Two rare white giraffes living in a Kenyan wildlife sanctuary were hunted down and killed by poachers in the north-eastern section of the country, the Ishaqbini Hirola Conservancy reported on Tuesday.The female and her calf were two of three white giraffes known to be living in the sanctuary. The rare trio, first spotted in 2017, were thought to be the only ones in the entire world. A third male white giraffe is still living in the sanctuary."This is a very sad day for the community of Ijara and Kenya as a whole. We are the only community in the world who are custodians of the white giraffes," said Mohammed Ahmednoor, manager of the reserve in Garissa County, in a statement. "Its killing is a blow to the tremendous steps taken by the community to conserve rare and unique species, and a wake-up call for continued support to conservation efforts."Ahmednoor said the two giraffes were last spotted over three months ago. After the reserve reported the two giraffes missing, the Kenya Wildlife Service stepped in and eventually found the skeletal remains of the two giraffes in a nearby village within Garissa County.Officials estimated that the remains laid there for "at least four months" before being discovered, according to CNN."This is a long-term loss, given that genetics studies and research, which were significant investments into the area by researchers, has now gone down the drain. In addition to, the white giraffe was a big boost to tourism in the area," Ahmednoor concluded.The white giraffes made widespread news after they were photographed in 2017 – even though they were first spotted in March 2016. The giraffes are white due to a condition called leucism. Unlike animals with albinism, those with leucism continue to produce dark pigments throughout their soft tissue – for example, the female giraffe's eyes were dark in color.Although the group is believed to be the only white giraffes remaining in the world, another giraffe with leucism was spotted two months before in neighboring Tanzania at Tarangire National Park, in January 2016.According to the African Wildlife Foundation, giraffe populations are being threatened due to poaching and man-made declines in suitable living spaces. It is estimated by the foundation that the worldwide giraffe population has declined by 40% in the last 30 years. Herd sizes have also been declining: where it used to be 20-30 giraffes per herd, now it is common to see herds with fewer than six members.