The hirola (Beatragus hunteri) is also known as “Hunter’s Antelope” or “Hunter’s Hartebeest”, and even “four-eyed antelope”.
The hirola is the only surviving species of the Beatragus genus; a genus of antelope which there used to contain many different species. If the hirola becomes extinct, it would mean not only the loss of a species, but also of the entire Beatragus genus of antelope. Due to this, the hirola is often referred to as a ‘living fossil’.
The species is so rare, that it is classed as critically endangered on the Endangered Species List. The next step down, is extinct in the wild and after that it’s completely extinct.
The hirola is a medium sized antelope, weighing (approximately) between68-115 kg. They are a sandy brown colour, with a paler underside. The species has well developed horns in both genders; which are tall and ridged. As hirola get older their horns accumulate more ridges, and their coat darkens to a slate grey. The hirola have what’s referred to a white ‘spectacles’ – white rings around the eyes , joined by a line across the head. The white facial markings also surround scent glands under the eyes, which is why the hirola is often called the “four-eyed antelope”.
Lifespan in the wild is unknown, however the average captive lifespan is ten years. The hirola is now thought to be restricted in distribution to the south-eastern coast of Kenya, south of the Somalian border.
It is estimated that the population size is between 600 and 2,000 individuals in the wild; however the actual number is thought to be closer to 600.
The main threats to the survival of the hirola today include disease, poaching, predation, competition with domestic livestock, habitat loss, and drought. The species has been legally protected from hunting in Kenya since 1971 and in Somalia since 1977; unfortunately the enforcement of this law is poor and poaching is still a large threat.
In my opinion, we as a species (humans) need to protect what animals that still survive on the earth, before following generations are left with none. The number of animal species on the planet has declined majorly over generations; largely due to our selfishness.
All images are open source, Google images, or my own.
If you have any questions or comments; please post a comment below, or contact Ali’s Answers via one of my social media pages… . Google+ (Ali’s Animal Answers) . Facebook (Ali’s Animal Answers) . Twitter (@AlisAnswers) . LinkedIn (Ali Holloway)
It’s Batman Day! Now for those who know me, it’s no secret that I love Batman and the whole world of Gotham! The comics (in my opinion) are epic – DC I applaud you.
In the spirit of Batman Day, I am doing a short post on the creatures that inspired Bruce Wayne to become Batman – become what you fear… and what did Batman fear? – Bats!
Na na na na na na Bat-Facts!…
There are 18 residential species in the UK; 17 of which are known to be breeding.
Bats are not blind; however they do have very poor eyesight. They find food and find their way around by using echolocation – sending out calls and listening for the returning echo’s.
They are the only mammal capable of flight; with elongated fingers, joined by skin/ wing membrane.
There are almost 1,000 bat species worldwide.
70% of bats are insectivores (eat insects) – which helps to control insect populations within their habitats.
Other bat species feed on fruits and/ or vegetables.
Other bat species are carnivorous feeding on birds, other small mammals, fish, amphibians, and lizards.
Vampire bats prefer the blood of animals (often livestock) to that of humans – they pierce the flesh and lap up the pooling blood; they don’t “suuuck your blooood!” (or inhabit Transylvania).
Bats cannot live in extreme desert or Arctic conditions.
A baby bat is called a ‘pup’. They are born and raised within a colony of females – no help from the males.
Some bats live in large groups; whilst other species are solitary.
There are bat species that will hibernate through the cold months, and others that will migrate to warmer climates.
The largest bat species is the Giant Flying Fox of Indonesia, with a wingspan of up to 6ft!
All images are open source, Google images – not my own.
If you have any questions or comments; please post a comment below, or contact Ali’s Answers via one of my social media pages… . Google+ (Ali’s Animal Answers) . Facebook (Ali’s Animal Answers) . Twitter (@AnimalFreak24) . LinkedIn (Ali Holloway)
In tribute to all the species kept in zoos and safari parks, enjoy some pictures of species that are wild, unusual, rarely seen (outside of zoos/ safari parks), and protected species/ last of their species.
Not everyone agrees with zoos or safari parks – there can certainly be improvements made; but on the other hand, we all enjoy visiting the zoo or safari park and taking in the exquisite and diverse animal species.
Wildlife ranges from big to tiny, from fierce to gentle, from soft, fluffy, and smooth to spiky, scaly, and rough…
Wildlife can be the little Monarch butterfly fluttering around your Great British garden in the summer, the little hedgehogs that you spot in your garden whilst you’re keeping warm in the autumn, the migrating Orcas, the regal Silverback Gorilla watching over his family, the robin making his nest or the eagle making her nest… You get the picture!
Endangered or common, wildlife is all around us – whether you enjoy what’s in your back garden, or prefer to see what David Attenborough is talking about in the documentary on T.V. – enjoy some images of an array of wildlife species, for National Wildlife Day!