Poachers killed two individuals of a white giraffe in Kenya. The country monitors the last known individual of a rare giraffe species to protect it against poachers.
White Giraffes Recorded in Kenya
Researchers in northeastern Kenya took unique shots of two giraffes with a completely white body color in 2017. In the wild, this is exceptional for giraffes. The footage has viral to the world’s media. Unfortunately, poachers killed a white giraffe female and her calf in March last year. Currently, Kenya knows only one white giraffe male individual.
The manager of the Ishaqbini Hirola Community Conservancy, Mohammed Ahmednoor, stated: “This is a very sad day for the community of Ijara and Kenya as a whole. We are the only community in the world who are custodians of the white giraffe.”
White giraffes have a unique color due to a rare gene that causes pigment loss. This genetic anomaly occurs in a large number of animal species, most commonly in reptiles. As a result, the animals lose most of the melanin dye – which is reflected in the fact that they have very light-colored fur, sometimes even pure white. Unlike albinism, they form darker pigments in soft tissues. Therefore, the male white giraffe has dark eyes.
GPS Monitoring Against Poaching
To protect the male, the government had a GPS device installed on the giraffe’s horns. The GPS device transmits the location of the giraffe every hour. The Ishaqbini Community Hirola Conservancy, based in Garissa district in Kenya, hopes to protect the last known living white giraffe individual.
Kenya is home to many unique species of animals. Large mammals die from poaching in Africa. Elephants for ivory, unicorns for their horns, giraffes for their skin, meat, and body parts. Many animals die just for the pleasure of man hunting.
Giraffes, which come from more than 15 African countries, are the tallest mammals in the world. According to the Africa Wildlife Foundation (AWF), about 40% of the giraffe population has disappeared in the last 30 years. Giraffes have been identified as a vulnerable species on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List.