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Category: Ungulates

Location: Safari Drive

The eland is the largest living antelope in the world. The antelope you'll see on the safari drive are common eland. Its natural habitat is bush and grassland. Adult male eland are larger than the female of the species, but both male and female eland have horns. Babies, which are called calves, are born in the spring, the mother will find a quiet place to ‘park’ her calf, returning to feed it several times a day. In the wild, this hiding place would be its only protection from predators.

 

Western Derby Eland 

Tragelaphus derbianus

On the Safari Drive, you’ll see our herd of common eland in the African savannah area, but the largest of all is the Derby eland, of which there are two subspecies. The Western subspecies is Critically Endangered and is now only found in Senegal. Similar in shape to the common eland, they have larger horns, a darker neck and more pronounced markings on their body. They’re striking to look at but unfortunately very rare. Knowsley Safari has been part of a project to bring them back from the brink of extinction.

Derbianus Conservation has been working to protect Western Derby eland in the wild. We regularly work with them on the ground in Senegal to undertake field work which is focused on semi-captive breeding populations of Western Derby eland. These semi-captive eland are the building blocks for the future of the species. An education programme helps everyone understand what is happening within their community. This includes providing resources for school pupils to educate them about eland.

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Eland are the largest antelope in the world

Adult males are around 1.6m (5′ ft) at the shoulder

Their horns are spiraled

Males are larger than females but both have horns!

They are capable of jumping 2.5m (over 8′ ft) from a standing start.

Eland will change their feeding patterns depending on the season. During the dry season eland will browse from trees switching to grazing when the rains return.

Common eland are from Eastern and Southern Africa.

Common Eland are listed as least concern, their populations are stable. However, the larger cousin of the common eland, the western giant eland or Lord Derby’s eland, named in honour of the 13th Earl of Derby, is now critically endangered.

Eland are an important part of many ecosystems as they are graze open plains as well as being a prey species for predators.

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