A Guide To Arawale National Reserve
The Arawale National Reserve is a designated conservation area managed by the Garissa County in assistance with the Kenya Wildlife Service. It lies in North Eastern Province of Kenya, 77 km south of the town of Garissa. Arawale National Reserve covers an area of 53,324 hectares (533 km2; 206 sq mi). To the west, it is bordered by the Tana River and, to the east, by the Garissa–Lamu road. In 1974, the reserve was gazetted as the only in-situ conservation site for the critically endangered Hirola population endemic to north-eastern Kenya and south-west Somalia.
What To See at Arawale National Reserve
Arawale National Reserve is a critical refuge for a range of wildlife species including four globally threatened species: Hirola, Gravy Zebra, African Wild Dog and Cheetah. A study commissioned by Terra Nuova in 2006 also showed signs of presence of the African Elephant.
Arawale National Reserve main asset is the hirola or Hunter’s hartebeest (‘Beatragus hunteri’), a slender ungulate with lyre-shaped horns which is called the ‘four-eyed antelope’ for its visible preorbital glands. It can only be found in this region and is critically endangered (only the previous step to extinct in the wild) according to the IUCN red list of threatened species. Only 245 specimens were detected during an air survey conducted in 2010, although the actual population may be somewhat larger. Some hirolas have been translocated to Tsavo East National Park in an effort to save the species.