Habitat restoration for hirola
The hirola is perhaps the world’s most endangered antelope, with its current range restricted to the Kenya-Somalia border. The current population is estimated to be fewer than 500 individuals, which means these animals need all the help we can give. Recent studies have shown that these shockingly low hirola numbers are predominantly a result of habitat loss, a decline in the grassland they depend on. These landscape changes have been associated with overgrazing, elephant extirpation, fire suppression and climate variability.
Ali Hussein and his team are planning to tackle these threats in a number of ways. Firstly they need to understand the key mechanisms underlying the lack of grass. Then they will increase the available habitat for hirola by seeding of several hectares, creating grassland islands, in three key hirola conservancies. Lastly they will engage with the local communities to ensure that people living alongside the hirola understand the threats they are facing and can help tackle them.