- 12 Mar 2020
- 1 min read
Why in News
Poachers have killed two extremely rare white giraffes in northeast Kenya, leaving just one such animal in the world.
- The white giraffes were first spotted in 2016.
- The white appearance of the giraffe is due to leucism, a genetic condition that causes skin cells to have no pigmentation.
- Leucism is different from albinism where no melanin is produced at all.
- Melanin is a dark biological pigment found in skin, hair, feathers, scales, eyes, and some internal membranes.
- Giraffes are most often found in savanna/woodland habitats and range widely throughout Africa.
- The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) had classified giraffes as vulnerable in the Red List in December 2016, when it noted that their population had dropped by over 40% since 1985.
- According to IUCN, the four principal factors that have led to a population decline among giraffes are habitat loss, civil unrest, poaching and ecological issues.
- Giraffes are listed under Appendix II of the CITES.