Ishaqbini Hirola Conservancy

Ishaqbini Hirola Conservancy : As the final habitat of the rare and endangered Hirola antelope species, Ishaqbini Hirola Community Conservancy holds a unique position among Kenya’s wildlife reserves.

The Hirola was moved to the Tsavo East National Park in 1963 in an attempt to save the species from extinction after attempts to breed the antelope in captivity failed. This is the only other location in the world where you can find the Hirola.

The Hirola, often referred to as Hunter’s hartebeest and occasionally as the “four-eyed antelope” due to the presence of apparent preorbital glands beneath its actual eyes, is classified as severely endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

A species that has an extremely high risk of going extinct in the wild is classified as critically endangered by the IUCN. According to its Red List, it is the greatest risk category for wild species.

Only 245 individuals were found during a 2010 aerial survey, while it’s very possible that the true population is a little bit larger. They numbered perhaps 100 in Tsavo East National Park.

Hirola numbers have been reported to be declining due to a variety of problems, including habitat destruction, uncontrolled hunting, drought brought on by climate change, and more recently, predation.

However, local communities from the mostly Somali Hara, Korissa, Kotile, and Abaratilo clans were not going to let that happen, so they created the Ishaqbini Hirola Community Conservancy with assistance from the Northern Rangelands Trust, a community-led non-governmental organization created to create resilient community conservancies.

Ishaqbini Hirola Conservancy
Ishaqbini Hirola Conservancy

The people of Ishaqbini, which is made up of over 19,000 HA of communal land, think that by creating a new antelope refuge free of predators, they will improve the situation in Hirola.

In August 2012, 48 Hirola were relocated from the larger reserve into a gated-off enclosure spanning 3,000 hectares. This marked the establishment of Kenya’s first fenced sanctuary on communal property, with the goal of conserving a severely endangered species. The good news was that there were now 100 people living in the sanctuary at the beginning of 2016.

The Ishaqbini Hirola Community Conservancy is making sure that the Hirola have not gone extinct for the globe. It currently employs 40 people from the community, 20 of them are rangers with KWS training, and operates on an annual budget of USD 167,880.

In addition to this uncommon antelope, additional animals like topi, zebra, elephant, lesser kudu, African buffalo, hippo, and Nile crocodiles can be seen. This area is classified as an Important Bird Area (IBA) because it is home to more than 350 species of birds, which make up 60% of all birds found in Kenya.

The extremely rare white giraffe of Ishaqbini, which was found here in February 2016 by herders tending to their camel, may even be visible if you are lucky enough to view it. Once it was spotted, it was never seen again. When will you be in Garissa again? Attempt to visit Ishaqbini Hirola Community Conservancy!

book a trip