White giraffes might sound like something out of a “through the looking glass”-type fantasy movie, but these rare giraffes do exist. Unfortunately, that might not be for long. White giraffes were first spotted in Kenya and Tanzania in 2016, and now two of them have reportedly been killed by poachers in northeastern Kenya. Rangers discovered the carcasses of a female and her calf in Kenya’s Garissa County. It’s believed that only one white giraffe remains in the world.
Mohammed Ahmednoor, the manager of the Ishaqbini Hirola Community 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 the tremendous steps taken by the community to conserve rare and unique species and a wake-up call for continued support to conservation efforts.”
The poachers responsible for the white giraffes’ deaths are unknown, and their motive is still unclear. The Kenya Wildlife Society is investigating the killings and hopes to identify those responsible soon.
The unique appearance of the white giraffes is due to a condition called leucism, which causes skin cells to lose their pigmentation.