Who Is Stanley The Giraffe? New Details About The Fate Of The Malibu Wines Safari Mascot Following The California Wildfires

Photo: Instagram
Who Is Stanley the giraffe?Who Is Stanley The Giraffe? New Details About The Fate Of The Malibu Wines Safari Mascot Following The California Wildfires

A giraffe hasn't caused such a media frenzy since Geoffrey retired with the closing of Toys R Us. What is important is that Stanley the giraffe is SAFE after swift moving wildfires swept through Malibu. There's been a lot of controversy about how Malibu Wine Safari, where Stanley lives, handled the care and evacuation of their exotic animals. On one side are the animal right activists rallying behind comedian Whitney Cummings and becoming more unhinged daily. On the other side are the exotic animal vets, caretakers, owners, and Los Angeles Fire Department, all of whom insist Stanley was safe throughout the catastrophic fires. Who is Stanley the giraffe?

1. Background info on Malibu Wines 

Malibu Wines and Malibu Wines Safari are businesses owned and operated by the Semler family in Malibu Canyon. The venue includes an outdoor tasting room with live music on weekends. Patrons can bring picnics and enjoy an idyllic day. Or, you can take a Malibu Wines Safari and tour the vineyards and feed various exotic animals including a giraffe named Stanley, llamas named Barack Ollama and Kendrick Llama, zebras, water buffaloes, pigs, horses, and more. All in all, there are more than 100 animals living at Malibu Wines' Saddlerock Ranch. The facility also boards horses. If you watch Keeping Up With The Kardashians,  you've seen Malibu Wines Safari on the show.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by Malibu Wines (@malibuwines) on Oct 9, 2018 at 5:18pm PDT


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2. The Woolsey fire

As of today, the Woolsey fire has burnt more than 98,000 acres -- that is approximately the size of the city of Denver. It is 57% contained. The fire broke out near Thousand Oaks, California on Thursday just as that community was dealing with the tragic shooting that killed 12 people at the Borderline Bar and Grill. Over the weekend, about 250,000 people were evacuated, including the entire city of Malibu. The fire jumped the 101 freeway and rapidly moved through the canyons on its march towards the PCH and the sea. More than 500 structures, most of them homes have been burned. Celebrities including Gerard Butler, Miley Cyrus, Robin Thicke and Neil Young lost their homes to fire. The canyons around Agoura Hills, Calabassas and Malibu contained a lot of equestrian properties. Stunning photographs show horses and llamas tethered to lifeguard stations on Zuma Beach. Due to winds of 50-70mph, people and businesses in the affected area had very little time to react. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by Stanley (@a_giraffe_named_stanley) on Oct 25, 2018 at 7:30pm PDT

 

3. Friday night

The fire crested the hill that put Malibu Wines and Saddlerock Ranch in the direct path of the fire on Friday. People began to wonder what Malibu Wines Safari was going to do about the animals on property, particularly Stanley the giraffe, who is a popular figure at the winery. He's got celebrity fans. He's a popular stop for selfies. The internet soon lost their minds over the idea that Stanley and the other animals were in the path of the fire. It should be noted that many horse boarding stables, animal rescue groups and sanctuaries were within the path of the fire. In many cases, the canyon roads to escape the fire were blocked by fire, downed power lines, and debris.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by Mimi Page (@mimipagemusic) on Nov 13, 2018 at 12:25pm PST


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4. Unclear social media messages stoking the fire

The trouble seemed to start when people failed to properly comprehend Malibu Wines and Malibu Wines Safari's social media statement on Friday night. The exact statement issued said: "We have evacuated and will be closed today due to the fires. All of the animals are safe and we will be in touch with further updates for the weekend. Thank you." Note that it says we have evacuated and all of the animals are safe. Many, many, many people assumed that this meant the animals were evacuated. When it was discovered that many of them were not, people flipped. If you have time to waste, head over to Instagram and take a look at the comments on the Malibu Wines and Malibu Wines Safari accounts. People are unhinged, out for blood, and will not listen to reason, evidence, or statements from the owners, vets, or news crews. They are practically accusing Malibu Wines of lying about Stanley's condition. The social media message is partially to blame for this. It could have been clearer. It could have said, "We have evacuated and enacted our fire safety protocol for the animals, who are safe." But let's also consider that the business had two hours to completely secure any animals that could not be evacuated. Their homes were on the property as well. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by Stanley (@a_giraffe_named_stanley) on Nov 12, 2018 at 6:58pm PST

5. Was Stanley alone during the fire?

According to the most recent statement from Malibu Wines Safari's vet, Dr. Stephen Klause: "After the animals were placed in the safe location, staff and personnel safely evacuated the property. Some staff members were able to get back on the property about four hours later and they worked through the night attending to the animals. I was in contact with staff members and the owner throughout the night." Let's break that down — the animals were moved to a large pasture of short grass, dirt, and a lake — in other words, there was no fuel for the fire in that area. In an interview with KTLA, the LAFD's Brendan Silverman said that the area Stanley and other animals were left in was completely safe. In fact, he'd be comfortable using the same area as a staging ground for his firefighters. If it is safe enough for first responders, it safe enough for Stanley and his friends. Additionally, Silverman reported that Malibu Wines has always had evacuation plans filed and they followed those plans. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by Malibu Wine Safaris (@malibusafaris) on Nov 11, 2018 at 12:31pm PST

6. Why couldn't Stanley and others be evacuated?

Basically, there wasn't time. The plan that Malibu Wines followed was the safest one for the animals and their caretakers. From the statement Malibu Wines issued: "There are over one hundred exotic and domestic animals in addition to dozens of boarding horses on Saddlerock Ranch. As a veterinarian with 33 years of experience, the fire protocol of moving the animals into the central area was the most prudent and realistic plan to get the animals to safety. Exotic animals cannot simply be haltered and moved onto a trailer and off of the property. The majority of them require anesthesia and major lifting capability to move them onto a trailer. It would take weeks to move a collection of that size and animal type, which in itself, would be an extreme risk to some of the animals. The staff did an amazing job in a very short period of time to accomplish this feat." 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by Stanley (@a_giraffe_named_stanley) on Oct 13, 2018 at 5:40pm PDT


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7. Unhinged comments led by comedienne

The internet was already losing its collective mind and espousing conspiracy theories about Stanley the Giraffe and the Semler family. They were out for blood. Then Whitney Cummings got involved and she created more chaos. She reportedly canceled some shows and flew back to Los Angeles to rescue her horse and then appointed herself the savior of the animals at Malibu Wines. It really seems her heart was in the right place. It is just that she delivered her message with a healthy serving of hysteria. She went out to Malibu Wines to deliver hay and check on the animals — mind you roads are still closed and open to rescue workers, first responders, utility companies, and on and off to residents. Cummings posted a number of things to her Instagram account slamming Malibu Wines. Each and every time her claims were debunked. Soon after, those posts disappeared from her Instagram. She soon became the patron saint of the unhinged animal rights people. To be clear, Whitney Cummings is a writer, actress, and comedienne. She is not an exotic animal transport expert. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by Whitney Cummings (@whitneycummings) on Nov 11, 2018 at 12:15pm PST

 

8. The exotic car collection rumor

One of the things incensing the rabid masses is the rumor that the Semler family moved their exotic car collection off the property before caring for the animals. This is false. It has been debunked a number of times in interviews with major Los Angeles media outlets. During the KTLA interview on Monday, Dakota Semler was asked about the claim that his family didn't evacuate the animals because they are insured and they'd get a big payout for them. He responded by saying that the claim was completely false while tearing up. He looked at Stanley and said that the animals are their family and he didn't have insurance on his grandparents. 

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A post shared by Malibu Wine Safaris (@malibusafaris) on Nov 11, 2018 at 1:43pm PST

9. Stanley's bloody nose and singed eye lashes

During Whitney Cummings' "rogue" video, she made a number of claims but chief among them were her somewhat hysterical claims that Stanley was injured because he had a bloody nose and singed eyelashes. Dakota Semler said in the KTLA interview, that Stanley gets bloody noses when it is dry (so do I Stanley!), and he has moisture that is used to alleviate that. As far as the singed eyelashes go, they aren't singed, they are doing their job and keeping the dust out of his eyes and thus less visible. Additionally, Cummings' pointed to a burned area just outside of Stanley's enclosure. It should be noted that that was not where Stanley was kept during the fire. That's his regular enclosure on site. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by Stanley (@a_giraffe_named_stanley) on Sep 4, 2018 at 7:53pm PDT

10. Statement from Malibu Wines Safari's vet

On Monday night, Malibu Wines Safari released the following statement from their vet, Dr. Stephen Klause, which we've sprinkled throughout the article. Here is more of it: "On the evening of Friday, November 9, fire from the combined Woosley Malibu Fires swept across Saddlerock Ranch, destroying Malibu Wine Safari. Ranch personnel received minimal time notification (a little more than 2 hours) that the fire was likely to move over their area. This small window of time given to ranch personnel was due to the speed that the fire was moving because of the 50-70 mph winds. The ranch staff immediately instituted the planned fire protocol that was in place for just such an occurrence.  All of the exotic and domestic animals plus boarding horses were let out into the wide open central area that is contained with many fenced off pastures. This wide open area has no trees or brush, but consists of short grass, dirt, and a lake area. This barren enclosure has little to no “fuel” to power a fire or facilitate the spread of one. 

No animal moved into that area perished as a result of a fire that destroyed 95 percent of the structures on the property, which is a testament to the viability and enactment of the ranch’s fire protocol. All of those animals came through the ordeal with no issues whatsoever, with the exception of two animals: One llama had some foot pad issues for which I administered foot care, ointments, bandaging, antibiotics, and pain medications. One horse had some wire fence injuries which I addressed by sedating the animal, cleaning the wounds, bandaging the leg, suturing the chest laceration, and starting a long-acting antibiotic. Following my procedure, I contacted an equine veterinarian that frequently works on the ranch and described what was wrong with the horse and the emergency care that I gave at the time. That veterinarian was then able to get on the ranch yesterday (Sunday) and continue to provide care for that horse. "

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by Stanley (@a_giraffe_named_stanley) on Jun 21, 2018 at 3:32pm PDT

Wishing the best of luck to the folks at Malibu Wines and Malibu Wines Safari. 

Amy Lamare is a Los Angeles based freelance writer covering entertainment, pop culture, beauty, fashion, fitness, technology, and the intersection of technology, business, and philanthropy. She is deeply devoted to her chocolate Labrador and an avid long distance runner. You can find her on Instagram and Facebook.