Spotless Angolan Giraffe Sighted in Namibia's Untamed Wilds

Spotless Angolan Giraffe Sighted in Namibia's Untamed Wilds

Facebook / Giraffe Conservation Foundation

The world of wildlife conservation has been graced by an extraordinary and unexpected sight—a spotless giraffe! Just weeks after CBS reported the birth of a spotless giraffe at a Tennessee zoo, another one has been photographed in the wild, and this time, it's in the heart of Africa, in Namibia.

The Giraffe Conservation Foundation unveiled this astonishing discovery in a recent news release, marking the first-ever recorded sighting of a spotless Angolan giraffe in the wild on the African continent.

A Marvel of Nature

Imagine coming across a giraffe that stands out like no other. Unlike its giraffe counterparts, this Angolan giraffe displayed not a single spot on its elegant coat. In the world of giraffes, this is a rare phenomenon, akin to finding a diamond in the rough. The sighting has set the wildlife conservation community abuzz with excitement and wonder.

The story of the spotless giraffe started a few weeks earlier at Brights Zoo in Limestone, Tennessee. The zoo made headlines when it proudly announced the birth of a giraffe that defied tradition—it was spotless. As CNN reports, the calf was named Kipepee, a Swahili word meaning "unique," and emerged as a solid-colored reticulated giraffe without a single spot to adorn its long neck.

Reticulated giraffes are a species primarily found in the northern and northeastern regions of Kenya, the GCF reports, along with parts of Somalia and Ethiopia. These regions are known for their rich and diverse wildlife populations, making the appearance of a spotless giraffe even more extraordinary.

The Namibian Encounter

It was on the sprawling landscape of a private game reserve, at the Mount Etjo Safari Lodge in central Namibia, that the spotless wonder was photographed alongside its parent, National Geographic reports.

Angolan giraffes, like this one observed in Namibia, primarily inhabit desert regions within Angola. While their population has faced challenges, they have fared better than some of their giraffe cousins.

A Glimpse into Giraffe Conservation

The world of giraffes is as fascinating as it is diverse. There are four distinct giraffe species, each with its unique spot patterns. The absence of spots in the baby Angolan giraffe is believed to be a result of genetic mutations or a recessive genotype—an exceptional quirk of nature, Forbes reports.

"Maybe we do not always need to have explanations for everything. Why don't we simply marvel about the wonders of nature," said Dr. Julian Fennessy, the co-founder and director of conservation at the Giraffe Conservation Foundation.

The Urgent Need for Conservation

Beyond the spectacle of a spotless giraffe, there's a pressing concern for giraffe populations as a whole. Reticulated giraffes, like Kipepee, were listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in 2018. Their numbers have dwindled by nearly 50% over the last three decades, underscoring the urgency of conservation efforts.

On the other hand, Angolan giraffes, though not currently endangered, have faced their share of challenges. The IUCN previously reported approximately 10,173 mature Angolan giraffes. While their population has increased over the last three decades, it is essential to remember that they too require vigilant conservation measures.

Giraffes face a significant threat from the loss of their natural habitat due to human activities like deforestation and agriculture. Photo: Pexels
Giraffes face a significant threat from the loss of their natural habitat due to human activities like deforestation and agriculture.

The discovery of a spotless giraffe is undoubtedly a cause for celebration, bur it also serves as a stark reminder. Giraffes have already become extinct in at least seven African countries, and there are merely 117,000 left on the entire continent, the GCF reports. To put this into perspective, there is currently only one giraffe for every four elephants in Africa.

As Stephanie Fennessy, the director and co-founder of the Giraffe Conservation Foundation, aptly puts it, "Giraffes are in trouble, and if we don't act now, our grandchildren might not be able to see any giraffe in the wild when they grow up. That is what really worries me!"

The story of the spotless giraffe not only captivates our imagination but also underscores the critical importance of wildlife conservation. Every giraffe, whether spotted or spotless, plays a vital role in maintaining the biodiversity of our planet.

As we celebrate this extraordinary encounter, let it serve as a call to action. Click below to make a difference!

Matthew Russell

Matthew Russell is a West Michigan native and with a background in journalism, data analysis, cartography and design thinking. He likes to learn new things and solve old problems whenever possible, and enjoys bicycling, spending time with his daughters, and coffee.

Back to blog