Both male and females have large spiralled horns. The male’s horns are shorter and thicker, whereas the female’s horns tend to be longer and have a tighter spiral.

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Elands browse more than they graze, feeding in areas where shrubs and bushes provide the leaves they prefer and using their horns to bring twigs and branches into reach. They also consume certain fruits, large bulbs, and tuberous roots.

Eland populations have declined or have been extirpated in many parts of their range, but overall are still relatively common. Overhunting has been one cause of the declining numbers.

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It is native to Botswana, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, South Africa, South Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe but is no longer present in Burundi and Angola. While the common eland's population is decreasing, it is classified as "Least Concern" by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

The Common Eland (Taurotragus oryx) is one of the two species in the genus Taurotragus (the other being the Giant Eland, T. derbianus). Based largely on molecular and chromosomal studies (e.g., Fernández and Vrba 2005; Willows-Munro et al. 2005; Rubes et al. 2008), some authorities subsume the genus Taurotragus within Tragelaphus. The most striking feature of elands is their massive size, especially of the males.

Juveniles are in more danger of being attacked by predators such as lions, cheetahs and hyenas.

Eland are predominantly fawn in colour and have several white stripes across their backs; they also have a short dark mane. Males can appear to turn blue/grey colour with age due to their dark skin showing through a thinning coat.

Eland are non-territorial and often form large herds of 100 individuals or more! Both males and females have large spiralled horns – males will rub them against objects to show their strength and ferocity, whilst females will use theirs to defend calves against predators.

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Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male)Sex: male: 571 days.

Classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List (1).

The scientific name of the common eland is Taurotragus oryx, composed of three words: tauros, tragos and oryx. Tauros is Greek for a bull or bullock, meaning the same as the Latin taurus.[4] Tragos is Greek for a male goat, referring to the tuft of hair that grows in the eland's ear and its resemblance to a goat's beard.[5] Oryx is Latin and Greek (generally orygos) for pickaxe, referring to the pointed horns of North African antelopes like the common eland and scimitar-horned oryx.[6]

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.

The gestation period is 9 months and one calf is born. The mother is quite happy tucking the newborn calf away whilst she grazes as the calf has a natural instinct to remain still and hidden, so as not to be spotted by predators.

They live on home ranges that can be 200–400 km2 for females and juveniles and 50 km2 for males.[23][24]

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Elands live in both steppe and sparse forests. They are also found in semidesert areas and at elevations up to 14400 ft. During the heat of the day, they are often found in shaded areas.

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Key Reproductive Features: gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual

Eland are one of the largest antelope species and are found in East and South Africa on the plains and savannahs. However they are very adaptable and can form herds in a variety of habitats including sub-desert, floodplains and mountains.

The common eland is the slowest antelope, with a peak speed of 40 kilometres (25 mi) per hour that tires them quickly. However, they can maintain a 22 kilometres (14 mi) per hour trot indefinitely. Elands are capable of jumping up to 2.5 metres (8 ft 2 in) from a standing start when startled[13] (up to 3 metres (9.8 ft) for young elands).[3] The common eland's life expectancy is generally between 15 and 20 years; in captivity some live up to 25 years.[3]

Elands provide large amount of tender meat, as well as high-quality hides. There has been efforts to domesticate them for both their meat and their milk, which has much higher protein content and milkfat than the milk of cows. To date, only one of these domestication attempts has been successful.

As human populations are growing and expanding settlements and agriculture, they are encroaching on elands' living spaces and destroying habitats and food sources.

When walking, males produce a loud clicking noise. This is thought to be caused by the slipping of tendons over the knee joint or another foot bone.  This sharp noise can travel for some distance and is a good indication of an approaching herd.

When walking, males produce a loud clicking noise. This is thought to be caused by the slipping of tendons over the knee joint or another foot bone. This sharp noise can travel for some distance and is a good indication of an approaching herd.

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Common Eland

For further information on the conservation of the common eland and other African Wildlife see:

Authenticated (24/03/10) by Dr David Mallon, Co-Chair, IUCN/SSC Antelope Specialist Group.

The common eland occurs in many protected areas throughout its range, such as Kafue National Park, Zambia, Etosha National Park, Namibia (5), and in the Cape Floral Protected Areas of South Africa, a World Heritage Site (6). In some countries, such as Malawi, the common eland is confined entirely to national parks and game reserves. The continued protection and enforcement of these areas is therefore essential for the common eland’s future survival (5).

The common eland is sometimes farmed and hunted for its meat, and in some cases can be better used than cattle because it is more suited to African climates. This has led to some Southern African farmers switching from cattle to eland. Common elands are also pictured as supporters in the coat of arms of Grootfontein, Namibia.

Females with young calves come together in nursery groups. After the young are weaned at about 3 months, the mothers rejoin the female herds, and the calves remain together in the nursery group. With year-round births, some adult females are always present in a nursery group and they defend all juveniles present, not just their own. Juveniles usually remain in the nursery groups until they are almost 2 years old, when they begin to wander off and join other loose groupings of their own sex.

Males will regularly rub their horns against objects and the ground to show their strength and ferocity. The females will use their horns to defend their calves against predators.

AWF works with governments and villages to designate wildlife corridors—large swaths of land that elands can use to roam freely and safely from one park, or country, to another. Corridors link protected areas and allow elands to follow rains or travel to their calving grounds.

Once widespread throughout suitable habitat in southern, central and east Africa (3), from South Africa north to the Democratic Republic of Congo and Kenya (2), the common eland has now become extinct in many areas, and populations have declined in others (3).

Elands prefer to live in semi-arid areas that contain many shrub-like bushes, and often inhabit grasslands, woodlands, sub-desert, bush, and mountaintops with altitudes of about 15,000 ft (4600 m).[21] Elands do, however, avoid forests, swamps and deserts. The places inhabited by elands generally contain Acacia, Combretum, Commiphora, Diospyros, Grewia, Rhus and Ziziphus trees and shrubs; some of these also serve as their food.

Over-hunting appears to be the greatest threat facing the common eland, resulting in its elimination from many areas (2) (5). However, this antelope is still widely distributed and occurs in numerous protected areas (2), and is therefore not yet considered threatened with extinction (1).

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