The world’s last white giraffe wears a GPS to protect it from poachers

This is the last white giraffe left in the world. Thanks to a GPS device its movements are being tracked to protect it from poachers.

Observing this creature in its natural habitat means witnessing something magical. Its beauty, so rare, enchants whoever watches it grazing quietly in Kenya’s grasslands, likely unaware of the danger it faces. It seems almost impossible to think that after this giraffe is gone, this scene will disappear too. This male white giraffe is the only one left in this world, or at least the last known one. Its existence is, paradoxically, also its curse. Its white and shiny mantle makes it easily identifiable amidst the vegetation, and therefore the perfect target for uncivilised and ruthless poachers who have already brutally killed a mother and her cub of the same species.

Authorities and activists in Kenya are trying to protect it in every way possible, to the point of equipping it with a GPS to monitor its every move and make sure it doesn’t meet the same sad end.

A team effort to protect the last white giraffe

The Ishaqbini-Hirola Community Conversancy is in charge of the reserve in eastern Garissa county where the carcasses of the other two specimens were found, and has been fighting for years to increase protections for these magnificent animals. The organisation is run by volunteers who are also members of the local community, at the forefront of protecting such a precious life.

“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,” explains Ahmed Noor, manager of the programme, whose work is supported by the Kenya Wildlife Service and two local NGOs, Save Giraffes Now and the Northern Rangeland Trust.

“We are thankful for the tremendous help from KWS, Save Giraffes Now and the Northern Rangelands Trust in furthering…

Posted by Ishaqbini-Hirola Community Conservancy on Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Why the giraffe is white 

Its physical appearance is given by a rare genetic trait called leucism, which differs from albinism because it doesn’t impede the production of pigments that are dark, especially to the naked eye.

The first sighting of white giraffes dates back to 2016, but they only became famous in 2017 after local rangers finally managed to photograph them. After less than three years, the known population has been reduced from three specimens to one.

Today, only a male so rare that he doesn’t have a name remains, reminding us of how magical nature can be and how far we still need to go to protect it.

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