Two extremely rare white giraffes have been killed by poachers in north-eastern Kenya, conservationists say.
Rangers had found the carcasses of the female and her calf in a village in north-eastern Kenya’s Garissa County.
A third white giraffe is still alive. It is thought to be the only remaining one in the world, the conservationists added.
Their white appearance is due to a rare condition called leucism, which causes skin cells to have no pigmentation.
Apparently, no one knows why these giraffes were killed; the poachers’ “motive is still unclear,” per the BBC.
According to the article, the giraffes resided in a large nature conservancy. Within that conservancy are located a number of small villages. It’s probably not too far-fetched to assume that local, looking to make a quick buck—or to get magical potency powder from the ashes of an albino creature—slew the unfortunate creatures in cold blood.
Something many Americans don’t realize is the degree of Chinese infiltration and investment in Africa. If bat soup has taught us anything, it’s that the Chinese are into some weird stuff. The Chinese, for example, believe that rhinoceros horn is a miracle drug that can be used to cure a number of ailments, including gout.
That suggests another possible theory: could these deaths be the work of Chinese poachers? To be clear, I have no concrete evidence to suggest this theory is the case (just as I have no evidence for the first theory), but with the scant evidence available, it’s worth considering. There are roughly 50,000 Chinese living in Kenya. Not surprisingly, there is a great deal of friction between the Chinese expats and the locals.
The Kenyans like Chinese investment in infrastructure, but resent Chinese insularity and the peculiarly Chinese propensity for intellectual property theft. The United States could coast on massive productivity against the rising tide of Chinese duplicity for a long time, until President Trump fought back. A little nation like Kenya couldn’t, and can’t.
So you have, in poor Kenya, a foreign population from a culture that does not value honesty or fair play when dealing with foreigners, whom the Chinese traditionally view as “barbarians.” At the risk of painting with a long calligraphy brush, but would anyone be surprised if Chinese poachers killed these giraffes for some perverted medical purpose? How much more magical and potent would an albino giraffe tongue be than, say, a rhino’s tusk?
Again, I feel reckless even as I write these words. Surely there are many wonderful Chinese, and I don’t mean to cast an entire race and culture under the bus. But the coronavirus fiasco has taught us that China can’t be trusted, and it cultivates a culture that does not place a premium on trust with outsiders.
Aside from throwing an entire culture under the bus with scant (but compelling!) evidence, I have another controversial thought: don’t some species deserve to go extinct? I don’t mean that giraffes should, necessarily, but species come and go all the time. Such is the way of life.
I’m not going to contribute, knowingly or actively, to the extinction of a creature (except for roaches and mosquitoes, which deserve to die). We’ve expended a great deal of wealth and resources to try to keep giraffes around. Maybe they aren’t meant to survive? Maybe we, in our short-sighted but well-intentioned way, are just delaying the inevitable?
I’m not so sure. The noble argument is to protect them. But what if we’re throwing a wrench into some grander design that must see the giraffes destroyed?
Oh, well. Who knows. Humans are limited in our capacity to comprehend such things. That brings up one final note, in parting: Z Man’s post from Saturday, “The Garden Gnome Gambit,” invokes miniature albino giraffes. The post points out the fallacy inherent in much of the coronavirus scare: “we self-quarantined, and it stopped the virus” is about as provable as “we put these garden gnomes in our yards, and they kept the miniature albino giraffes at bay!”
Strange times, these. Let’s hope we have better luck than the giraffes.