Back from a short trip to Tsavo East and West and some Kenyan south coast. I started in Tsavo East, in a camp I had never been to before, called Satao, in the south eastern section of the park. This area is the “adoptive” home for one of the rarest antelopes in the world, found only here and in its native habitat in North-eastern Kenya, along the border with Somalia. The Hirola (Betragus Hunteri) is the most endangered big mammal in Kenya, with less than 1,000 examples remaining worldwide. Some animals have been relocated here in Tsavo East in the sixties and in the nineties to try to create a new population in a protected area. The Hirola belongs to the family of the Alcelaphines, and shares some similarity with the Hartebeest, but it has bigger horns and some peculiar markings on the face, resembling some small glasses around the eyes.
During my two days in Tsavo East I came across two different groups of Hirolas, each numbering eight individuals and each having young calves. The Hirolas in Tsavo are often seen in the company of other grazing animals such as Grant’s Gazelles and Zebras, most likely a “safety in numbers” survival strategy. In this image a calf is suckling from its mother.
Dung Beetles were particularly active in Tsavo East. The couple collects dung from Elephants or other grazers and rolls it to the chosen place where they will bury the ball and lay their egg in it. The larvae will feed on the nutritious substances found in the dung. It’s a long walk home though!