Two of the world's three white giraffes have been found dead in Kenya, after being targeted by poachers, conservationists have said.

The bodies of the giraffes - whose skin was white because of a condition known as leucism, which causes loss of pigmentation - were found by rangers from the Ishaqbini Hirola Community Conservancy.

They were first discovered in 2017 after reports from local people of their existence.

The Hirola Conservation Foundation said the discovery of the bodies means a "dark day" for wildlife conservation in Africa.

The conversation's manager, Mohammed Ahmednoor, added: "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 the custodians of the white giraffe.

"Its killing is a blow to the tremendous steps taken by the community to conserve rare and unique species, and a wakeup call for continued support to conservation efforts."

The two white giraffes became the pride of local people. Credit: Hirola Conservation Foundation

Just days ago the organisation, posted on social media a call for human-led urban development to be more considerate to giraffes, the world's tallest mammal.

It posted a video of one of the animals struggling to navigate overhead power lines, adding habitat degradation is pushing the animals further into areas inhabited by humans.

Poaching is increasingly threatening species across the world.

Pangolins, which have seen demise in Asia where they are highly prized, are among the species suffering most.

It is thought more than one million of them have been poached over the last decade.

Earlier this year, a suspected rhino poacher was killed by an elephant and then eaten by a pride of lions, according to officials at Kruger National Park in South Africa.