Some species of giraffes in the world are classified as critically endangered by IUCN. One among them is the rare white giraffe.
Reports suggest the only surviving adult animal of the rare species, a female, was recently killed by local poachers in Kenya. One of her calves’ dead body was also found alongside her.
Conservationists say that the calf appeared to have died because of starvation. Their skeletal remains were found in Garissa in eastern Kenya.
The female individual and her calf were first spotted in Kenya in 2017. She gave birth to another male calf in August 2019 and since then, the three were living in a Kenyan wildlife sanctuary.
After these deaths, apparently only one white giraffe, a male birthed by the dead female, survives in the world now.
Mohammed Ahmednoor, the manager of the Ishaqbini Hirola Community Conservancy, which works towards the protection of the species, expressed sadness over these killings. He said:
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 wakeup call for continued support to conservation efforts.
The rare animals get their unique colour from a condition known as leucism. It is a genetic condition because of which the giraffes’ skin cells fail to produce pigmentation, resulting in white, pale or patchy colouration.
According to the Kenya Wildlife Service, these three white giraffes were the only animals left in the world, but other reports from 2016 suggest that one white giraffe was also spotted in Tarangire National Park in Tanzania. It is still unknown what happened to that giraffe.