Eland Antelope (Taurotragus Oryx)
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.
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.
- 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.