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. Thein Kenya in 2018. .
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.”