The only white giraffe in the world found in north-east Kenya has been fitted with a GPS tracking device. Conservationists stated that the tracking device is to help keep the poachers away.
A conservation group said that wildlife rangers could monitor the white male giraffe's movements in realtime. The giraffe is said to have a rare genetic condition called leucism, which causes the loss of skin pigmentation.
The male giraffe is the last of its kind after poachers killed two of his family members back in March 2020. Rangers are afraid that the giraffe could suffer the same fate as his family, a female white giraffe and her seven-month-old calf who also had white skin.
The carcasses of the female white giraffe and her calf were found in a conservation area in Kenya's north-eastern Garissa County, where the male giraffe is now living alone, according to CNN.
According to the Ishagbini Hirola Community Conservancy, which oversees the wildlife in the area, the tracking device was attached to one of the horns of the giraffe on November 8.
In a statement that was released on November 17, the non-profit organization said that the tracking device would give hourly updates on the giraffe's whereabouts. This can help the rangers keep the unique animal safe from poachers, according to BBC.
Mohammed Ahmednoor, the manager of the non-profit group, thanked conservationists for their help in protecting the white giraffe and other wildlife. He said that the grazing range of the giraffe had been blessed with good rains in the recent past, and the abundant vegetation is good for the future of the giraffe.
The main conservation body in the east-African country, The Kenya Wildlife Society, stated that they were glad to be able to assist in the efforts to protect the white male giraffe, according to NBC News.
Unique white giraffes
White giraffes were first spotted in Kenya in March 2016, just two months after white giraffes in Tanzania. In 2017, white giraffes made headlines again after the mother and her calf from the conservancy in Garissa County were caught on camera.
Giraffes are the world's tallest mammals, and they are native to more than 15 African countries. Giraffes are hunted by poachers for their meat, hides, and other body parts.
Around 40 percent of the giraffe population has disappeared in the last 30 years because of poaching and wildlife trafficking, according to the Africa Wildlife Foundation or AWF.
Giraffes have been designated as vulnerable species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List (IUCN), with an estimated population of 68,293 worldwide.
Poachers can easily spot the white male giraffe because of its skin. Unlike albinism, animals with leucism continue to produce dark pigment in their soft tissue. That is why the white giraffe still has dark eyes.
In March 2020, the remains of the female white giraffe and her calf were found in a skeletal state, reportedly killed by poachers.
Visitors flocked to see the family of white giraffe. The video of the giraffe posted to YouTube racked up more than a million views. They were also featured by USA Today, Inside Edition, The Guardian, and National Geographic.
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