Story at a glance
- The world’s only known white giraffe was fitted with a GPS tracking device in order to monitor the animal and keep it safe from poachers.
- The male giraffe was once one of three giraffes with leucism — a rare genetic trait that causes partial loss of pigmentation in the animal’s skin — living in the Ishaqbini Hirola Community Conservancy in southeast Kenya.
- The giraffe’s family was killed by poachers in March.
An incredibly rare white giraffe that’s believed to be the last of its kind has been fitted with a GPS tracking device in order to keep the unique animal safe from poachers, according to the Northern Rangelands Trust.
The white male giraffe was once one of three giraffes with leucism — a rare genetic trait that causes partial loss of pigmentation in the animal’s skin — living in the Ishaqbini Hirola Community Conservancy in southeast Kenya.
The giraffe’s unusual color makes it particularly vulnerable to poachers out in the wild.
In March, the two other white giraffes in the conservancy, a female and her calf, were killed by poachers in the region.
The threat of poachers prompted conservationists to take action. The lone animal was fitted with the tracking device on one of its horns on Nov. 8 that will send hourly updates on the animal’s location to rangers who will monitor its movements on a daily basis to keep it safe.
“We are thankful for the tremendous help from the KWS [Kenya Wildlife Service], Save Giraffes Now and the Northern Rangelands Trust in furthering community efforts to safeguard wildlife species,” Ahmed Noor, manager of the Ishaqbini Hirola Community Conservancy, said in a statement.
“The giraffe’s grazing range has been blessed with good rains in the recent past and the abundant vegetation bodes well for the future of the white male.”
The tallest mammal in the world has seen a population decline of 40 percent in the past three decades and there are approximately 68,000 left in the wild. The longevity of the animal is threatened by loss of habitat and poaching.
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