The Hirola Beatragus hunteri is listed as ‘Critically Endangered’ on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™. It is confined to a rapidly shrinking corner of north-east Kenya and southern Somalia. There is a small introduced population in Tsavo National Park.
Hirola numbers declined drastically at the end of the 20th century, from 10,000 in the 1970s to just 300 in 1995. The remaining tiny population is now considered to be at risk of imminent extinction. Many of the same factors which led to its rapid decline, such as competition with cattle, severe drought, disease and poaching, present an ongoing threat.
The Hirola Management Committee (HNC) was formed in 1994, with the aim of conserving this species. In 2004, the HNC created the Hirola Strategic Management Plan, which outlined Hirola conservation measures for the next five years. This included creating protected areas, reducing exposure to livestock diseases, monitoring, and promoting income-generating eco-tourism for this unique species; measures that will hopefully pull this beautiful antelope back from the edge of extinction.