A Matching Fund to Protect the Hirola
A Critically Endangered Antelope on the Brink of Extinction
You can help prevent the loss of an entire genus. In a surprisingly peaceful corner of northeastern Kenya—between the east bank of the Tana River and the Somali border—sits the Ishaqbini Hirola Community Conservancy and the setting for a remarkable story. This area is home to the Abdullah clan of the Kenyan Somali tribe and its beloved hirola (Beatragus hunteri).
“We are extremely thankful to the Ishaqbini community for gifting another big area of land that will be livestock-free. I am not aware of many places in Africa where such a thing would even be thinkable.”
Ian Craig - Chief Executive Officer: Northern Rangelands Trust
The hirola is a sandy-colored antelope with a white strip that crosses its forehead and encircles each eye, making it look as if it is wearing swimming goggles. The residents of Ishaqbini have been quietly conserving this landscape for centuries and regard the hirola as a blessing. With fewer than 500 left, the hirola is about as close to extinction as it comes. As the only surviving member of its genus, the hirola’s loss would represent the first mammalian genus to go extinct on mainland Africa in modern human history.
The best hope for the hirola’s survival is to contain a viable population within a predator-proof fence. Ishaqbini Hirola Community Conservancy, Northern Rangelands Trust, Fauna & Flora International, Kenya Wildlife Service, Zoological Society of London and The Nature Conservancy are now working together to fund and build a sanctuary for the hirola. The partners anticipate the cost of this project to be $1.5 million. Construction is set to begin in spring 2011 and the sanctuary is scheduled to be operational by the end of the year.
Ishaqbini has generously set aside over 6,100 acres (2,500 hectares) of prime hirola habitat for the proposed sanctuary. Together, an individual donor and The Nature Conservancy are offering to match, dollar-for-dollar, the first $200,000 raised to establish and maintain the sanctuary. If successful, this recovery effort will grow the hirola population while providing additional benefits to the people who share their habitat.
With your gift we will:
- Establish a community-run, fenced, predator-proof hirola sanctuary that is scheduled to be operational and protecting hirola by the end of 2011.
- Fund continued anti-poaching and habitat protection and enhancement efforts led by community rangers through 2016.
- Matching monies will be matched on a 1:1 basis ($1.00 of matching funds for each dollar committed).
- Minimum gift qualifying for a match: $100 (US).
- Maximum match amount: $10,000 (US) per donor.
- Only qualifying outright gifts will be eligible for a match. Due to the urgent nature of this effort, pledges will not be eligible for a match.
- Gifts must be designated specifically to the hirola sanctuary through The Nature Conservancy’s partnership with Northern Rangelands Trust.
- Matching funds will go to The Nature Conservancy’s continued work with Northern Rangelands Trust and the Ishaqbini Hirola Community Conservancy.
- Gifts from individuals, foundations and corporations will be eligible for a match.
- Qualifying gifts will be matched on a first-come, first-served basis through December 31, 2011.