Poachers kill Kenya’s only white female giraffe and her calf

By Bernard Gitau On Wed, 11 Mar, 2020 08:43 | 2 mins read
white giraffes
A image by the Ishaqbini Hirola Community Conservancy shows the rare white giraffe and her calf in Kenya. PHOTO | HO | AFP

Poachers have killed two of the three white giraffes at Ishaqbini Hirola Community Conservancy, Garissa county.

In a statement from the conservancy, the killing of the mother and the calf is a big blow to their efforts of conserving the rare and unique species.

According to the conservancy, the female giraffe’s calf was the second birth reported in August last year, resulting in a family of three white giraffes.

Ishaqbini Hirola Conservancy manager Mohammed Ahmednoor said after the incident, only a lone bull remains.

“This is a 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,” said Mohammed.

He added the giraffes’ killing is a blow to tremendous steps taken by the community to conserve rare and unique species and a wakeup call for continued support to conservation efforts.

The white giraffe made headlines in 2017 after its discovery, with its unique white hide.

It is white but not albino, because of a condition known as leucism.

Unlike albinism, animals with leucism continue to produce dark pigment in their soft tissue, thus her eyes were dark.

Game meat

“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,” Mohammed added.

Kenya Wildlife Service said it is investigating the alleged killing of the rare white ‘Albino’ giraffes in Ilshaqbini Hirola Sanctuary in Garissa county.

Some reports indicated the killing was for the game meat with some claiming it was killed over conservancy funds row.

The tourism sector has received a hitting this year after Tim, the famous Amboseli National Park Tusker, died on February 4, aged 50 years.

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