Kenya's last female white giraffe and her calf killed by poachers

The giraffes lived in a conservancy in eastern Kenya.
The giraffes lived in a conservancy in eastern Kenya. Photo credit: Hirola Conservancy

Poachers have killed Kenya's only female white giraffe and her calf, local conservationists say.

The Ishaqbini Hirola Community Conservancy confirmed on Tuesday (local time) in a statement that rangers found their carcasses in Garissa, eastern Kenya after they were targeted by armed poachers.

Her calf was the second birth reported in 2019, resulting in a family of three white giraffes. But after these two deaths, a lone male remains. 

"This is a very sad day for the community of Ijara and Kenya as a whole. We are the only community in the world who are custodians of the white giraffe," conservation manager Mohammed Ahmednoor said.

"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."

The giraffes were white, but not albino, due to the condition leucism which reduces pigmentation in animals.

Ahmednoor said it is a "long term loss" for researchers and tourism operators in the remote area of Kenya.