Giraffes are exotic animals and if they weren’t majestic enough imagine spotting not one but two white giraffes at once. Yes, this spectacular event happened in Kenya much to the delight of local residents and conservationists but this time they were captured not in mere photos but in a video. The reticulated giraffes are a mother and child and suffer from a genetic condition known as leucism which restrains pigmentation in skin cells. Leucism is different from albinism. In leucism, the animals continue to produce dark pigment in their soft tissue due to which they have dark eyes and other patterns. The white giraffes have patterns on their body which steadily fades as they approach adulthood.
Local residents who spotted the white giraffes tipped conservationists who saw the majestic duo in the Ishaqbini Hirola Conservancy in Kenya’s Garissa County. The area is managed by an NGO called the Hirola Conservation Programme (HCP) which is dedicated to managing the endangered hirola antelope. Hirola antelope is one of the rarest species in the world. The Hirola Conservation Programme reported in the blog post that the white giraffes were first reported to Rangers in June. The very first white giraffes in the wild were reported in January 2016 in Tarangire National park, Tanzania, a second sighting was reported from the Ishaqbini Conservancy, Garissa county, Kenya.
Watch the mother-child duo in the video below.
Reticulated giraffes are vulnerable because they are threatened by bushmeat poaching. A Masai giraffe calf called Omo was observed in Tarangire National Park in January 2016. As reported by HCP the communities living inside the Ishaqbini have mixed reactions to the sightings of these leucistic giraffe as they are not sure what is causing these changes. One of the community rangers said, “I remember when I was a kid, we never saw them. It must be very recent and we are not sure what is causing it.” Hopefully, these sightings are just natural and do not pose some serious threat to wildlife.