saving the world's most endangered antelope
Promotes the conservation of the hirola antelope and its fragile habitat in partnership with communities in eastern Kenya.
Our anti-poaching programme focuses on the conservation of elephants and hirola. Historically, about 5000 elephants and over 100 black rhinos maintained open grasslands for hirola in southeastern Kenya, between the Tana River and the Boni Forest. These "megaherbivores" were poached out in the late 1970s and early 1980s, transforming grasslands to forests and causing hirola to decline.
However, elephants naturally recolonized this area in 2011; eastern Kenya represents one of the very few areas in which elephants currently are expanding to fill their historic range. We suspect that this is due to heightened poaching elsewhere in Kenya. The Abdallah and Abduwaq Somalis that reside in this region ascribe to hirola a mytical status and consider elephants good luck. Consequently, poaching in southeastern Kenya is low relative to other parts of the country, although incursions from outsiders are on the rise. Local Abdallah and Abduwaq communities have expressed strong support for heightened elephant conservation, both to restore elephants themselves, and to restore grassland habitats on which hirola and livestock depend.
As such we have have employed a team of 8 scouts dedicated to the protection of elephants and hirola. Further, our scouts are working with agencies to ensure all security/poaching incidents in the entire range monitored collectively between government and local groups, thereby creating a collaborative approach to security incidents concerning human-livestock-wildlife interactions.