Perhaps the world’s rarest and most endangered antelope, the hirola is the sole survivor of a formerly diverse group, and is often referred to as a living fossil. Once common throughout East Africa, the species has suffered a devastating decline in the last 30 years, with numbers plummeting from around 14,000 in the 1970s to an estimated 600 today. The surviving hirola are threatened by drought, poaching and habitat loss. Intensive conservation efforts are needed if this rare and beautiful antelope is to survive.
A slender antelope with a sandy brown coat which is paler below. The species has an elongated face with a slightly convex forehead. A white line, or chevron, passes from one eye to the other across the forehead, giving the hirola the appearance of wearing spectacles. The long, thin tail is white, as are the ears, which are tipped with black. The horns are well developed in both sexes; these are lyre-shaped and conspicuously ringed for most of their length, and when fully developed can reach lengths of over 70 cm.
This project supports in-country EDGE Fellows to help conserve relevant EDGE species
This project aims to use remotely-sensed imagery to disentangle if and the extent to which overgrazing versus elephant declines have contributed to long-term range degradation through tree encroachment throughout Ijara and Fafi Districts. In addition, habitat selection and demographic field studies of hirola within the Ishaqbini Community Conservancy, overseen by the Northern Rangelands Trust (NRT), are being conducted. Through my work, informed management recommendations will be made to Hirola Management Committee (HMC) and Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS).
Kimitei is monitoring a translocated hirola population in Tsavo East National Park, Kenya.
I am a Kenyan National-studying the ecology of the hirola antelope (Beatragus hunteri).
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