Tragelaphus oryx 

Scope: Global

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Cetartiodactyla Bovidae

Scientific Name: Tragelaphus oryx
Species Authority: (Pallas, 1766)
Common Name(s):
English Common Eland, Eland
Taxonomic Notes: The genus Taurotragus, in which the Common Eland and the Giant Eland, T. derbianus, are sometimes included, is here included in the genus Tragelaphus, in accordance with recent genetic evidence and classifications (see Kingdon in press for summary). Three subspecies of Common Eland have been recognized, although their validity requires investigation (Thouless in press).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): IUCN SSC Antelope Specialist Group
Reviewer(s): Mallon, D.P. (Antelope Red List Authority) & Hoffmann, M. (Global Mammal Assessment)
Total numbers have been estimated at c. 136,000, about 50% of which occur in protected areas and 30% on private land. Population trends are varied in protected areas, increasing on private land and decreasing elsewhere (20%). It therefore does not currently meet the criteria for threatened status or for Near Threatened. The Common Eland’s Red List status will not change as long as substantial, stable populations continue to occur in a good number of protected areas and it remains a popular and economically significant species on private land. The requirement for large areas to accommodate its seasonal wanderings is likely to result in further contraction of the distribution and numbers of free-ranging populations as human settlement expands. This may be at least partly compensated for by the continued growth of its numbers on private farms and conservancies.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Common Eland formerly occurred throughout the savanna woodlands of eastern and southern Africa, extending into high-altitude grasslands and the arid savannas and scrublands of the Kalahari and Karoo in southern Africa. It has been eliminated from more than half of its former range by the expansion of human populations, and their numbers have decreased dramatically since the 1970s as a result of civil wars and their aftermath in countries such as Uganda, Rwanda, Angola and Mozambique. They are now extinct in Burundi. However, Common Eland have been reintroduced to a number of game ranches and private ranchland in southern Africa (particularly South Africa), and this has done much to bolster numbers. In addition, animals have been introduced widely outside of their natural range; for example, although their natural range in Namibia is restricted to the northeastern parts, they now occur widely on game ranches in the southern and central parts (East 1999).
Countries occurrence:
Botswana; Burundi; Congo, The Democratic Republic of the; Ethiopia; Kenya; Lesotho; Malawi; Mozambique; Namibia; Rwanda; South Africa; South Sudan; Swaziland; Tanzania, United Republic of; Uganda; Zambia; Zimbabwe
Possibly extinct:
Angola (Angola)
Additional data:
Upper elevation limit (metres):4900
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Citing various authors, East (1999) indicates that population density estimates obtained by aerial counts in areas where the species is moderately common generally range from about 0.05 - 0.4/km². Higher density estimates (0.6-1.0/km²) have been obtained by aerial counts. Ground surveys or total counts of areas where the species is common have produced similar density estimates.

East (1999) produced a total population estimate of 136,000, with stable/increasing national populations are now confined to Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Malawi and possibly Tanzania. Population trends vary from increasing to decreasing within individual protected areas, and are generally increasing on private land and decreasing in other areas.
Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Common Elands are one of the most adaptable ruminants, inhabiting subdesert, acacia savanna, miombo woodland, and alpine moorlands to 4,900 m. They are not found in deep forest, in true deserts, or in completely open grassland, though they do occur in grassland with good herb cover (Thouless in press). Common Eland are primarily broswers, and move long distances in search of ephemeral food sources; they can go without water for prolonged periods, able to obtain sufficient moisture from their food (Thouless in press).

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: The Common Eland is hunted for food, sport, and other purposes. The proportion of animals taken from the wild and from ranches is not known.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Habitat loss (due to expanding human settlements) and poaching for its superior meat have resulted in drastic reductions of range and populations.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: About half of this estimated total population occurs in protected areas and 30% on private land (East 1999). Protected areas that support major populations include Omo (Ethiopia), Serengeti, Katavi, Ruaha and Selous-Kilombero (Tanzania), Kafue and North Luangwa (Zambia), Nyika (Malawi), Etosha (Namibia), Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park (Botswana/South Africa) and Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Park (South Africa). Most of these populations appear to be stable. Relatively large numbers of the Common Eland now occur on private land, particularly in Namibia, Zimbabwe and South Africa, reflecting its value as a trophy animal. Common Eland have also been widely domesticated in Zimbabwe, South Africa and Kenya, as well as in Russia, Ukraine, and England (Thouless in press).

Citation: IUCN SSC Antelope Specialist Group. 2008. Tragelaphus oryx. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2008: e.T22055A9353895. . Downloaded on 06 December 2016.
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