Rare white giraffes spotted by Kenyan conservation group

September 12, 2017 by  
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Remarkable white giraffes have been sighted in northeastern Kenya . These creamy giraffes barely even look real, but the Hirola Conservation Program (HCP) captured two, a mother and baby, in a video. The animals have a genetic condition called leucism, which is not the same as albinism. The white giraffes were spotted in an area where HCP, a Kenya-based non-governmental organization and partner Rainforest Trust , are protecting habitat for the hirola antelope. Rangers reported the white giraffes after hearing about them from villagers who live nearby, according to HCP, which rushed to the scene to see for themselves. Related: Video footage of rare all-white moose in Sweden They caught sight of the mother and juvenile, noting the adult female pacing back and forth a few yards away from them while signaling the baby to hide in the bushes. HCP noted this behavior is characteristic of many wildlife mothers working to protect their children. Rainforest Trust said leucism turns animals’ appearance white . According to TreeHugger, skin cells in animals with leucism don’t produce pigmentation, but soft tissues do, like in the eyes of these giraffes, which are dark. White giraffes aren’t common in the area, and HCP said most elders say they’ve never seen the creatures. HCP quoted a ranger, Bashir, who said, “This is new to us. I remember when I was a kid, we never saw them. It must be very recent and we are not sure what is causing it.” White giraffes have been previously sighted in Kenya and in Tanzania . HCP said the first report of a white giraffe in the wild occurred just last year, in January 2016, in a Tanzania national park . Via Hirola Conservation Program and TreeHugger Images via screenshot

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Rare white giraffes spotted by Kenyan conservation group

How hurricane Irma changed the colors of these Caribbean islands

September 12, 2017 by  
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Hurricane Irma recently hit islands in the Caribbean with the force of a Category 5 storm. And now, NASA satellite images reveal how the devastating storm turned formerly green islands into a dull brown. NASA captured Hurricane Irma’s destruction from space via satellite imagery . They compared images from late August, before the storm, with images snapped in the last couple of days in September. The pictures show how islands once bursting with greenery are now brown. There are a few reasons this might have happened, according to NASA. Hurricane winds could have ripped away vegetation, allowing satellites to capture more bare ground. Or, salt spray from the storm could have dried out leaves while they were still on trees, giving them a brown appearance. Related: NASA researcher says Harvey flooding pushed Houston down two centimeters Over 30 people died in the Caribbean due to Irma, according to Weather.com . ABC News reported 11 people perished from the storm in the United States. Virgin Gorda, pictured above, is one of the islands that now looks mostly brown, although NASA Earth Observatory said the south and west of the island is slightly greener, perhaps because hills in the center shielded those areas from Irma’s winds. In the images of Virgin Gorda, the ocean after Irma looks bright blue in comparison with the ocean color before the storm; NASA said that could be because “rougher surfaces scatter more light, and appear brighter and lighter.” The island of Barbuda, shown above, endured an especially devastating hit from Hurricane Irma; 95 percent of the its structures have been damaged, according to Time . Antigua and Barbuda prime minister Gaston Browne said the destruction was heart-wrenching. Antigua fared a little better – the vegetation on that island seems to be relatively intact in satellite images. NASA Earth Observatory said Irma’s center passed to the north, and Antigua didn’t face as much damage. Via NASA Earth Observatory and The Verge Images via Joshua Stevens/NASA Earth Observatory

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How hurricane Irma changed the colors of these Caribbean islands

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