Men broke into zoo and hit giraffe with bottle before posting video on Snapchat

Two men “idiotically” broke into a zoo and threw a bottle at a giraffe before posting a video to Snapchat.

Bradley Green and Nathan Daniels, from Fareham, Hampshire, have admitted breaking into Marwell Zoo, Hampshire, on February 15 2021.

A police helicopter and armed officers were called out after someone spotted the video on the social media site and called 999.

Green, 24, of Salterns Estate, pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal and damaging the giraffe enclosure.

Daniels, 21, of Alexander Grove, pleaded guilty to damaging the penguin enclosure and a fence surrounding the zoo.

Appearing at Winchester Crown Court, the defendants were sentenced by judge Richard Parkes KC to a 12-month community order with 120 hours of unpaid work and ordered to pay £750 compensation each to the zoo.

The judge told them: “Almost two years ago, you two together had the idiotic idea of driving to Marwell Zoo during lockdown, when Marwell Zoo was closed to the public due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“You, Green, broke a door at the rear of the giraffe house. You threw the bucket and bottle of disinfectant into the enclosure and you threw something at the giraffe which we see from the video that you took.

“It struck the giraffe on the neck. One of the giraffes had an injury to its leg, with two long gashes, which was discovered the next morning.

“It happened from the giraffe being distressed, knocking itself against the door.”

He added: “It caused a great deal of public outrage at your behaviour because people are rightly sensitive at behaviour causing damage to a zoo and to animals.

“You acted in a deplorable fashion for which you must be punished. Public outrage would be such that many members of the public would like to see you in prison for this behaviour.”

Ellie Fargin, prosecuting, told the court the zoo’s exterior fence was cut so the pair could get into the grounds, while the doors of the giraffe and penguin enclosures were damaged.

Ms Fargin said the Snapchat video also showed the tiger in its enclosure.

The next morning, a plastic disinfectant bottle, sticks and stones were found in the tiger enclosure, while a bucket and another bottle of disinfectant were found in the giraffe enclosure, she said.

Ms Fargin said: “There is concern they had been thrown into the enclosure to cause distress as the tiger was behaving in a manner consistent with distress.

“Also, items were found in the cheetah enclosure.”

The injured giraffe was called Ursula, she said, while a door was found damaged with giraffe hair on it.

“The damage must have been caused by the giraffe or giraffes hitting it with force and that would have been done if they were in distress,” she said.

Ms Fargin said a life ring was found in the pool in the penguin enclosure and added: “The penguins displayed behaviour consistent with anxiety and distress from being disturbed.”

Daniel Reilly, defending Green, said to have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, said his client has “deep regret and remorse” for his actions and threw the bottle at the giraffe “to get its attention”.

He said Green faced a “social media backlash” following the incident and got death threats.

Mr Reilly said: “He knows that what he did is something that is significantly serious and something he is shamed by, particularly because he is, at his very core, an animal lover.”

Graham Gilbert, defending Daniels, said: “The behaviour showed a marked lack of maturity on his behalf.”

He said his client has lost his job working for a contractor for Marwell Zoo.