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Hirola

The Hirola (Beatragus hunteri), also known as Hunter’s Hartebeest, is a species of antelope found in arid grassy plains in a pocket on the border between Kenya and Somalia. These animals are critically endangered. There are only 500 to 1200 in the wild and only one female in captivity. In the 1970s there were more than 14,000 individuals, and only 7000 by the 1980s. Their decline is believed to have been brought on by cattle competition and drought.

Hirola are known as the “four-eyed antelope”, due to their large pre-orbital glands. They stand 39.5 to 49.5 inches at the shoulder and weigh between 175 and 260 lbs. Their coat is a sandy brown color, greyer in males than females, with a lighter underbelly and a small white strip over the bridge of the nose. The nape of the neck has very thick skin which forms ridges when the ears are pricked up. The horns are lyre shaped and very conspicuously ringed.

They are diurnal and spend the mornings and evenings grazing. Herds contain from two to forty females led by one territorial male but bachelor herds of five or so males are common. Herds do not move much as the males leading them are very territorial. When fighting males drop onto their knees, but when wrestling they remain on all fours.

Hirola


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