Conservationists say the killings are a “blow to tremendous steps taken by the community to conserve rare and unique species”.
According to conservationists, rangers found the bodies of the female and her calf in a village in north-eastern Kenya’s Garissa County.
One other white giraffe, a male birthed by the late mother, is still alive and is thought to be the only remaining white giraffe in the world.
The killing has been described as “a blow to tremendous steps taken by the community to conserve rare and unique species” as well as “a wake-up call for continued support to conservation efforts”.
The death of the two giraffes was confirmed by Garissa County Conservation Center in a press release posted to social media on Tuesday, March 10.
The statement said, according to ‘images sent in by the community’, the body of the mother giraffe was ‘in a skeletal state after being killed by armed poachers’.
Mohammed Ahmednoor, the manager of Ishaqbini Hirola Conservancy, said:
This is a very sad day for the community of Ijara and Kenya as a whole. 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.
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 went on to say tourism will be affected as a result of the deaths, marking another loss to the area, as the white giraffe was a ‘big boost’ to the tourism industry.
The white giraffe made headlines in 2017 after its discovery, with its unique white appearance a result of a condition known as leucism, which causes partial loss of pigmentation in an animal.
Unlike Albinism, animals with leucism continue to produce some dark pigment in their soft tissue, and so the giraffes’ eyes were dark in colour rather than red as typically seen in instances of albinism.
When the female white giraffe first made headlines, she was discovered alongside her calf. A second calf followed, and the family of three lived within the confines of the sanctuary.
These people don’t care, greed is the motivator
The illegal wildlife trade is worth tens of billions of dollars each year and dramatically impacts legally operating businesses and tourism around the world.Rhino horn: over $60,000/kg (2014)Elephant ivory (raw): $2,142/kg (2014)Elephant ivory (China): $730/kg (2017)
Reported wildlife trafficking and seizures of animal parts have increased dramatically the past few years. The illicit wildlife and plant trade is estimated to be worth $70-213 billion a year (PDF) and infringes on the natural resources of countries and wealth of businesses around the world. It’s also contributing to the extinction of tigers, bears, elephants, rhinoceroses, and hundreds of other incredible species while criminal organisations and rebel militias profit.
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