March 10 (UPI) -- Poachers killed two rare white giraffes, an adult and her calf, in Kenya, conservationists announced Tuesday.
Officials with the Ishaqbini Hirola Conservancy said they found the carcasses of the animals in a advanced state of decomposition, meaning their deaths weren't recent. They were most recently seen alive about three months ago.
They were two of only three known white giraffes at the conservancy.
"This is a very sad day for the community of Ijara and Kenya as a whole," said Mohammed Ahmednoor, manager of the conservancy. "We are the only community in the world who are custodians of the white giraffe. Its killing is a blow to tremendous steps taken by the community to conserve rare and unique species and a wakeup call for continued support to conservation efforts."
The two giraffes had a genetic condition called leucism, which differs from albinism in that it results in a partial loss of pigmentation. In albinism, animals have no melanin, or pigment.
Both conditions are dangerous for animals in the wild because it hurts their ability to camouflage and hide from predators.
The mother and calf were first spotted on camera in 2017.
The Kenya Wildlife Society said it's investigating the deaths. The motives of the poachers was unclear.