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Rare white giraffes spotted in Kenya

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A pair of rare white giraffes have been spotted in Kenya. The rare animals — a mother and baby — were discovered by villagers near the Ishaqbini conservancy in Garissa, eastern Kenya.

Locals first saw the animals this June, the Hirola Conservation Programme (HCP) wrote in a blog post, but did not record any footage of them.

Conservationists followed up the reports two months later, and managed to track down the animals in August. They have only been seen twice before in Kenya and Tanzania.

“They were so close and extremely calm and seemed not disturbed by our presence,” the HCP said.

“The mother kept pacing back and forth a few yards infront [sic] of us while signalling the baby Giraffe to hide behind the bushes — a characteristic of most wildlife mothers in the wild to prevent the predation of their young.”

Take a look at the HCP’s video above, which has been online since August, but started gaining attention online in mid-September.

READ: US issues travel advisory against Kenya ahead of presidential election

The giraffes are this colour because of a condition called leucism.

It’s different from being albino, which prevents animals and humans from producing any kind of pigment, as can be seen in their white skin and pink eyes, according to the National Geographic.

Leucism, however, leaves animals mostly white but still able to produce pigment on some parts of their body, like their eyes. The white giraffes in the video have dark eyes.

The baby giraffe’s skin is also darker than its mother — as can be seen in the light brown spots all over its body — but the HCP believes they will fade as the baby approaches adulthood.

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White giraffes have become an increasingly common sight around Kenya and Tanzania in recent years. They were first spotted in Tarangire National Park in northern Tanzania in April 2015, and again in the same Ishaqbini conservancy in March 2016.

Giraffes, the world’s tallest land mammal, are listed as “vulnerable” — one step below the “endangered” category — by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which estimate about the current population to be just over 97,500. They are predominantly found in southern and eastern Africa.

It’s unclear whether the white giraffes are still at the Ishaqbini conservancy or whether its staff are taking care of them. Source: Business Insider 

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BT Correspondent
BT Correspondenthttp://www.businesstoday.co.ke
editor [at] businesstoday.co.ke
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