The common Eland is the southern eland or eland antelope, it’s a plain antelope and savannah, the eland is found in southern Africa and East. The eland is around 1.6meters tall at shoulders, it weighs up to 942kg with an average of 550-600kg, its 340-445kgs for the female which weighs lower than the male. Eland is the second largest antelope in the world, although it’s slightly smaller than the giant eland. They have a tail which is about 50-90 cm long.
Eland is a herbivore animal that feeds mainly on leaves and grasses, a group of eland is called a herd which consists of 500 members that are not territorial. Common eland prefers habitats with a wide variety of flowering plants such as woodlands, savannah, Montana grasslands and woodlands, elands always avoid dense forests.
When other members are in danger, elands use loud barks and postural movements to communicate in order to warn others about the danger. Common eland is used by humans for meat, rich, nutritious milk, leather and other many ways.
Elands are natives to Democratic Republican of Congo, Namibia, Rwanda, Malawi, south Africa,Ethiopia,Mozambique,sudan,Tanzania,Zambia,zimbambwe,Swaziland, and Lesotho.
Elands are a Dutch word for “elk” or “moose” it has a similar word to the Lithuanian “elnis” which means am deer. Their coat of color differs geographically, with the elands in north Africa, they have stripes, dark garters, legs with marking, a spinah crest, that are absent in the south. Apart from their rough mane, their coat is very smooth.
Females have a tan coat, while the coats of males are darker .However the more the males’ age their coat becomes darker, with a bluish-grey tinge. Bulls have series of verticals white stripes on their sides. The more males’ age, their coat becomes more grey. The foreheads of males have more fur and a large dewlap on their throats. Females have a tan coat, while the coats of males are darker, with a bluish-grey tinge. Bulls have a series of vertical white stripes on their sides. As males age, their coat becomes more grey .on the males have a large dewlap on their throats and dense fur on their throats. The horns are visible as small buds in newborns; they grow more rapidly during the first months from sixth to seventh.
The horns of males are thicker and shorter than of females, horns are 43-66cm long and female are 51-69cm, they have a tighter spiral.
The male horns are used for rutting season to wrestle and buut heads with rivals, while females use their horns to fight predators away from their predators.
This type of antelope is very slow, with a peak speed of 40 kilometers per hour although it tires them quickly. Surprisingly elands can maintain 22 kilometers per hour. Elands can jump up 2.5metrs from there standing point.
Elands live between 15 and 20 years in the wild while in captivity they live up 25 years. Eland herds are accompanied by a loud clicking sound that is considered speculation.
The weight of the animal cause’s two halves of its hooves that splays apart, the clicking is a result of hooves snapping together whenever the eland raises its leg. Sometimes the sound is a form of passing on communication.
Habitat and distribution
Elands live on the open plains of southern Africa, along the foothills of the great southern African plateau. Elands live in semi-arid a area that contains many shrub-like bushes, often inhabit grasslands, sub-desert, bush, woodlands, and mountaintops with altitudes of about 15,000ft.
Elands are known for their characters of avoiding forests, deserts and swamps, elands generally contain acacia, commiphora, Rhus, Ziiphus trees, acacia, they serve as their food.
Their herds range from 200-400km2 for both females and young ones while males can be at 50km2 .common elands are crepuscular and nomadic. They eat in the morning and evening, rest in shade when hot and they remain in sunlight when cold. Their found in herds of up to 500,with individual members remaining in the herd anywhere from several hours to several months. Young ones tend to form larger herds, males usually separate into smaller groups or keep wandering away individually .although during estrus, elands form groups regularly and this is mainly in the rainy season. Some areas of Africa, Elands associate with large herds of zebras, antelopes, roan and oryxes.
Elands communicate via scent cues, vocalizations and displaying of behaviors. Females usually indicate their fertility by urinating during their estrous cycle, this may happen as well as to show their lack of fertility when harassed by males.
In case elands find their predators nearby, they will bark thus attract the attract the attention of others by trotting back and forth until the entire herd is aware of the danger.
Some of their predators include cheetahs, African wild dogs, and spotted hyenas. The young ones of eland are more vulnerable than adults to their predators.
Elands browse during drier winter months although they adapt to grazing when the grasses are more common.
The diet they feed on requires high protein diet of succulent leaves from flowering plants, although they will consume lower quality plan material including shrubs, seeds, forbs, trees and tubers.
Elands increase their body temperature by conserving water; they feed on Themeda and Setaria, usually some fruits from strechnos and securinege.
During the little rain antelopes can survive on lower quality food, during night, they tend to feed during night in hot weather and sleep for longer periods during day.
The intake of their water is obtained from food, although when the water is available they will drink. They quickly adjust to the surroundings due to seasonal changes and other causes, as well as they keep changing their feeding habits. Elands use horns to break off branches that are hard to reach.
SOCIALIBILTY AND PRODUCTION
Females become sexually mature at 15-36 months and males at 4-5 years, while mating may occur anytime after reaching sexual maturity, although this is mostly spotted in Zambia.
The young ones are usually born in July and August, while elsewhere it’s a mating season .mating occurs when their gathering to feed on lush green plains with plentiful grass.
In order for the male to known if a female is in estrus, males will chase them and also test their urine. A female usually chooses a dominant and fit male to mate with. Although at times the female will tend to run away from the male trying to mate with her, this causes more attraction. The reaction will lead to fights between males; their hard horns are used .the fight takes 2-4 hours before a female allows a male to mount. The males will chose to keep a close contact with females in the mating period.
During mating, males can mate with more than one female.
They go through 9 months, and always give birth to one calf each time of delivery.
Males, females and their off springs each goes out and forms separate social groups. The group of males includes very few members; they stay together searching for water and food. The female group is large and covers greater areas .Elands prefer bushy areas in dry periods and travel grassy plains in wet periods.
A group of off springs is usually formed after the females have given birth, after 24 hours of delivery, the mother and the calf joins the group. As the calves keep growing they will start befriending each other, they will stay back in the group, the mother will then return to the female group. When the calves turn at least two years old they will join a female or male group.
Parasites and Disease
Vectors are tsetse flies that is caused by a protozoan infection which is common in a resistant to try panosomiasis,
Elands are not endangered; however the population gradually decreases due to expanding human settlement, habitat loss, poaching for its superior meat.
Elands are inactive and docile most of the time, they can easily be killed, and this type of species became extinct in Swaziland and Zimbabwe although it was reintroduced.
Half of the estimated total population has stated by the IUCN there are about 30% living on private land. The protected areas support major population including Kafue and North Luangwa, omo in Ethiopia, Ruah and selous-Kilombero, Katavi, in Tanzania, Etosha in Namibia, Nyika in Malawi, UKhahlamba Drakensberg park in south Africa, Transfronier park in Botswana/south Africa. The populations always appear to be stable, there relatively large numbers of common elands living on private land, they live in Zimbabwe, South Africa, and Namibia, this reflects the value as a trophy animal.
Elands are hunted for their meat, and in most cases their used as cattle’s because their more suited to African climate. For this reason most southern Africans switched from cattle’s to elands. Although common elands pictures are used as supporters in the coat of arms in Nambia.
They have a mild temperament; they have been successfully domesticated for meat and milk production in South Africa and Russia. They produce urine with a high-urea content, thus making their need for water very low, they require a substantial grazing area, they eat along with salt licks and large amounts of supplementary food like sorghum, beans, melons and maize, which are abit expensive. Female elands can produce up to 7kilograms of milk per a day; their milk is rich fat than cow milk. Its milk has a high butterfat content of 11-17% and it can be stored for eight months if their properly prepare, verses the several days of cow milk.
It’s hard to house elands because of their ability to jump over fences as high as 3 metres and as well as simply break through using their substantial mass. The wild elands break through enclosures to mix with domesticated ones. Elands can reproduce in captivity, calf requires care because surviving is low and young ones may need to be separated from their mothers in order to ensure adequate feeding and health. The husbandry system requires large amounts of space.