Conservation Status (Giant) : Endangered
Conservation Status (Common) : Dependent
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The Giant Eland (Taurotragus derbianus also known as the Derby Eland) is an open forest
savannah antelope. It is found in Central African Republic, Sudan, Cameroon and Senegal.
There are two subspecies: the endangered T. d. derbianus, found in Senegal's Niokolo-Koba
National Park, and the low risk T. d. gigas, found in Central Africa.
Giant Eland stand 150 to 175 centimetres (4.9 to 5.7 feet) at the shoulder and weigh from five
to nine hundred kilograms. The coat is chestnut, darker in males than females. There are
around ten white vertical stripes on the body as well as a white underside and black
definition around the base of the neck and along the nose. There is a bit of a dewlap under
the throat and a short black mane running down the back almost to the back legs. Both
sexes have horns which are relatively straight with many twists. Males have larger horns than
females, reaching 120 centimetres.
Giant Eland live in open forest and savannah where they eat grass, leaves and branches.
Giant Eland are mainly nocturnal. Giant Eland form groups of around twenty animals,
although double that is possible. These herds are nomadic, migrating extensively.
The Common Eland, or Southern Eland, (Taurotragus oryx) is a savannah and plains antelope
found in East and Southern Africa.
The Common Eland stands around two metres at the shoulder and weighs 275 kilograms (600
lb) to a tonne (2,200 lb). Females are sometimes less than half the weight of adult males. This
species and the so-called Giant Eland, which are actually about the same size as the
Common, are the largest of world's antelopes. Common Eland females have a tan coat,
while the males' coat is a darker tan with a blue tinge to it, there may be a single white stripe
vertically placed on the sides. The males have dense fur on their foreheads and a large
dewlap. Both sexes have horns, which are about 65 centimetres (26 in) long and almost
straight. The horns of the female are longer but thinner than those of the male.
Common Eland live on the savannah and eat grass, branches and leaves. They are diurnal
but tend towards inactivity during the heat of the day. Herds are usually between thirty and
eighty individuals but are known to reach upwards of four hundred. The Common Eland has an
unusual social life. They come and go, taking advantage of herd life when they need to
without forming close ties.
They "are very agile and can easily jump a 1.5 m fence from a standing start"
Predators taking adult Eland in the wild are predominantly Lion and African Wild Dog
Common Eland are sometimes considered part of the genus Tragelaphus, but it is usually
categorised as Taurotragus with the Giant Eland.
The name "eland" is derived from the Dutch word for moose. When Dutch settlers came to
the Cape Province they named the largest wild ruminant herbivore they met with the name
of the huge northern herbivore.
In Dutch the animal is called "eland antilope" to distinguish it from the moose, which are
found in the northern boreal forests. Also in this family are the Thompson's Gazelle and the
There are about 90 species of antelope in about 30 genera, of
which about 15 are endangered. These include:
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