A pair of giraffes with leucism have been filmed by conservationists for the first time
A pair of rare giraffes have been spotted in Kenya, to the delight of conservationists and local residents.
The reticulated giraffes, a mother and child, suffer from a condition called leucism, which inhibits pigmentation in skin cells. Unlike albinism, animals with leucism continue to produce pigment that is dark in their tissue, which explains why the giraffes’ dark eyes and other colouring.
After local residents tipped them off, conservationists found the giraffes in the Ishaqbini Hirola Conservancy in Kenya’s Garissa county.
The area is managed by the Hirola Conservation Programme (HCP), an NGO dedicated to preserving the critically endangered hirola antelope, one of the rarest in the world.
The HCP wrote in a blog post that the giraffes were first reported to rangers in June by a local villager.
“They were so close and incredibly calm and appeared not bothered by our presence. The mother kept pacing back and forth a few yards in front of us while signalling the baby giraffe to hide behind the bushes.”
According to the HCP, this most recent footage is only the third known sighting of a white giraffe.
A white giraffe in the same Ishaqbini conservancy was reported in March 2016, while in Tanzania, a Masai giraffe calf called Omo was observed in Tarangire national park in January 2016.
Reticulated giraffes are listed as “vulnerable” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, with an estimated 8,500 individuals in the wild. They reside in Somalia, southern Ethiopia and northern Kenya.