Historically, the pastoral community, through its practice of traditional rangeland management for cattle probably provided the ideal environment for the Hirola, indeed they may be the very reason the species has persisted into this millennia. These traditions are under pressure and compounded with other climatic and disease problems are taking a toll on the Hirola. Conservation options are running out.
With the support of SOS - Save Our Species, the Northern Rangelands Trust (NRT) will create a predator-proof sanctuary within the Ishaqbini Hirola Community conservancy. The sanctuary will have to be cleared of all predators before the founder population of Hirola is introduced. The sanctuary will be monitored and maintained by Ishaqbini conservancy personnel.
A predator proof sanctuary may be the only way to recover the species whilst longer term land management systems, in support of conservation of this and other unique species in the ecosystem, are developed. The Ishaqbini sanctuary is seen as means to enhance protection, grow the Critically Endangered population, and strengthen the ability of the communities that share the habitat to conserve the species and benefit from its protection.
The long-term goal of the project is to strengthen local capacity to conserve the Hirola and to re-establish a self-sustaining population in and around the Ishaqbini conservancy in northeastern Kenya.