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An extremely rare white female giraffe has been killed by poachers in Kenya, along with her calf.
According to conservationists, rangers found the bodies of the female and her calf in a village in north-eastern Kenya’s Garissa County.
One other white giraffe, a male birthed by the late mother, is still alive and is thought to be the only remaining white giraffe in the world.
The death of the two giraffes was confirmed by Garissa County Conservation Center in a press release posted to social media on Tuesday, March 10.
The statement said, according to ‘images sent in by the community’, the body of the mother giraffe was ‘in a skeletal state after being killed by armed poachers’.
Mohammed Ahmednoor, the manager of Ishaqbini Hirola Conservancy, 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 giraffe.
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.
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.
Ahmednoor went on to say tourism will be affected as a result of the deaths, marking another loss to the area, as the white giraffe was a ‘big boost’ to the tourism industry.
The white giraffe made headlines in 2017 after its discovery, with its unique white appearance a result of a condition known as leucism, which causes partial loss of pigmentation in an animal.
Unlike Albinism, animals with leucism continue to produce some dark pigment in their soft tissue, and so the giraffes’ eyes were dark in colour rather than red as typically seen in instances of albinism.
When the female white giraffe first made headlines, she was discovered alongside her calf. A second calf followed, and the family of three lived within the confines of the sanctuary.
The body of the mother is thought to have been there for around three to four months and was found alongside that of her youngest calf, who seems to have died from hunger after the mother died, Newsweek was told.
Hopefully those responsible will be caught and brought to justice.
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