. “We had been told there could be losses.”

The other animals are all in good health and now roaming free around the 100 hectares of Africa Mía, a private park that opened a year ago this month.

Luis Diego Marín, president of the Association for the Preservation of Wild Flora and Fauna (APREFLOFAS), called the giraffe’s death “sad” but told The Tico Times he wasn’t surprised.

“Zoos are always going to have these kinds of problems. That’s why we don’t approve of keeping wild animals out of their native habitats,”Marín said, adding that Africa Mía is a “great zoo” compared to Simón Bolívar National Zoo in San José, which APREFLOFAS has repeatedly criticized for what it alleges are unfit conditions for animals there (TT, Jan. 28, 2005).

“Obviously, transporting an animal like a giraffe is very complicated,” he said.

Marín said his group does not plan to speak out or take action against Africa Mía because the reserve obtained all the required permits from the Ministry of Environment and Energy (MINAE).


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