Thursday, 7 February 2013

World's rarest antelope GPS collared for first time in Kenya


There are an estimated 400-500 hirola living today, but these animals continue to be severely threatened by some combination of drought, predation, poaching, and habitat loss.
Hirola can now be monitored in an attempt to save this critically endangered species.

January 2013. A first ever attempt to GPS collar wild hirola in their native range has been hailed a success by conservationists from the Zoological Society of London (ZSL).

Boni Forest and Tana River
A total of nine animals were identified by field-workers in Kenya who spent eighteen months monitoring their habitat. Seven herds of hirola were identified between Boni Forest and the Tana River in north-eastern Kenya. Adult hirola were carefully captured and GPS collars fitted before they were left to roam free once again.

90% decline in population
Cath Lawson, ZSL's EDGE Programme coordinator says: "Hirola is an EDGE (Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered) species - one of the most unique and threatened animals on the planet. Over the past thirty years numbers have plummeted by almost 90 percent, and they continue to decline.

"As the sole representative of its group, the loss of the hirola would be the first extinction of a mammalian genus on mainland Africa in more than 100 years," Cath added.



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