The Largest Antelope in the World is also Critically Endangered
The Western Derby Eland (Taurotragus derbianus derbianus) is a large majestic antelope, which upon sight will astound you. This species of Eland is the largest antelope in the world and can weigh up to 650 kg (1433 lbs) with a body length ranging from 220–290 cm. Also known as the Giant Eland, its tawny body is decorated with fine white stripes across its back. With such an hefty and elegant stature, one would certainly presume it is perfection of nature at its best, but there is a catch…
Although massive in size, their declining population deems it critically endangered according to the IUCN Red List of Endangered species. At this rate, without intervention, this magnificent species might be extinct within a decade. Luckily, not all hope is lost, and this is where Fathala Wildlife Reserve comes in. You will only be able to spot the Lord Derby Eland in three places in the World of one, which is Fathala Wildlife Reserve in Senegal.
Why do we intervene in the breeding of an endangered species?
When an animal is on the endangered species list, it is crucial for human intervention, because it is predominantly due to human activity that animal gets on the endangered list in the first place. The biggest threat to an already declining population of a species is interbreeding which will weaken the gene pool and lead to a further decline in strength of the total population. This is where In-situ conservation plays a vital role in the recovering of the species as a whole. In-situ means the conservation of a species in its natural habitat and the maintenance and recovery of viable population of species in their original place. Although technically in captivity, it is the best chance for endangered species to return to a healthy population state and even recover from being extinct in the wild. This does not mean that they are being kept in small areas; it simply means that they are closely monitored and managed on the largest area viable for the recovery of a species. The Giant Eland has a giant home range and that is why Fathala Wildlife Reserve is one of the perfect places to call home.
How will we save the Western Derby Eland species?
The Western Derby Eland conservation program led by Derbanius Conservation forms the population bred in captivity in the Bandia and Fathala Reserve in Senegal. The aim of Derbanius Conservation is to establish healthy populations of Derby eland and other West African antelope species in their native habitat. The Derby eland is valued as a flagship species for conservation of the savannah ecosystems of Western and Central Africa. The numbers of Derby Elands in captivity grew by 100 animals under the guidance of the Derbianus team. There were just 6 founding animals, one male and five females captured in 2000 in the Niokolo Koba National Park, from which the conservation program was developed.
The Derbianus teams work consists of yearly identification of newborn calves, keeping the studbook, organization and realization of transports of breeding animals and other activities. Despite the size of this antelope there is very little known about this species. There is constant research and studying of the ecology and foraging behaviour of the Western Derby Eland in its natural habitat in Niokolo Koba and also in the fenced reserves. For more info on the Derbanius Conservation, visit: https://www.derbianus.cz/en/nas-tym/
What you can do for the Giant Eland?
It is not only costly to preserve the species and the original habitat, but a lot of effort goes into ensuring that the Western Derby Eland has a prime environment to call it home. Fathala Wildlife Reserve is one of three places in the world that makes this possible. By visiting Fathala Wildlife Reserve, you are actively contributing to the recovery of an entire species!
Book a stay with us at firstname.lastname@example.org to get a chance to see the critically endangered Western Derby Eland yourself why all the fuss about this magnificent giant antelope.