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Farewell to Africa’s Elegant Antelope?

Posted on Jun 20, 2014

Photo by A. Galassi (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Africa’s most endangered large mammal species is the hirola, with just over 400 of the animals living in a narrow strip of “sandy, thorny wilderness along Kenya’s volatile border with Somalia”—down from 15,000 in the mid-1970s, The Christian Science Monitor reports.

The magazine states:

“It’s not a big charismatic animal that drives tourism, so people don’t know about it,” says hirola expert Abdullahi Ali, a Kenyan ecologist and doctoral candidate at the University of Wyoming. “But it’s beautiful, it’s elegant.”

Yet it seems to many conservationists that coming generations will never know about the hirola (Beatragus hunteri).

Some of the forces that have pushed the antelope to the verge of extinction include environmental disasters, the war in Somalia, as well as habitat loss and poaching.

… “If we lose the hirola we are not going to lose just a species, we are losing an entire genus with all that evolutionary history,” says Ali. “The entire world will lose that genetic pool, not only Kenya.”

Read more here.

—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

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