Kenya Wildlife Wardens and Commanders from Ijara Sub County Security Committees in Garissa County will carry out wildlife surveillance and security patrols for three days.
The team led by KWS Masalani warden Adan Alio Saif, the Northern Rangelands Trust NRT protection team, and Ishaqbin Hirola community conservancy rangers will carry out the operation jointly beginning Monday, September 18.
The patrols are aimed at assessing the status of the Hilora antelope, which is the most endangered antelope species in the world and is only found in the Ijara constituency. The Hirola antelope is also known as the Hunter’s hartebeest or Hunter’s antelope.
Alio said the team will patrol Shabele and Turkuta areas within Masalani division and areas around Walkon Dam, Arururey, Dasheg Oman, and Borodeth in Ijara sub-county.
The warden added that they also planned to conduct the Hirola aerial census in the first week of September, after which he would share information with the sub-county steering group.
The last global census estimated the hilora population at 400, but following the creation of the Ishaqbini Conservancy Hirola Antelope Sanctuary, its numbers have increased despite drought and killing by other wildlife like lions and cheetahs.
The Hirola antelope is easily scared, and sometimes it aborts when it’s scared by other animals, hence the low numbers and the need for conservation.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature warns that “the loss of the hirola would be the first extinction of a mammalian genus on mainland Africa in modern human history.”