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Altina Wildlife Park

Eland Antelope (Taurotragus Oryx

Habitat:

Found throughout Southern Africa: South Sudan, Ethiopia, Angola, Namibia, Botswana, Malawi, Tanzania, Swaziland, Zimbabwe and South Africa. 50% of Eland in Africa live in protected reserves. They are found in semi-arid areas but can also be found in grasslands, woodlands, sub desert, bush and mountaintops.

Description:

Fawn brown in colour with faint vertical white stripes on their sides and a black stripe down their back. They are the largest antelope with a heavy ox-like build. Both males and females have spiral horns and stand up to 2 metres at the shoulder. They have a short mane on their neck and shoulders with a dewlap (fold of skin) hanging from their necks. Females can weigh between 300-600kg with males ranging anywhere between 500-900kg.

Status:

Least Concern

Interesting facts:

  • Eland milk has almost 3 times the fat and double the amount of protein than a Dairy Cow.
  • When Eland milk is exposed to air and then store at 37 degrees it can last up to 8 months, whereas milk from Domestic Cattle under similar conditions will deteriorate within days.
  • Eland are the largest and slowest Antelope in the world.
  • Group Structure: They live in herds from 20 – 100 individuals with a family consisting of a bull (male), several cows and their calves.
  • Eland are wary and usually silent but make a clicking sound from their knees when walking to communicate to the rest of the herd as to their whereabouts.
  • Eland can jump 2.4m from a stand still despite their size.
  • Eland can run up to 60km per hour but tire easily.
  • Reproduction: Females reach sexual maturity at 3 years of age while males at 4-5 years. There is no particular breeding season although it is usually timed so young have lush green grass after birth. After a 9 month gestation 1 calf is born although twins can occur it is rare.
  • They can go for long periods without water and survive in desert areas by getting water from succulents.
  • Diet: They mostly browse and graze, consuming grasses and using their horns when feeding to break off branches of trees and shrubs.
  • Predators: Lion, Leopard, Hyena, Cheetah, Cape Hunting Dog/African Wild Dog
  • Lifespan: 15 – 20 years.

 

Eland Antelope Population Distribution Map
Eland Antelope Population Distribution Map