World's Last Known White Giraffe Fitted With GPS Tracker
The male is sadly all on its own after Kenya's only female white giraffe and her calf were killed by poachers back in March, the Ishaqbini Hirola Community Conservancy said in a statement.
The two were found 'in a skeletal state' after being killed by armed poachers in Garissa in eastern Kenya, the conservancy explained, adding that the remaining male was borne by the same slaughtered female.
Now a GPS tracking device has been attached to one of the giraffe's horns, so that wildlife rangers can keep an eye on its movements. It will work by pinging every hour to alert rangers to the animal's location.
The death of the female and her calf came as a huge 'blow' to the conservancy, both in terms of conservation and tourism for the area.
Mohammed Ahmednoor, the manager of the conservancy, said at the time of the death: "Its killing is a blow to tremendous steps taken by the community to conserve rare and unique species, and a wake-up call for continued support to conservation efforts."
He continued: "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 a big boost to tourism in the area."
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The white colour that makes such giraffes so rare is a genetic trait known as leucism, with a post on the conservancy's Facebook page explaining the difference between this and albinism.
"Leucism is a condition where there is a partial loss of pigmentation resulting in white, pale or patchy colouration of skin, hair, feathers, cuticles or scales but not eyes," it says.
"Unlike albinism it is caused by a reduction in multiple types of pigment, not just melanin."
While the unique colouring is stunning, unfortunately it also makes the giraffes stand out to poachers amid the beige savannah near the border of Somalia.
Staff from the Hirola Conservation Programme previously said the local community rangers had tipped them off about the white giraffes.
Speaking in 2017, the workers recalled: "They were so close and extremely calm and seemed not disturbed by our presence.
"The mother kept pacing back and forth a few yards in front of us while signalling the baby giraffe to hide behind the bushes."
They said the mother's behaviour was 'characteristic of most wildlife mothers in the wild to prevent the predation of their young'.
Featured Image Credit: Kenya Wildlife Service
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