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Africa Weeping

I always thought if you were 14 feet tall in Tucson it meant you had a full ride basketball scholarship to U of A.

But no, this beautiful, statuesque creature won’t be helping the Wildcat hoops program this season because it’s dead.

It’s a huge, wondrous example of South African wildlife, a giraffe that was stuffed by a Tucson taxidermist and, as of this week, is on display there at the International Wildlife Museum.

Now, Tucson didn’t need a dead giraffe to show the kids of southern Arizona what one looks like.

There are live ones in the zoo. But, the stuffed one was donated by the family of the 19-year-old girl who shot it while on safari. And the only word that came to me when I heard the story was — why?

Why would anyone shoot a giraffe? Why would anyone pay the South African government a trophy fee of $3,800 for the privilege? The giraffe isn’t predatory and won’t harm the environment. Why would a young woman of 19 kill one for sport?

Perhaps in years to come she can explain that to her children.

I’m Pat McMahon.