Rare white giraffe and baby killed by Kenya poachers; one left in the entire world

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Posted at 6:53 AM, Mar 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-11 06:53:33-04

Two extremely rare white giraffes were killed in northeastern Kenya apparently by poachers, the founder of the Hirola Conservation Program in Kenya, told CBS News.

Conservationists say the carcass of a female white giraffe and one of her babies were found by rangers in Kenya's Garissa County.

A third white giraffe is still alive – and CBS News says it is believed to be the only one left in the entire world. The giraffes are white due to a rare condition called leucism, which causes skin cells to have no pigmentation, according to BBC News.

The white giraffes were first spotted in 2016 and photographed in 2017, Abdullahi H. Ali, founder of the Hirola Conservation Program in Kenya, told CBS News.

"This is the first time we ever saw white giraffes in Kenya although they have been reported elsewhere before like in Tanzania," Ali wrote in a message to CBS News. "We do not know when she was killed but probably a month ago or so."

The two white giraffes that died were last seen about three months ago, Mohammed Ahmednoor, manager of the Ishaqbini Hirola Community Conservancy, which partners with the Hirola Conservation Program, told BBC News.

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

It is unclear who the poachers are and what their motive was, CBS News reported. The Kenya Wildlife Society is investigating the killings.