Pro tip: Don’t pose with a slain giraffe in your high-school yearbook photo

Why settle for a cap and gown when you could pose with this endangered animal you've just killed?


Kasia Pilat


Published May 29, 2015   Updated May 28, 2021, 5:28 pm CDT

Graduation season is upon us, which means that a bunch of yearbook entries have gone viral, such as this yearbook quote by hijab wearer Rafika Alami. But this yearbook photo from Guilderland High School in New York state is going viral for all the wrong reasons.  

The photo in question features an anonymous high school student standing next to a slain giraffe, which appears to be a trophy from a recent kill. The image appeared in the “friends and family” section of the yearbook. 

Photo via Times-Union

This is what the student’s family wrote underneath the photo: 

Photo via Times-Union

It’s unclear if the “ultimate goal” refers to eliminating Africa’s entire giraffe population, or eliminating African wildlife in general. But unsurprisingly, the photo has proven controversial, and students have taken to social media to voice their disapproval.

“I can’t wear a tank top to school without being hounded because it’s “inappropriate,” yet someone can pose with a dead giraffe in the year book [sic] & that’s completely ‘appropriate’,” wrote one student.




This is far from the first time a photo of an animal trophy has caused controversy on social media. Earlier this year, an image of professional hunter Rebecca Francis posing with a dead giraffe went viral after comedian Ricky Gervais tweeted it, which led to Francis receiving harassment and death threats. 

School officials responded by acknowledging the gaffe and promising higher levels of scrutiny.

“I do understand that there are some folks that are offended,” School Superintendent Marie Wiles told the Times Union. “It’s our regret that people are offended by this. In the future, we will take a little bit closer view of how we review that section of the yearbook.”

But that apology likely won’t silence animal rights advocates, particularly in light of the fact that the global giraffe population has reportedly decreased by 40 percent in 15 years, thanks to hunters.  

H/T Times Union | Photo via Tambako the Jaguar/Flickr (CC BY ND 2.0)

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*First Published: May 29, 2015, 3:41 pm CDT