Ishaqbini Hirola Update – August 2015

Populations of the world’s rarest antelope continue to increase in predator proof enclosure  

NRT’s Community Conservation & Ecological Monitoring consultant Dr. Juliet King just returned from a trip to Ishaqbini Hirola Community Conservancy, and sent this report:

“I just spent a very successful few days in Ishaqbini… They have had good rain and the area is green and plenty of water in the waterholes. The Sanctuary is looking very good, infrastructure being very well maintained and the scouts are doing a great job with the hirola monitoring. Wildlife within the sanctuary is thriving, new calves of all species were seen and theherd of eight elephants are showing no indication that they want to leave. The hirola are in great condition and herds with different age juveniles and sub-adults is a great indication of the health of this population. We estimate that to the end of July 2015 we were up to 83 animals, based on scout reports of births and deaths. A 75% population increase in three years, with 2014 the highest annual growth rate so far. Overall, to end of July, there had been 47 calves born in the Sanctuary, and 12 deaths based on Conservancy scout records.

 

Hirola calf snapped by Ishaqbini rangers

Hirola calf snapped by Ishaqbini rangers

By contrast the hirola population in the main conservancy area, outside the Sanctuary, is estimated to be less than 40 animals, with four resident herds and a few solitary adult males. Even factoring in the removal of at least 24 animals from this population at the time of setting up the Sanctuary in 2012, this population has continued to decline. We did not have time to look around the wider Conservancy however in our brief drive to the newly constructed scout accommodation at Camp 1 we saw good numbers of giraffe, some topi, lesser kudu, gerenuk and fresh signs of buffalo. Conditions in the core area look good and it appears the grazing management is going well.”