Dead Giraffe In Yearbook Picture Outrages Giraffe Lovers In Upstate New York

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It’s the end of the school year across America, and you know what that means: Parents and students getting outraged over various yearbook photos.

The latest brouhaha — over a picture of a kid and a dead giraffe — has broken out in Guilderland, N.Y., a small town just west of Albany.

The image appears in the 2015 Guilderland High School yearbook’s senior ad section, reports Albany ABC affiliate WTEN-TV.

The unidentified student in the photo is clutching the head of a dead giraffe. A rifle is strapped around the student’s shoulder. The scene in the background suggests a wildlife area of some kind, possibly in Africa.

The student is a senior now, but he was several years younger when the photograph was taken.

The photo’s caption reads: “A hunt based only on the trophies taken falls far short of what the ultimate goal should be,” according to the Times Union of Albany. There is also a brief message from the student’s family.

Guilderland Central School District superintendent Marie Wiles claimed that the yearbook staff made a mistake by including the photo among the yearbook’s senior ads.

“The bottom line is we have no interest or intent to offend anyone,” Wiles told WTEN-TV. “We deeply regret that there are folks out there who are offended by this.”

The superintendent suggested also suggested that she is more upset about the weapon in the photo than the dead giraffe.

“I don’t believe that the folks who reviewed the picture saw the weapon, so had they seen it, I think we would not be having this conversation today,” she told the ABC affiliate.

The Guilderland Central School District website has issued a statement on its website concerning the image.

“In light of recent events concerning a photo in the 2015 Guilderland High School yearbook, the district would like to apologize to those offended by the photo,” the statement explains. “We are actively reviewing our yearbook submission protocol, as well as yearbook administrative review policies, to ensure issues like this are avoided in the future. The yearbook is not meant to be a platform for controversy; it’s a vehicle for celebration and capturing memories.”

The Washington, D.C.-based Humane Society of the United States has also weighed in on the small-town New York yearbook fracas.

“Traveling halfway around the world to shoot some of the world’s most magnificent, and exotic animals is shameful,” the statement obtained by WTEN said. “Trophy hunting increases threats to the survival of these species. We hope Guilderland High School administrators take this opportunity to educate students on the importance of conserving and respecting African wildlife.”

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Eric Owens