The numbered black circles moving steadily on the digital screen could be anything from elements of a video game to a screensaver. But their significance becomes apparent as Mr
Using Internet-enabled software installed in his laptop,
"This could be a significant portion of the remaining herds of this rare antelope worldwide as 75 per cent of its original population is gone," said
The hirola, a slender antelope with a white line between its eyes that gives it the appearance of wearing spectacles, is largely unknown beyond the borders of Garissa and parts of neighbouring
And there is the risk that future generations may never know it ever existed as it is listed as a "critically endangered" species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The hirola's presence on the global "red list" has the
"This category is the last stage in the process ultimately leading to the extinction of a species should the factors causing the decline remain," KWS spokesperson
The hirola was previously found on the plains that make up the border between
The hirola is not only the subject of global interest but is also a treasure to
He believes the fate of the rare antelope has not been highlighted as much as it should be and considers the marketing of its Garissa habitat as a tourist destination to be inadequate.
"There is a lot of ignorance on the existence of the hirola in
He believes the growth of human settlement in the area has played a big role in reducing the hirola population.
Experts say that after the government of
"Much of the decline seems to have occurred between 1983 and 1985 during a major rinderpest outbreak," said
The decommissioning of the Arawale National Reserve, the only protected area dedicated to the hirola, because of weak local support and lack of funds further exposed the antelopes.
If it becomes extinct, the world's most endangered mammal will be the first known to do so in mainland
However, efforts to save the hirola whose image appears on the Garissa County seal seem to have received less attention than those aimed at saving elephants and rhinos.
According to KWS, there are only about 100 hirola protected in
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