Eland

Eland, Common

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  • Information
  • Conservation
  • Lifestyle

Description

The common eland is the largest of all African bovids. Females and juveniles have tan coats that darken to a grayish blue in older males. They have vertical white stripes on their flanks and a dewlap on the lower throat that is thought to aid in heat dissipation. Both males and females have straight horns with 1-2 twists that can grow up to 4 ft (120 cm) long on males, 2.2 ft (67 cm) long on females. Giant eland (Taurotragus derbianus) are smaller in weight but taller than the common eland.

Classification

Class
Mammalia
Order
Cetartiodactyla
Family
Bovidae
Genus
Taurotragus
Species
T. oryx
Conservation Status
Least Concern

Key Facts

Height
4-6 ft (~130-180 cm)
Weight
660-2200 lb (~300-1,000 kg)

The IUCN Red List describes Taurotragus oryx as a species of Least Concern with a population estimated at 136,000 individuals. Eland populations are declining however, and they have been extirpated in many parts of their range while remaining relatively common overall. Overhunting has been one cause of the declining numbers.

Social Life
Eland are most active in the morning and late afternoon.  A very social species, they are typically found in herds of up to 25 individuals, although larger temporary aggregations of females and calves occur during the wet season. There may be more than one adult male in a herd, but there is a dominance hierarchy that controls access to breeding females. Usually older eland males are solitary with younger males forming small groups of 3 or 4. Eland are remarkably fast, have been recorded running over 42 mph (70 kph). Despite their size they are exceptional jumpers easily clearing heights of 5 ft (1.5 m).

Habitat and Range
Eland are not territorial and share habitats in grasslands, woodlands, savannas, and plains in eastern and southern Africa. They are also found in semi-desert areas and at elevations up to 14,400 ft (4400m). They are highly mobile and have a large home range.

Diet
Eland usually graze during the wet season when young grasses are readily available. When grass is scarce they browse on leaves, bushes, herbs, bark, buds, bulbs, succulent fruits and roots. Eland consume water voraciously when available, but can abstain from drinking in times of drought.

Lifespan
In captivity eland can live up to 25 years, in the wild they typically live 15-20 years.

Predators
The male eland’s size generally discourages attacks except from predators working in collaboration. The smaller females and young eland are much more vulnerable to predators that include lions, painted dogs, leopards and spotted hyenas.

Reproduction
Sexual maturity: Male: 4-5 years, Female: 15-36 months
Mating Season: Year-round
Birth Season:    Year-round
Gestation:          9 months
No. of Young:     1, rarely 2

Information

Description

The common eland is the largest of all African bovids. Females and juveniles have tan coats that darken to a grayish blue in older males. They have vertical white stripes on their flanks and a dewlap on the lower throat that is thought to aid in heat dissipation. Both males and females have straight horns with 1-2 twists that can grow up to 4 ft (120 cm) long on males, 2.2 ft (67 cm) long on females. Giant eland (Taurotragus derbianus) are smaller in weight but taller than the common eland.

Classification

Class
Mammalia
Order
Cetartiodactyla
Family
Bovidae
Genus
Taurotragus
Species
T. oryx
Conservation Status
Least Concern

Key Facts

Height
4-6 ft (~130-180 cm)
Weight
660-2200 lb (~300-1,000 kg)
Conservation

The IUCN Red List describes Taurotragus oryx as a species of Least Concern with a population estimated at 136,000 individuals. Eland populations are declining however, and they have been extirpated in many parts of their range while remaining relatively common overall. Overhunting has been one cause of the declining numbers.

Lifestyle

Social Life
Eland are most active in the morning and late afternoon.  A very social species, they are typically found in herds of up to 25 individuals, although larger temporary aggregations of females and calves occur during the wet season. There may be more than one adult male in a herd, but there is a dominance hierarchy that controls access to breeding females. Usually older eland males are solitary with younger males forming small groups of 3 or 4. Eland are remarkably fast, have been recorded running over 42 mph (70 kph). Despite their size they are exceptional jumpers easily clearing heights of 5 ft (1.5 m).

Habitat and Range
Eland are not territorial and share habitats in grasslands, woodlands, savannas, and plains in eastern and southern Africa. They are also found in semi-desert areas and at elevations up to 14,400 ft (4400m). They are highly mobile and have a large home range.

Diet
Eland usually graze during the wet season when young grasses are readily available. When grass is scarce they browse on leaves, bushes, herbs, bark, buds, bulbs, succulent fruits and roots. Eland consume water voraciously when available, but can abstain from drinking in times of drought.

Lifespan
In captivity eland can live up to 25 years, in the wild they typically live 15-20 years.

Predators
The male eland’s size generally discourages attacks except from predators working in collaboration. The smaller females and young eland are much more vulnerable to predators that include lions, painted dogs, leopards and spotted hyenas.

Reproduction
Sexual maturity: Male: 4-5 years, Female: 15-36 months
Mating Season: Year-round
Birth Season:    Year-round
Gestation:          9 months
No. of Young:     1, rarely 2

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Eland, Common