White Giraffes Killed in Kenya
Two of the three white giraffes in a nature conservancy in Ijara, northeastern Kenya have been killed. Their skeletal remains were found on 10 March. They belonged to a female giraffe and her seven month old calf, likely to have been killed by armed poachers four months ago. The sole survivor of this breed of giraffes is the young male offspring of the dead female, although his whereabouts are currently unknown.
How did this happen?
The white giraffes were first spotted in 2017 by park rangers who posted a video of them that went viral on YouTube. Many netizens commented on the beauty and rarity of the giraffes, who got their unique coloring from a condition known as leucism. Unfortunately, it would also appear that the video has attracted unneeded attention by poachers, who exploit exclusivity and rarity to fuel the illegal wildlife trade. This incident has raised the issue of poaching and conservation once again, as many animals have been targeted constantly by poachers. Just over 97,000 giraffes remained in the wild in 2016, after having declined 36 to 40 percent from 1985. They are currently being considered for ‘endangered’ status.
Source: National Geographic
Koalas added to ‘endangered’ list
Another animal newly added to the ‘endangered’ list is the koala. Following devastating bushfires in Australia, their population is now significantly at risk of extinction. A minimum of 5,000 koalas are estimated to have died, according to the report released by the global conservation group International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW). Moreover, their natural habitats are now uninhabitable, adding to the threat. The ‘endangered’ listing will allow for harsher penalties imposed on offenses that harm koalas, and stricter protection of their habitats in Australia. However, with increasing climate change and high-frequency fires likely to pose greater challenges for the koala population, one can only hope that mankind will not add to their woes with poaching and deforestation.