Hirola Research Centre

Since 2010, we have been exploring different management options to curtail the decline in hirola numbers. In our quest to save the hirola, we have partnered with the local communities, national and international partners to provide a science-based conservation effort.

The hirola is one of those species hampered in particular by ecological knowledge gaps, weak local involvement and political turmoil along the Kenya-Somalia border. As the hirola occur along the border, past conservation and scientific efforts had been limited to opportunistic field visits. They have also arguably been marginalized by the pressure of cultural barriers between Somalis and other ethnic groups within the borderlands.

To fill in these knowledge gaps, we employ various data gathering techniques such as GPS telemetry, long-term satellite imagery analysis, sight-re-sight data, large predator-proof enclosure (s) and multiyear-multi-sites experiments to provide practical data sets that will inform future management and re-introduction into the historical range.

Currently, we run field-based research in three different hirola concentration areas to identify and fill in these crucial knowledge gaps. Our work focuses on hirola population dynamics, resource selection, and the effects of changing land use in eastern Kenya. Additionally, we are working with local communities to better understand the social factors affecting the survival of the species and the future of hirola conservation in the region.

Some of our current ongoing work include; Hirola re-introduction biology, Hirola Habitat Restoration, Hirola Field Endocrinology, Hirola Diet selection under Environmental uncertainty, Hirola socio-biology and behavior, and Livestock-Hirola diseases interactions and epidemiology.

Our project also focuses on community development, with a particular focus on building local capacity and education initiatives.

Completed Research:

The Ongoing Research Project include: