Giraffe dies after escaping from Italian circus

A giraffe at a zoo in Jackson, New Jersey (file image)
Image caption An adult male giraffe can weigh over 1,000kg

A giraffe has escaped from an Italian circus in the northern town of Imola, spending several hours on the run.

The five-metre high animal, weighing almost 900kg (2,000lb), caused damage to some vehicles along the roads by catching them with its hooves.

It shocked residents as it made its way down the town's main street.

Eventually, after four hours, it was shot with a tranquiliser by police. It died shortly afterwards, apparently of a cardiac arrest.

The animal, part of the Rinaldo Orfei circus, was on the run for around four hours and video footage showed it moving at speed across a forecourt as people looked on, amazed.

At one point the giraffe was pictured in a full gallop, with a police squad car in pursuit.

Another image, however, shows the giraffe examining some flowers as an elderly lady tends her garden, completely unaware of the giraffe's presence metres above her head.