A new species of antelope has been discovered in African savannahs by a team from the Wildlife Conservation Society and the University of Oxford. Previously identified as a subspecies of the topi antelope, the Hirola is now confirmed to be a species in its own right after genetic analysis and field observations. Reddish-brown with a white underbelly, the Hirola has long, curved horns and a unique “roo-ha” vocalisation. Adapted to survive on otherwise unsuitable vegetation, the Hirola is estimated to have a population of less than 500 in the wild, meaning conservation efforts are essential for the species’ survival.
Study finds new species of antelope in African savannahs
A team of researchers from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and the University of Oxford has discovered a new species of antelope living in the African savannahs.
The antelope, named the Hirola, was previously thought to be a subspecies of the Topi antelope. However, genetic analysis and field observations have confirmed that the Hirola is a distinct species.
Discovery and characteristics of the Hirola
The Hirola, also known as the Hunter’s Hartebeest, is a medium-sized antelope that lives in the border regions of Kenya and Somalia. The researchers first noticed the Hirola’s distinct characteristics during a field survey in 2016.
The Hirola has distinctive long, curved horns, and a reddish-brown coat with a white underbelly. It is also known for its large, expressive eyes and its unique “roo-ha” vocalization.
The Hirola is adapted to living in dry, open savannahs, and is able to survive on vegetation that is too dry or tough for other antelope species.
Conservation status of the Hirola
The Hirola is considered to be one of the rarest antelope species in the world, with an estimated wild population of less than 500 individuals. The species is threatened by habitat loss due to human development, as well as by hunting and competition with livestock.
The discovery of the Hirola’s unique status as a distinct species will help to strengthen conservation efforts for this rare and endangered species. The WCS and other conservation organizations are working with local communities to protect the Hirola’s habitat and reduce hunting and grazing pressure.
Frequently Asked Questions about Hirola
Where can I find Hirola?
Hirola are found in parts of Kenya and Somalia, living in open savannahs.
What do Hirola eat?
Hirola are herbivorous animals. They feed on dry and tough vegetation that is not consumed by other antelopes.
What is the life expectancy of Hirola?
The lifespan of Hirola in the wild is not known. But in captivity, they are known to live up to 12 years.
How many Hirola are left in the wild?
It is estimated that less than 500 Hirola remain in the wild, making them one of the rarest antelope species in the world.
What is the biggest danger to Hirola?
The biggest danger to Hirola is habitat loss due to human development, hunting, and competition with livestock. Conservation efforts are essential to ensure their survival.