Poachers kill rare white giraffe in Kenya

Tuesday March 10 2020

The white giraffe grazing at the Ishaqbini Hirola Conservancy in Garissa County. FILE PHOTO | COURTESY | ISHQBINI HIROLA CONSERVANCY

By Kennedy Kimathi

Poachers have killed the only female white giraffe in Kenya and her calf at Ishaqbini Hirola Community Conservancy in Ijara, Garissa County, eastern Kenya.

Conservancy manager Mohammed Ahmednoor Tuesday said they only found skeletons of the rare animals after a long search.

“This is a very sad day for the community of Ijara and Kenya as a whole. Her killing is a blow to the steps taken by the community to conserve rare and unique species, and a wake-up call for continued support to conservation efforts,” said Mr Ahmednoor in a statement.

In 2017, the rare white giraffe put a remote community conservancy in Ijara, Garissa, on the global map after its discovery.

The giraffe, described as one of a kind and believed to be the only one in the world, dazzled the local community, scientists and wildlife enthusiasts globally.

Scientists believed it suffered from a genetic condition called leucism which inhibits skin cells from producing pigment.


“This is a long-term loss given that genetic studies and research which were a significant investment in the area have now gone down the drain.

"Also, the white giraffe was a big boost to tourism in the area,” Mr Ahmednoor added.

Last August, the Northern Rangelands Trust announced that the female white giraffe had given birth at the Ishaqbini Hirola Community Conservancy.

The birth of the male white calf brought to three the number of all known white giraffes in the country.

“After this incident, only a lone bull remains,” Mr Ahmednoor said.