The white giraffes killed were a mother and child who was only 7 months old. Only one more white giraffe, the young male child of the dead mom, lives now.
One of the primary reasons why the world is losing most of its biodiversity is because of human interference. Sometimes, it's because we encroach into their natural habitats, and sometimes it's because poachers attack and kill them. In March 2020, the world lost two extremely rare white giraffes at the hands of poachers in north-eastern Kenya, BBC quoted conservationists as saying.
The carcasses of the female and her 7-month-old calf were found in a village in north-eastern Kenya's Garissa County by rangers. They were found "in a skeletal state after being killed by armed poachers" in a nature conservancy in Ijara, as per National Geographic. The news of their death was shared by the Northern Rangelands Trust in a statement.
"This is a very sad day for the community of Ijara and Kenya as a whole," said Mohammed Ahmednoor, the manager of the Ishaqbini Hirola Community Conservancy, in a statement. "We are the only community in the world who are custodians of the white giraffe," said he, adding, "Its killing is a blow to tremendous steps taken by the community to conserve rare and unique species, and a wakeup call for continued support to conservation efforts." He added that the deaths were confirmed by rangers and community members and it was a major loss for researchers and tourism providers who work in that corner of Kenya.
There were only three such giraffes in Kenya and one of them is still alive. It is believed that it's the only white giraffe in the world, as per conservationists. The remaining one is a young male and the child of the mother giraffe that was killed. The giraffes aren't a different species and their color is due to a rare condition called leucism, which leads to skin cells having no pigmentation. However, they do produce dark pigment in their soft tissue, which is why their eyes are dark, as per The Guardian.
The white giraffes had become famous in 2017 when the mother giraffe was photographed inside the conservancy and later when she gave birth to her two calves, which was in late August 2019. Rangers had also posted a video in August 2017 when they spotted the giraffe while patrolling.
Commenters on the video had then warned the rangers against sharing the place the giraffe was located in. One person said, "DO NOT SAY WHERE THEY ARE! Not even the country! Watch this poor sweetie get poached next week..." The warnings of the person came true only a few years down the line.
"I warned everyone not to disclose their location and it's what I feared, now they're gone," said another person. "Everyone saying they're going to get poached was 100% correct. RIP you two cool animals. May your poachers acquire a long painful death!" said another.
This tragic end of the giraffes further highlights the complex connection humans have with nature in this digitized age. We want to be able to see the beautiful creatures from across the world but it puts them at a greater risk. For poachers, the rarity and exclusivity are two of the biggest factors that make them target some animals and it also drives the illegal wildlife trade, as per National Geographic.