Last White Giraffe
Posted: January 1, 2021
A lone white giraffe grazes on the plain in Kenya, Africa. As far as we know, he’s the last white giraffe in the world. Conservationists snap into action. They say, “Track that giraffe!”
Now the giraffe wears a GPS tracking device. This will help protect him from poachers.
Not so long ago, the white giraffe wasn’t the only one of his kind. Conservationists also watched a female white giraffe and her calf. The two were killed by poachers in March.
What made white giraffes white? All white giraffes had a rare genetic trait called leucism. The white color caused by leucism made the giraffes stand out. They were not camouflaged as well as brown giraffes. Poachers and predators found them easily. The one surviving giraffe is dangerously visible in the arid savannah near the Somalia border.
But he’s not unprotected. The GPS tracking device attaches to one of the giraffe's horns. It pings every hour to tell wildlife rangers where the giraffe is.
What’s the giraffe’s name? He doesn’t have one—even though he’s famous now! What would you call him?
He gives to the beasts their food, and to the young ravens that cry. — Psalm 147:9
Did You Know . . .
- White giraffes are unique. But so is every giraffe. Each giraffe’s skin pattern is distinctive, like a human fingerprint.
- Today we call these long-necked ruminants (cud-chewers) giraffes. But an early English word for these critters was camelopard—camel for the long neck and leopard for the spots.
- Once, people thought giraffes didn’t make noise. Wrong! Giraffes grunt and hum—though some of their humming sounds are almost too quiet for people to hear. And they seem to hum only at night. Why? We don’t know for sure—but the humming could help giraffe herds stick together at night when it’s harder to see each other. Plus, it makes sense for a prey animal like the giraffe to keep quiet. They’re already huge. They don’t want extra attention from predators.