Poachers kill Kenya's only white female giraffe and her calf
The only white female giraffe and her calf in Kenya have been killed by poachers at the Ishaqbini Hirola Community Conservancy in Ijara, Garissa County, eastern Kenya.
The announcement was made by the conservancy manager, Mohammed Ahmednoor, today when he revealed that after an extensive search, only their skeletons could be recovered.
Because the animals were found in a skeletal state, it is likely that they were killed some time ago by poachers, CGTN Africa reports.
Per the East African, Ahmednoor said in a statement: "This is a very sad day for the community of Ijara and Kenya as a whole. Her killing is a blow to the steps taken by the community to conserve rare and unique species and a wake-up call for continued support to conservation efforts."
White giraffes are incredibly rare, and the animal's discovery brought a great deal of tourism to the area after it was discovered in 2017, the East African reports.
"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. Also, the white giraffe was a big boost to tourism in the area," Ahmednoor added.
The female white giraffe and her calf were believed to be the only ones in the world, and now only a lone white bull giraffe remains.
The animal's unusual coloring was speculated by scientists to be the result of a genetic condition called leucism, which stops the skin cells from producing pigment.
While similar to albinism, per CGTN Africa, leucism does not prevent the production of dark pigment in soft tissue, enabling the giraffes to have dark eyes.
This story comes as giraffes were recently added to the list of species threatened by extinction.