The world hirola day is celebrated on 12th of august every year. The day was established by Hirola conservation organization and was first celebrated in 12th august 2015 to raise the awareness about importance of conservation of endangered hirola species. This day of celebration is same as world elephant day because these both are ecologically related species.

Introduction Of Hirola

Hirolas are the hoofed mammals and are commonly known as antilopes. They are also known as eyed antelopes because of the presence of pre orbital glands beneath their eyes that resembles spectacles. These glands along with eyes give the impression of four eyes. The other distinguishing feature of hirolas is their black horns that are used for defence from predators and can reach upto the 70cm. Hirolas are mainly grassland species that are found in African countries especially in Kenya and somalia. There are two types of population of hirola. The one that is present in Kenya somalia border is known as natural population. That other one is translocated population that is present in the Tsavo east national park in Kenya.

Hirolas live in social groups with 1 dominant male and almost 8 female. The males of the herd defend the territory from predators. Territories have home range for species specific activities. Territories can be shared with other species. Hirola can also exist as bachelor groups. The male groups usually have 2-38 individuals while the females and young ones have almost 5-40 individuals in their herds.

Scientific name of hirola: Beatragus hunteri

IUCN Status

According to international union of conservation of Nature and natural resources the hirola is categorized under critically endangered species that requires immediate action for their conservation.

Declining Population of Hirola

The population of hirola has declined immensely in last four decades. There is estimated 95% decline of hirola over these decades and almost 250-500 individuals are left and most of them are in wild. But out of whole existing population almost 75 individuals are present in Tsavo east national park Kenya that accounts for 15% of the total population.

The decline of hirola is majorly linked to the rinderpest epidemic back in 1980s . This was a viral disease that leads to loss of most of the individuals and put hirola under endangered species list. The other major factor contributing to the decline of population is degradation of rangelands, poaching and predation. The major predators of hirola are lions, cheetah and hyaena. Hirolas are grassland species that tends to live in areas with minimum tree covers but over the past years the tree covers are increasing in the grassland habitats due to climate change and overgrazing that is causing threats to their survival.

Conservation of Hirola

Various conservation projects are ongoing for the protection hirolas. Hirola conservation program (HCP) aims at reservation of hundreds of hector of rangelands that will serve as habitat for hirolas which will ensure restoring hirolas population. Hirola restoration project along with somalia pastoralists works in Kenya to protect grasslands that are major habitats of hirolas. Tsavo east national park is also one of the conversation projects to ensure the hirola species survival and prevent their extinction.

Raising awareness among people is also useful tool to ensure species protection that is why world hirola day is celebrated. People should be aware of the impact of human activities leading to climate change and impacting species habitats. Governments of the respective countries should impose laws against poaching and illegal killing of wildlife. Protection of wildlife is our duty because it has impact on our environment and there animals are valuable source of ecosystem.

About the Author: Nimra Cheema, having recently accomplished her MS degree in zoology from GCWUS, exhibits a profound intrigue in the realm of biodiversity and the far-reaching consequences of climate change on the Earth's biosphere. Her focus primarily revolves around the captivating domain of microbiology, wherein she conducts her dedicated research efforts.