Antelope conservationist Abdullahi Ali, left, and an assistant, track radio collared hirola using a radio receiver at sunset near Masalani, Ijara District in northeastern Kenya. Jason Patinkin
Masalani, Ijara District, Kenya — Africa’s most endangered large mammal species isn’t the majestic mountain gorilla or the stately black rhino.
It’s the hirola, pronounced “hee-ROH-la,” a tawny brown antelope with spiraled, curved horns and a long, skinny snout whose facial markings make it look like it wears eyeglasses.
With just over 400 individual creatures living in a small section of northeastern Kenya, the hirola is not only more threatened than Africa’s most famous species, it is also the world’s most endangered antelope species.
But outside the narrow strip of sandy, thorny wilderness along Kenya’s volatile border with Somalia, few know the hirola exist at all – or of the need to conserve them. Read more…