The bodies of Kenya’s only female white giraffe and her calf have been found in “a skeletal state” after being killed by armed poachers.
Conservationists revealed that the rare animals, found nowhere else in the world, were killed in Garissa in eastern Kenya.
Their deaths leave just one remaining white giraffe alive – a lone male, borne by the same slaughtered female, the conservancy said.
“This is a very sad day for the community of Ijara and Kenya as a whole,” said Mohammed Ahmednoor, the manager of the Ishaqbini Hirola Community conservancy.
“We are the only community in the world who are custodians of the white giraffe.
“Its killing is a blow to tremendous steps taken by the community to conserve rare and unique species, and a wakeup call for continued support to conservation efforts.’
Ahmednoor added that the deaths were a blow to the tourism and research industries in a remote corner of Kenya.
“This is a long-term loss given that genetics studies and research which were significant investment into the area by researchers has now gone to the drain,’ he said.
“Further to this the white giraffe was a big boost to tourism in the area.’
The white giraffe stirred huge interest in 2017 when she was first spotted on the conservancy and again when she birthed two calves, the latest in August last year.
Their alabaster colour is caused not by albinism but a condition known as leucism.