By Mayukh Saha
Every now and then, the planet decides to actually surprise us with sights as wonderful as this, making us re-evaluate our choices as humans, when it comes to preserving such beauty as a legacy for future generation.
Just when a survey revealed how giraffes might go extinct due to human related activites, extremely rare and completely white giraffes have finally been photographed for the first time in a conservancy in Kenya, Africa.
There were rumours about sightings of said animals for some time now in the Ishaqbini Hirola conservancy but that was months ago. Interestingly, what is more it is not just one solitary animal, but two: a mother and a child.
Giraffes, like tigers and zebras and other striped/spotted animals have a very distinctive pattern that makes them completely distinguishable from a crowd. Even when there are variations in other animals’ body colourings and patterns, it is still mostly recognisable.
However, in this case, these giraffes are totally spotless white in appearance which makes their discovery all the more shocking; they indeed do stick out from the crowd. But being extremely rare and shy animals, the arrival came this late.
The animals suffer from a condition called Leucism, a genetic disorder like almost all pattern variations. Unlike albinism however, the condition prevents production of any colour.
However, like most differently coloured animals, despite now facing any bodily deformation, there is a larger risk for these animals. Normally coloured giraffes’ patterns help the animals stay safe from lions and hyenas and other predators, at night, when those carnivores are most active and most likely to strike.
These white ones however, as expected, are totally vulnerable and stick out, for the lack of a better phrase in the English language, like a sore thumb against the green and occasionally yellow savannahs of Kenya.
At this point, there are some concerns that have been voiced about the safety of these beautiful and one-of-a-kind animals.
Given poaching is as big of a problem if not bigger than predation, the publication of these animals’ locations might be an issue for the conservancy, according to some of the viewers’ comments on the published video.
Another such animal was born in the Tarangire national park, and there it was given the much-needed protection from poachers. However, a conservancy cannot provide such care, and in this case too, Ishaqbini Hirola has not quelled any speculation with a positive response regarding provision of proper security and protection for this beautiful mother and child duo.
And in case you are wondering, poaching is a bigger threat for animals as rare as white giraffes, not only because they are easy to spot ad hunt, but also because of their value as trophies. What one must also consider in this case, is the fact that one of the two animals is a child: easily killed, mutilated and transported. Hence, all the more vulnerable.
Let’s hope they remain safe.
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