A full Darwin Initiative project could adress the following needs and contribute to a "return from the brink" for this endangered species. However, insufficient information is currently available to prepare a full proposal, and time still needs to be spent brokering the necessary partnerships in advance of the main project application. There is an urgent need to:
1) carry out an up-to-date census of the Hirola Antelope
2) institute a sensitive rapid appraisal study of the exact resasons for the precipitous decline of the species
3) broker partnerships between KWS and potential funding partners for a major Hirola "rescue" campaign
4) begin a programme of conservation awareness-raising among the local people of the Arawale district
5) establish a community-based tourism programme with incentives for species protection and appropriate small business development
6) prepare the ground for a species breeding and recovery programme, and/or a "worst case scenario" emergency translocation.
The Warden-in-Charge of the Arawale Reserve is a dedicated wildlife conservationist (MSc - Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology) who is indigenous to the Arawale region and speaks the Somali language. He is best placed to lead the above project but is severely limited by resource-constraints within the hard-pressed KWS, and lack of political interest in central government for the Somali minority region.