The illegal killing of this rare species of giraffe and her calf leaves a lone surviving male in the entire world. The death of the white giraffe, who’s alabaster color is caused by leucism, a condition that only produces dark pigments on soft tissues, has left the community of Ijara, Kenya saddened.
Not only is this a long-term loss of research industries, but tourism will also take a hit.
“This is a very sad day for the community of Ijara and Kenya as a whole,” Mohammand Ahmednoor, manager of the Ishaqbini Hirola Community Conservancy, 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 wake-up call for continued support to conservation efforts.”
The Ishaqbini Hirola Community Conservancy where the giraffes lived is located in a vast, non fenced-in area within two villages.
The Hirola Conservation Program was formed to support conservation efforts and continued research of the giraffes after the female white giraffe was first spotted in the conservancy in 2017. But the female giraffe was first discovered in Kenya in March 2016 in Tanzania at the Tarangire National Park. She recently gave birth to two calves in August 2019.
While the poachers have yet to be identified, the Kenya Wildlife Society is investigating the killings.
Today, the female giraffe’s surviving male calf is the only remaining white giraffe in the world and, according to the Giraffe Conservation Foundation, the total population of giraffes living in Africa has decreased by 30% since their count in 1980’s with an even more dramatic drop on other areas of the world.
“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 said. “Further to this the white giraffe was a big boost to tourism in the area.”