Indiscriminate hunting of giraffes has slowly pushed the species towards extinction. While regular giraffes are in the vulnerable to extinction list, white giraffes are even closer to extinction. The rare species were spotted in Kenya in 2017. Three months ago, a white giraffe mother and calf pair were seen alive in eastern Kenya. However, on Tuesday, it was confirmed that the pair's skeletal carcases had been found in the Garissa region of Kenya.
At the moment, it is believed that Kenya is the only country in the world where the rare white giraffe can be seen. In August 2017, a photo of the white giraffe made the rare animal famous. When the female giraffe was photographed, she had a white offspring with her. The male offspring separated from the mother and she birthed another white calf last year.
Three months ago, the mother and the new calf were spotted in the open conservation area. Since they were last seen, it is believed that poachers targeted the extremely rare animals. The Kenya Wildlife Service has launched an investigation to find out why the poachers targeted the animals and to apprehend the criminals.
The rare white colour of the white giraffes is caused by a genetic condition called leucism. Leucism is different from albinism which causes an absence of melanin. Leucism causes a partial loss of pigments but does not affect the presence of melanin. Thus, the giraffes had dark eyes while their bodies were pale.
Since the white giraffe and her calf were photographed in 2017, there had been an influx of visitors hoping to spot the rare animals. Mohammed Ahmednoor, manager of the reserve in Garissa, stated that the killings of the giraffes was a tragic loss for the nation. With their deaths, the only known white giraffe left in the world is the male giraffe which the dead female had given birth to previously.
CNN pointed out that in 2016, the first white giraffe was spotted in Tarangire National Park, in Tanzania. The fate of the giraffe spotted in Tanzania remains unknown.