Last Known White Giraffe Fitted With GPS To Protect It From Poachers

by Chris Haney

The world’s last known white giraffe has been fitted with a Global Positioning System tracking device to help protect the rare mammal from poachers in Kenya.

On Sunday, Nov. 8, officials at the Ishaqbini Hirola Community Conservancy attached a GPS unit to the male giraffe’s horn. The extra precaution came about following the killings of two other known white giraffes. Poachers killed a female and her calf in March, leaving only one known white giraffe remaining on Earth.

The GPS tracker will give hourly updates on the remaining white giraffe’s whereabouts. In fact, the device will allow rangers to track his daily movements, which will hopefully help them protect the giraffe. The conservancy is working closely with Kenya Wildlife Service along with support from the Northern Rangelands Trust and Save Giraffes Now.

“We are thankful for the tremendous help from KWS, Save Giraffes Now and the Northern Rangelands Trust in furthering community efforts to safeguard wildlife species,” said IHCC’s manager Ahmed Noor in a press release.

White Giraffe Has Bright Future if Protected From Poachers

An uncommon genetic trait called leucism is what caused the male giraffe’s rare albino coat. However, the trait also makes it much easier for poachers to find the animals in the wild. Additionally, the rarity of the white giraffes has made them a target for poachers.

Despite the white giraffe’s endangerment due to poaching, the conservancy says his food sources are plentiful this year, which is not always the case. In fact, if the rangers can protect the animal from poachers, it may have a bright future ahead.

“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,” Noor explained.

In addition to the rare white giraffe, the conservancy is home to the “critically endangered” hirola antelope. There are only 450 hirola antelopes left in the wild today. Furthermore, the conservancy is the home to many other species that are on the endangered list. They include the reticulated giraffe, warthog, lesser kudu, ostrich, and “a unique herd of largely maneless plains zebra.”

Kenya’s white giraffes are not the only rare animals that poachers have killed in recent history. Recently, Canada mourned the loss of a rare white “spirit moose” after poachers illegally shot and discarded the bodies of two females in Timmins, Ontario. One of the females was a sacred white cow.

[H/T NY Post]