It’s not every day that you see something new.
But we bet you haven’t seen a white giraffe before.
A pair of rare white giraffes have been spotted in Kenya, leaving everyone absolutely astonished.
You must be wondering, is this a new breed of giraffes?
This mother-and-daughter duo both suffer from a genetic disorder called Leucism, a condition that prevents pigmentation in skin cells.
When the unwitting villagers of the Garissa County, Kenya saw the astounding sight, they immediately ran towards the Ishaqbini Hirola Conservancy.
This video was then filmed by the staff of the Hirola Conservation Program (HCP), a conservancy preserving the endangered hirola antelope species in the area.
They wrote about their one-of-a-kind experience in a blog post, saying,
“They were so close and extremely calm and seemed not disturbed by our presence. The mother kept pacing back and forth a few yards in front of us while signaling the baby Giraffe to hide behind the bushes – a characteristic of most wildlife mothers in the wild to prevent the predation of their young.”
Leucism is quite similar to albinism in humans. This condition runs across the animal kingdom. Even lions, birds, and snakes can suffer from this genetic anomaly.
However, unlike albinism, leucism in animals still allows them to produce dark pigmentation in their soft tissues, which can explain these white giraffe’s dark eyes and coloring in other parts of their bodies.
Dr. Ali from the HCP further observed this saying that,
“While observing the magnificent long-necked animal looking at us, I could not but help see the fading reticulates on their skin! It was evident that the coloration, especially on the mother giraffe, was not as conspicuous as the baby.
The question that lingered in my mind was if the fading on the skin was something that happened at birth or thereafter in the adult giraffe life? This is because the baby giraffe, had very conspicuous reticulates but with a small tinge of the white coloration that seemed to continue fading away leaving the baby white as it approaches adulthood.”
These sightings have apparently become more frequent throughout the years. There was an earlier sighting in the same Ishaqbini conservancy.
The other recorded sighting happened in the Tarangire National Park in Tanzania back in 2016. This time it was a Masai giraffe named Omo, was also observed in the park.
According to Dr. Ali, the sightings made the communities around the area excited and they were already talking about ways to protect these rare giraffes.
Giraffes are listed as “Vulnerable” species
Since 2016, these reticulated giraffes have been declared “vulnerable” towards extinction. They have been listed in the Red List of Threatened Species by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.
Giraffes are the world’s tallest land mammals, growing up to 20 feet. They can live for 25 years in the wild.
However, more than half of all giraffe calves die before they even reach their first six months. This is due to the fact that they are hunted down by predators like wild dogs, crocodiles, and lions.
Their population has declined by 40 percent in the last few decades.
At the time of these findings, there were only 97,000 giraffes left around the world, with an estimated 8,500 currently left in the wild. They are extinct in at least seven countries in the African continent.