Photo Credit: National Geographic
The rangers at the Ishaqbini Hirola Conservancy, on Tuesday, said that the remains of the two majestic white Giraffes – a female and her calf – that lived in a Kenyan Wildlife Sanctuary were found in a skeletal state.
According to the rangers, the mother Giraffe and her calf were hunted by the poachers.
After the Giraffes were not seen in quite a while, the Kenya Wildlife Service was called in to the reserve. Upon finding the bones of the two White Giraffes, the officials estimated that they had been in that state for at least 4 months.
In a news release, Manager of the wildlife reserve in Garissa County, Mohammed Ahmednoor said, “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 giraffes,”.
The describe the killing of the two White Giraffes as not only “a blow to tremendous steps taken by the community to conserve rare and unique species,”but also “a wake-up call for continued support to conservation efforts.”
Now, only 1 White Bull Giragge remains.
The Kenya Wildlife Service is now investigating the incident.
The female White Giraffe, first made the headline, when in the year 2017 she was discovered in the Sanctuary along with her calf. A second calf soon followed, and the family of 3 then lived a free-ranging life within the borders of the Sanctuary. They fetched a lot of tourist to the Sanctuary for Kenya, from all over the globe.
Just to get a glimpse a view of the 3 White Giraffes, visitors flocked the Sanctuary. The videos of these Giraffes on YouTube received million in views and they were also fearured by The Guardian, USA Today, National Geographic, and Inside Edition amongst many others.
Ahmednoor said, “This is a long term loss given that genetics studies and research which were significant investment into the area by researchers, has now gone to the drain. Further to this, the white giraffe was in a big boost to tourism in the area,”.
What gave these Giraffes their White colour was Leucism (Lekuism), caused by a genetic mutation. Leucism causes partial pigment loss of colour of skin and hair. This result in white, pale or patch colouration.
What makes Leucism different from Albinism is that in Leucism, animals keep producing dark pigment in their soft tissues which means that the eyes will remain dark.
Giraffe, which is the tallest land animal on the planet, has lost 40% of its population in 3 decades from wildlife trafficking and poaching says the African Wildlife Foundation.
Even though the Kenya Wildlife Service said that these were the only White Giraffes left on Earth, in January of 2016, one more white Giraffe was spotted in the Tarangire National Park, Tanzania.