The world’s only known white giraffe has been fitted with a tracking device in north-eastern Kenya, conservationists say.
The male giraffe was until recently one of three giraffes with the rare genetic trait. But a white female and her calf were killed by poachers in March in a village in Kenya’s Garissa county.
Its white appearance is due to a condition called leucism, which causes skin cells to have no pigmentation.
The GPS tracking device was placed on one of its horns on 8 November and will give hourly updates of its location.
It will enable rangers to monitor its movements and protect it from poachers.
The board of Ishaqbini Hirola Community Conservancy, where the giraffe lives, had requested the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) to fit the giraffe with the tracking device.
As of March 2020, there were three white giraffes in the world, however, two of the three were killed by poachers. Their skeletal remains were found in Garissa in the east of the country, Ishaqbini Hirola Community Conservancy said in a statement at the time.
Now only a lone male, borne of the slaughtered female, remains alive.
The manager of the Ishaqbini Hirola Community Conservancy, Mohammed Ahmednoor, said the two killed giraffes were last spotted sometime in December 2019.
“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,” he said.
“Its killing is a blow to the tremendous steps taken by the community to conserve rare and unique species and a wake-up call for continued support to conservation efforts.”
It is not clear who killed the animals and what their motivation was.
The giraffes made headlines in 2017 when photographs of them spread across the world.
Their unusual lack of skin colour is due to a condition called leucism, which causes cells to lose pigmentation. Unlike albino animals, they have dark rather than pink eyes.
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