The Last Known White Giraffe Gets Fitted With A GPS Tracker To Prevent Poaching

The world of conservation received devastating news back in March: the last female white giraffe and her white baby were murdered by poachers.

The Ishaqbini Hirola Community Conservancy shared that the mother and baby were found in a “skeletal state” after being slaughtered by poachers.

The ruthless murder left the world with just one white giraffe left, a male incapable of carrying the species on. In a desperate attempt to protect the last white giraffe, conservationists decided he must be tracked at all times.

The giraffe was fitted with a GPS tracking device so he could be regularly monitored. The device, secured on the giraffe’s horns, produces a location update every hour. Rangers can use this location update to continuously monitor the giraffe and deter potential poaching efforts.

In a press release by the Northern Rangelands Trust (NRT), the manager of the conservancy, Mohammed Ahmednoor, shared that the deaths of the mother and calf giraffes resulted in a devastating blow on conservation efforts. The giraffes were being used in genetic studies and research, to better help humanity understand the rare species. Beyond that, their loss also resulted in a tragic blow to the local area’s tourism, where the white giraffes had drawn in quite the crowd.

As the post shared, the giraffes had a condition called leucism, which is different from albinism. While albinism means an animal loses all color pigment, leucism creates only a parietal loss of pigment. Because of this, animals with leucism will appear pale or patchy white in color, but their eyes remain unaffected.

As a whole, giraffes are decreasing in numbers across the globe and they’re now listed on the IUCN’s red list as “vulnerable.” According to National Geographic, giraffes are regularly poached for their hide, tails, bones, and meat, but others are killed as a means of pest management because they sometimes damage crops.

White giraffes are that much more enticing for poachers because of their stunning white hides. They also make easier targets because their appearance doesn’t allow them to blend into their surroundings as well as standard giraffes.

We can only hope that the tracking device serves the last white giraffe well and protects it from poaching.

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