The Hirola

The Hirola, also known as Hunter’s Hartebeest, is an antelope species found in arid grassy plains in the Somali Muslim North Eastern Region in Kenya, on the border between Kenya and Somalia. It's the only member of the genus Beatragus. Hirola are known as the ‘four-eyed antelope’ due to their large preorbital glands.

They stand 100 to 125 centimetres at the shoulder and weigh 80 to 118 kilograms. Their coat is a sandy brown colour, 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 spend the mornings and evenings grazing.

Hirola are critically endangered. There are only between 500 and 1,200 animals in the wild and none in captivity. The Hirola was identified as one of the top-10 ‘focal species’ in 2007 by the Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered (EDGE) project.