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Current Affairs

White giraffe

Date: 12 March 2020 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

Poachers have killed two extremely rare white giraffes in northeast Kenya, leaving just one such animal in the world.

 

Background

The white giraffe made headlines in 2017 after its discovery, with its unique white hide. It is white but not albino, because of a condition known as leucism.

 

Details

  • The white appearance of the giraffe is due to leucism, a genetic condition that causes skin cells to have no pigmentation.

  • Unlike albinism, animals with leucism continue to produce dark pigment in their soft tissue, thus her eyes were dark in colour.

  • The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) had classified giraffes as vulnerable in the Red List in December 2016, when it noted that their population had dropped by over 40 per cent since 1985.

  • According to IUCN, the four principal factors that have led to a population decline among giraffes are habitat loss, civil unrest, poaching and ecological issues.

  • According to the Hirola Conservation Programme, in Garissa County, the emergence of farms along the river Tana have blocked giraffe water points, because of which they have to force their way to the river through farms.

  • In order to keep the giraffes away from the farms and to prevent them from destroying crops, farmers use snares and pitfall traps.