GPS device attached to only known white giraffe


(CNN) — The world’s only known white giraffe has been fitted with a GPS tracking device in an effort to protect it from poachers in Kenya.

This unique male giraffe is alone after a female and her calf were killed by poachers in March.

The GPS tracking device, secured to one of the animal’s horns, will give hourly location updates, the Ishaqbini Hirola Reserve said in a news release on Tuesday.

Rangers will be able to monitor giraffe movements in the reserve located in Garissa County, eastern Kenya.

“The giraffe’s grazing area has been blessed with good rains in the recent past and the abundant vegetation bodes well for the future of the white male,” said Ahmed Noor, manager of the Ishaqbini Hirola Reserve.

Noor thanked the Kenya Wildlife Service, Save Giraffes Now and the Northern Rangelands Trust (NRT) for their help in protecting wildlife species.

“Our mission is to work with communities, enable them to be resilient, secure their livelihoods and protect unique wildlife like the only known white giraffe,” said Antony Wandera, senior wildlife monitoring officer at the NRT.

A rare gene that explains why this giraffe is white

giraffe-white-GPS-two

A GPS was attached to the giraffe’s horn to help achieve effective surveillance.

The male giraffe has a rare genetic trait called leucism. This results in partial loss of pigmentation in the animals and makes them easy to spot by poachers in the arid savannah. Unlike albinism, animals with leucism continue to produce a dark pigment in their soft tissues, which means the giraffe’s eyes are dark.

In March, the remains of two of the impressive white giraffes that lived in Kenya’s wildlife sanctuary were found in a skeletal state. Poachers had killed them.

The female white giraffe first made the news when she was discovered, along with her calf, in 2017. A second calf followed, and the family of three lived a free life within the confines of the sanctuary, where they aroused much interest from tourists from around the world.

Visitors flocked to see the family of three, stretching for a glimpse from behind the trees. A video of the giraffe posted on YouTube racked up more than a million views. They appeared in USA Today, GuardianInside Edition and National Geographicamong other means.

The tallest land animal in the world has lost 40% of its population in just 30 years, estimates the African Wildlife Foundation.

CNN’s Francisco Guzman and Brian Ries contributed to this report.



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