Common Eland

Tragelaphus oryx

About the Eland

JS1-eland-KSP-Sept14-3302The eland is the largest living antelope in the world, standing at around 1.8m (6′ ft) at the shoulder. It was common in South Africa but is now found mainly in game reserves. Its natural habitat is bush and grassland. Adult male eland are larger than the female of the species. 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.

About the Western Derby Eland Tragelaphus derbianus

There is a rare subspecies of eland named after the 13th Earl of Derby – the giant eland or Lord Derby’s eland. The remaining viable wild population is to be found in the Cameroons. The larger cousin of the common eland, the giant eland or Lord Derby’s eland, named in honour of the 13th Earl of Derby, is now the largest living mammal species roaming around in Western Africa. Sadly only 150 individuals are left of this magnificent species. A conservation project has been set up in cooperation with Prague Zoo to save this species from extinction.

Fact Finder

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

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.

Listed as least concern, their populations are stable. 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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