World’s last white giraffe in Kenya fitted with GPS tracker to keep off poachers

White Giraffe national Geographic
World's last White Giraffe.[Photo: National Geographic]

The world’s last white giraffe has been collared to monitor its movement as conservationists move to save the rare species from complete extinction.

Ishaqbini Hirola Community Conservancy in Garissa County where the last white giraffe lives was on November 8 fitted with a GPS tracking device upon calls by conservancy’s board to the Kenya Wildlife Service.

The GPS tracker was fitted onto the giraffe’s horn (ossicone).

Scientists say that the white giraffes have a rare genetic trait identified as leucism which brings about the loss of pigmentation leading to the white colouration of the skin.

With the last bull in the world, conservationists are not taking a chance on losing it to poachers as it happened to the last white female giraffe and her seven-month-old calf which were killed by poachers in March 2020.

According to a report issued by Ishaqbini Hirola Community Conservancy, reports the Standard, the GPS tracker will be relaying real-time location status daily in a move to wade off poachers.

“I am happy to be part of this collaring exercise that will ensure real-time monitoring in time and space as part of National Giraffe Strategy implementation,” KWS Senior Scientist Eastern Conservation Area Bundotich stated.

With the abundance of rain for the past few months, there is plenty of vegetation which will support the growth of the white giraffes, Ishaqbini Hirola Community Conservancy Manager Ahmed Noor said.

KWS also fitted GPS trackers on five Hirola antelopes which are endangered sources. The collaring will enable ranger remotely monitor the Hirola antelopes in realtime.

In the last eight years, the number of Hirola antelopes have increased by 160 per cent.

Data from the sanctuary shows that there were 130 Hirola antelopes by 2019 compared to just 48 in 2012 when it was established.

Ishaqbini which is a community-managed conservancy has employed 58 people from the community.