Ishaqbini Hirola Sanctuary

The Ishaqbini Hirola Conservancy is a community-based conservation area located in Garissa County, Kenya. The conservancy covers approximately 72 km2. It is located along the eastern bank of the Tana River, and borders the former Tana River Primate Reserve. Despite its small size, the conservancy is a core refuge and breeding ground for the endemic and critically endangered Hirola antelope.  The conservancy is home to both the critically endangered Hirola Antelope & the only white reticulated giraffes in the world.

The Hirola population, endemic to north-eastern Kenya, has been the center of the formation of the conservancy. The conservancy is owned by three communities – the Korissa, Hara and Kotile. The conservancy hosts about 120 hirola antelopes. Along with those in Arawale (first conservancy established to protect endangered hirola antelopes in the world), there are about 300 in total. ‘Arawale’ is the Somali word for the hirola.

The only white reticulated giraffes in the world, suffer from a genetic condition called leucism, which inhibits pigmentation in skin cells. Unlike albinism, animals with leucism continue to produce dark pigment in their soft tissue, which explains the white giraffes’ dark eyes and other coloring.

As well as hosting a thriving population of the most endangered antelope in the world, the Ishaqbini Hirola Sanctuary is also home to a variety of other species including giraffe, warthog, kudu, gerenuk, ostrich and even a unique group of mane- less plains zebra.