Orphan Giraffe Fetched $3,000-Plus

Long kept at the East Hampton Village Department of Public Works impound yard, this fake giraffe has been released to a new, unnamed owner. Durell Godfrey

Is it an extravagant Christmas gift? A new addition to a private zoo? Or is its purpose something altogether different?

The answer remains elusive, but when the deadline passed for sealed bids for the life-size giraffe sculpture that stood in an East Hampton Village holding pen since its discovery near the Nature Trail some 18 months ago, an unnamed party's $3,333 offering was the highest of 14 received.

T.E. McMorrow, a reporter for The Star, spied the giraffe in Amagansett on Monday morning, lying on a flatbed truck traveling east on Montauk Highway.

The nearly 15-foot-tall sculpture had appeared in various places in and around Napeague State Park starting in 2012 and could be seen from Cranberry Hole Road. It disappeared from the park and next showed up in May 2016 chained to a tree near the Huntting Lane entrance to the Nature Trail.

Considered stolen property by the village, the giraffe was taken to the village's Department of Public Works impound yard on Accabonac Road, where it remained unclaimed.

The village board had decided last month to sell the creature, setting the deadline for receipt of sealed bids at Dec. 12 at 2 p.m. The buyer's identity is being protected, said Becky Hansen, the village administrator, in the interest of the giraffe's security and safety. "We're worried that someone might steal it again," she said on Monday.

The giraffe's new owner is responsible for obtaining whatever town or village permits and variances are required to display it.