The world is heartbroken after conservationists revealed that farmers found the bodies of an extremely rare white female giraffe and her calf, killed by poachers in a village in north-eastern Kenya’s Garissa County.
The sad event has pointed out the challenges of conservation and the persistent and devastating impact of poaching. It is believed that the male birthed by the same mother is now the only remaining white giraffe in the world.
On Tuesday, March 10, Garissa County Conservation Center confirmed the death of the giraffes in a press release on social media, stating that “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 added that the white giraffe was a “big boost” for the tourism industry in the area, so this will have dramatic effects.
The white giraffe was first spotted in 2017, and the family of three lived in a sanctuary. The unique animals attracted numerous visitors, and videos of them were featured by USA Today, The Guardian, Inside Edition, and National Geographic, among other outlets.
It was then revealed that their rare appearance is caused by a condition known as leucism, which causes partial loss of pigmentation. These animals continue to produce some dark pigment in their soft tissue, so the giraffes had dark eyes.
It is thought that the body of the mother has been there for around three to four months, and the calf died from hunger after the death of the mother.
The incident is being investigated by the Kenya Wildlife Service, the main conservation body in the East African state. Let’s just hope that the ones responsible for the tragedy will be caught and brought to justice.
After the release of the news, numerous people took to social media to show their rage, writing that this is “ quite sad news indeed” and that it is heartbreaking that “any human would do something so heartless and evil!”
“This is beyond terrible. May the poachers and their families for 10 generations suffer a worse fate,” a user remarked.
Another user asked:
“Can we please start hunting poachers?”
Apart from habitat loss caused by infrastructure development and land clearing for agriculture and firewood, poaching for their meat and hide is a great threat to animals. Therefore, Kenya is struggling to save its wildlife population, as it is the main source of much-needed tourism revenue.