Friday, September 2, 2011

The Hilora - Rare Antelope

Ever heard of the Hilora Antelope? Well, this rare antelope threatened with extinction has found itself in the spotlight of awakening Kenya's tourism in the Garissa area. Described as a beautiful,round-faced antelope with popping eyes, this animal are found in Ijara’s Ishaqbini community conservancy. They herd together with the topi,another of the antelope family and a prey of the big cats.

To get to Ishaqbini, you would have to drive along 154km of rough road south of Garissa, or approach the area from Mombasa through Garsen- Hola en route Masalani in Ijara. The conservancy is in a wild scrub land where all animals such as the lions,cheetah,hyena,wild dogs, buffaloes and hippos can be found.

According to Mr.Omar Tawane, the Northern Rangeland regional co-ordinator, there are 245 rare hilora from the last census they did. He said that they planned on building a sanctuary within the conservancy to isolate them for breeding and this would protect the hilora from predators.

The conservancy is named after Ishaqbini, the only lake in the otherwise dry region, with a high number of Swans present especially by the Lake. The area has camping sites but no specific hotels that could accommodate tourists while on safari in the wild north. Plans for building a hotel are underway and an airstrip is currently under construction.

The conservancy covers Kotile,Korisa and Hara locations where local communities have agreed to live alongside the animals. Boni is the only forest in the county and is also a national game reserve.The forest is said to cover around 680,000 acres, spreading from Garissa County in Kenya to Somalia near Kismayu and covers northern Lamu to near Kyunga and the little known Kenyan town of Dar es Salaam.

In future, when peace finally returns to Somalia,Boni might become a shared resource between Garissa and its troubled neighbouring nation.

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