November 25, 2020
Rare white giraffe gets GPS tracker in hopes it can be saved from poachers

Rare white giraffe gets GPS tracker in hopes it can be saved from poachers


The world’s only known white giraffe, which lives in the Ishaqbini Community Conservancy in Kenya, has been fitted with a GPS tracker.


NRT

The world’s only known white giraffe was once one of a trio. In March 2020, poachers killed a female white giraffe and her calf where the animals lived in the Ishaqbini Hirola Community Conservancy in Kenya. Conservationists have now fitted the last surviving white giraffe, a young male, with a GPS tracker in hopes of avoiding the same fate.

The giraffe has leucism, a condition that involves the loss of pigmentation and gives it a ghostly appearance quite different from the darker brown colors of its kin. 

The GPS tracker — which was fitted on one of the giraffe’s horns — sends hourly updates on its location to rangers. The project was completed on Nov. 8 with assistance from multiple groups, including the Kenya Wildlife Service and conservation groups Northern Rangelands Trust (NRT) and Save Giraffes Now.

Poaching continues to be a problem for many species in Kenya, including elephants and rhinos. The last male northern white rhino died in Kenya in 2018. Rhinoceros populations have been decimated by poachers

According to the African Wildlife Foundation, a nonprofit conservation organization, poachers target giraffes for their meat, skin and body parts. Giraffes are listed as vulnerable in the IUCN’s list of threatened species. That puts them a step below endangered.

There is reason for hope for the rare animal beyond just the GPS project. 

Said Ishaqbini Hirola Community Conservancy manager Ahmed Noor in a statement from NRT, “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.” 



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