Orphaned White Giraffe Gets Some Added Protection

GPS tracker to provide hourly location updates in Kenya
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 18, 2020 8:00 AM CST
Orphaned White Giraffe Gets Some Added Protection
The unnamed male giraffe walks in the Ishaqbini Community Conservancy in Kenya on Nov. 8.   (Ishaqbini Community Conservancy via AP)

An orphaned white giraffe has been fitted with a tracking device in Kenya in an effort to protect him from poachers, like those who killed his mother and sibling. News outlets including the AP refer to the lonely male with leucism, a genetic condition resulting in partial loss of pigmentation, as the world's only known white giraffe, though another was spotted in Tanzania in 2016. The researcher who discovered Tanzania's leucistic giraffe, then 15-months-old, indicated the animal was still alive in a March interview with the National. Believed to be 3 or 4 years old, Kenya's white giraffe was among a group of three before poachers killed his mother and a seven-month-old calf late last year. They were reportedly killed four months before their bones were found near the Ishaqbini Hirola Conservancy in March.

The male giraffe remains nearby in Garissa County, northeast Kenya, near the Somalia border. But now he has extra protection. Conservation officials fitted a GPS tracking device to one of the giraffe's horns on Nov. 8, according to a Tuesday statement, per the BBC. The device will identify the giraffe's location every hour so that rangers can "keep the unique animal safe from poachers." With that threat reduced, the giraffe should enjoy a quiet life, conservancy manager Mohammed Ahmednoor tells the BBC. Its "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," he says. He's thanked the Kenya Wildlife Service, Save Giraffes Now, and the Northern Rangelands Trust for assisting in the giraffe's protection, per CNN. (More giraffes stories.)

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