World's Only White Giraffe Is Fitted With GPS Tracking In A Bid To protect Him From Poachers
Wildlife workers decided to fit the nameless, male giraffe with GPS tracking device after a female and her calf were killed by poaches in Garissa, eastern Kenya, in March, the Ishaqbini Hirola Community Conservancy said in a statement.
The rare white colour is due to a genetic trait called leucism. Unfortunately, it makes him a prime target for poachers because he stands out from his natural habitat. A post on the conservancy's Facebook page has explained the difference between this and albinism.
"Leucism is a condition where there is a partial loss of pigmentation resulting in white, pale or patchy colouration of skin, hair, feathers, cuticles or scales but not eyes," the post says.
"Unlike albinism, it is caused by a reduction in multiple types of pigment, not just melanin."
The GPS tracking device has been attached to one of the giraffes horns. It will work by pinging every hour to alert rangers to the animal's location.
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Poaching is an incredibly serious issue and for such a unique animal like the last known white giraffe, it is even more important. The mother and her calf who were killed in March were found 'in a skeletal state' after being killed by armed poachers, the conservancy explained, adding that the remaining male was borne by the same slaughtered female.
The death of the female and her calf came as a huge 'blow' to the conservancy, both in terms of conservation and tourism for the area.
Mohammed Ahmednoor, the manager of the conservancy, said at the time of the death: "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."
He added: "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."
We hope the world's last known white giraffe is kept safe!
Featured Image Credit: Facebook/Ishaqbini-Hirola Community Conservancy
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