Common eland

Large antelopes look like giant cows in appearance but run pretty fast

Yathin S Krishnappa

Males of the species are significantly larger than their female counterparts. They can weigh between 400 and 1,000 kg (approximately 800 to 2,200 pounds), dwarfing the females, who range from 300 to 600 kg (700 to 1,300 pounds). To the uninitiated observer, their bulky stature may indeed evoke comparisons to domesticated cows or oxen, yet a closer look reveals a creature uniquely adapted to its environment, embodying the essence of wild Africa.

These majestic animals demonstrate remarkable flexibility in their social arrangements, ranging from solitary wanderers to members of large herds that can number up to 100 individuals. These herds are primarily composed of females and juveniles, moving in unison toward regions abundant in food resources, showcasing their preference for community and collaboration in the quest for sustenance. In contrast, smaller groups or solitary elands tend to be adult males, embodying a more independent existence.

Elands exhibit an adaptability in their dietary habits that ensures their survival across varying landscapes and seasons. Their preference for a plant-based diet includes a wide variety of grasses, leaves, and fruits, allowing them to thrive in both lush and arid environments. Remarkably, elands possess the ability to endure the dry season with minimal water intake, a testament to their efficiency in conserving resources and their physiological adaptation to the challenging African climate.

Beyond their survival strategies, elands hold a significant place in the cultural and ecological tapestry of their native lands. Their movement patterns and grazing habits play a crucial role in shaping the vegetation of the savannah, contributing to the biodiversity and health of their ecosystems. Moreover, elands have been featured in the folklore and art of various African cultures, symbolizing strength, speed, and endurance, and continue to be revered as one of the continent’s most iconic species.

Distribution

Country
Population est.
Status
Year
Comments
Angola
2016
Botswana
2016
Burundi
0
Official estimate
EX
2016
Extinct 1999
DR Congo (Kinshasa)
2016
Eswatini
2016
Ethiopia
2016
Kenya
2016
Lesotho
2016
Malawi
2016
Mozambique
2016
Namibia
2016
Rwanda
2016
South Africa
2016
South Sudan
2016
Tanzania
2016
Uganda
2016
Zambia
2016
Zimbabwe
2016

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Terrestrial / Aquatic

Altricial / Precocial

Polygamous / Monogamous

Dimorphic (size) / Monomorphic

Active: Diurnal / Nocturnal

Social behavior: Solitary / Pack / Herd

Diet: Carnivore / Herbivore / Omnivore / Piscivorous / Insectivore

Migratory: Yes / No

Domesticated: Yes / No

Dangerous: Yes / No