Tragelaphus derbianus 

Scope: Global
Language: English

Translate page into:

Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Cetartiodactyla Bovidae

Scientific Name: Tragelaphus derbianus
Species Authority: (Gray, 1847)
Infra-specific Taxa Assessed:
Common Name(s):
English Giant Eland, Derby's Eland, Lord Derby's Eland
French Éland de Derby
Taxonomic Notes: There are two recognized subspecies: Western Giant Eland (T. d. derbianus) and Eastern Giant Eland (T. d. gigas) (East 1999).

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 population numbers are estimated at 15,000-20,000 and probably stable over large areas of the range in Central African Republic and Cameroon where human population densities are low, although probably gradually declining across its entire range. Giant Eland are one of the most sought after antelope trophies and sustainable safari hunting is having a positive effect on the conservation of populations in many areas.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:In the past, the Giant Eland probably occurred throughout the relatively narrow belt of savanna woodland which extends across West and Central Africa from Senegal to the Nile. The gap in its recent distribution between Mali and eastern Nigeria contains extensive areas of apparently suitable habitat (East 1999).

The Western Giant Eland has been formerly reported from Senegal to Togo, though its occurrence in Togo might have been a mistaken confusion with Bongo Tragalephaus eurycerus (Grubb et al. 1998). The subspecies still occurs in southeastern Senegal, the far north of Guinea, probably south-western Mali and possibly eastern Guinea-Bissau (East 1999; Darroze 2004; Planton and Michaux in press).

Eastern Giant Elands occur in the central African region, and were formerly distributed from north-eastern Nigeria to north-west Uganda. They now survive mainly in north-east Central African Republic. A separate population lives in northern Cameroon, with herds crossing the Chad border to the east; occasional vagrants may enter Nigerian territory. They may still occur in south-western Sudan, from which they may visit north-eastern DR Congo and north-west Uganda (East 1999; Planton and Michaux in press).
Countries occurrence:
Cameroon; Central African Republic; Chad; Congo, The Democratic Republic of the; Guinea; Mali; Senegal; South Sudan; Sudan
Possibly extinct:
Regionally extinct:
Côte d'Ivoire; Gambia; Ghana; Togo
Additional data:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Total numbers of the Western Giant Eland probably do not exceed ca. 200 individuals, with most of the surviving animals in Senegal (Planton and Michaux in press).

East (1999) estimated that there are probably more than 15,000 Eastern Giant Eland remaining, with over 12,500 in the CAR. Numbers have increased in CAR, Cameroon and Chad since the 1990s. The numbers that survive in Sudan are unknown, but could be substantial. This suggests a total population of the Eastern Giant Eland in the order of at least 15,000~20,000. Its numbers are probably more or less stable over large areas of its range in Central African Republic and Cameroon where human population densities are very low. However, the Eastern Giant Eland’s overall, long-term population trend is probably gradually downwards (East 1999).
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Giant Eland inhabit woodlands and forested Sudanian to Guinean savannas, never far from hilly/rocky landscapes nor from water (Planton and Michaux in press). Kingdon (1997) considered that it is quite strictly confined to lsoberlinia doka woodland, but recent studies indicate that its range includes areas of Terminalia-Combretum-Afzelia woodland where there is no Isoberlinia, e.g., in parts of Cameroon’s North Province such as Boumedje Hunting Concession (Bro-Jorgensen 1997). Giant Elands feed mostly on leaves, shoots, herbs and fruits (but occasionally on grasses), and will drink daily where water is available (Planton and Michaux in press).

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: The Giant Eland is hunted for food and sport. Trophy hunting quotas have been established in parts of the species range.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The Western Giant Eland has been reduced to very low numbers by factors such as over-hunting for meat and habitat destruction caused by the expansion of human and livestock populations.

The Eastern Giant Eland occurs in much larger numbers and still has extensive areas of available habitat which are almost uninhabited and are not subjected to development pressures, particularly in northern and eastern Central African Republic and south-western Sudan. However, political instability and armed conflict are major barriers to the implementation of effective protection and management over large parts of the eastern subspecies’ remaining range. If these problems are not overcome, the eastern giant eland’s numbers will gradually decline until its survival is eventually threatened and it becomes restricted to a few protected areas.

In the past, Giant Eland have suffered heavy mortality from rinderpest, to which it is said to be more susceptible than any other antelope. Its demise in The Gambia has been attributed primarily to the devastating effects of this disease (Camara 1990). Populations in the Central African region crashed by 60-80% during and after the 1983-1984 rinderpest outbreak, but have almost recovered now (East 1999).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The only reasonably secure population of the Western Giant Eland occurs in Senegal’s Niokolo-Koba National Park and the Faleme Hunting Zone. Major surviving populations of Eastern Giant Eland occur in Faro, Benoue and Bouba Ndjidda N.P. and most of the 27 surrounding hunting concessions in northern Cameroon, and in Bamingui-Bangoran and Manovo-Gounda-St Floris N.P.s and most of the hunting blocks in CAR (East 1999; Planton and Michaux in press).

Effective long-term management of national parks and hunting zones in regions such as Cameroon’s North Province and northern and eastern Central African Republic would ensure the survival of Eastern Giant Eland. Safari hunting is the most likely justification for the long-term preservation of the substantial areas of unmodified savanna woodland which this antelope requires, and sustainable trophy hunting is a key to the Giant Eland’s future. Mature bulls are one of the world’s most prized big game trophies (East 1999).

The survival of the Western Giant Eand depends on continued protection of the Niokolo-Koba population in Senegal. This subspecies’ prospects will remain precarious as long as there is only a single protected population but would be enhanced if additional populations can be protected (East 1999).

Individuals of both subspecies are held in captivity (East 1999; Planton and Michaux in press). A captive breeding group of Western Giant Eland using founders from Niokolo-Koba was established in 2000 in Bandia Reserve, Senegal. There have been 30 births at Bandia between 2000 and 2006 (M. Antonínová and P. Hejcmanová, in Planton and Michaux in press), and a second enclosure has been built in Fathala Reserve, to which a male-only group (9) and a breeding nucleus (1, 3) were translocated in mid-2006 (Antonínová et al. 2006).

Classifications [top]

2. Savanna -> 2.1. Savanna - Dry
1. Forest -> 1.5. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Dry
1. Land/water protection -> 1.1. Site/area protection
2. Land/water management -> 2.1. Site/area management
3. Species management -> 3.1. Species management -> 3.1.1. Harvest management
3. Species management -> 3.2. Species recovery
3. Species management -> 3.3. Species re-introduction -> 3.3.1. Reintroduction

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Conservation sites identified:Yes, over entire range
In-Place Species Management
  Subject to ex-situ conservation:Yes
In-Place Education
1. Residential & commercial development -> 1.1. Housing & urban areas
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.3. Livestock farming & ranching -> 2.3.1. Nomadic grazing
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.3. Livestock farming & ranching -> 2.3.2. Small-holder grazing, ranching or farming
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

5. Biological resource use -> 5.1. Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals -> 5.1.1. Intentional use (species is the target)
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

6. Human intrusions & disturbance -> 6.2. War, civil unrest & military exercises
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.2. Species disturbance

1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
2. Conservation Planning -> 2.3. Harvest & Trade Management Plan
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends

♦  Food - human
 Local : ✓   National : ✓ 

♦  Sport hunting/specimen collecting
 National : ✓  International : ✓ 

Bibliography [top]

Antonínová, M., Hejcmanová, P., Váhala, J., Mojžíšová, L., Akakpo, A. J. B. and Verner, P. H. 2006. Immobilization and transport of Western giant eland (Taurotragus derbianus derbianus) from the Bandia reserve to the Fathala reserve in Senegal. Gazella 33: 75-98.

Bro-Jorgensen, J. 1997. The ecology and behaviour of the giant eland (Tragelaphus derbianus Gray 1847) in the wild. M.Sc. Thesis, University of Copenhagen.

Darroze, S. 2004. Western Giant Eland (Tragelaphus derbianus derbianus) presence confirmed in mali and Guinea. Antelope Survey Update No. 9: November 2004. IUCN/SSC Antelope Specialist Group Report, pp. 21-23. Fondation Internationale pour la Sauvegarde de la Faune, Paris, France.

East, R. (compiler). 1999. African Antelope Database 1998. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.

Kingdon, J. 1997. The Kingdon Field Guide to African Mammals. Academic Press, San Diego, California, USA.

Planton, H. and Michaux, I. 2013. Tragelaphus derbianus. In: J. S. Kingdon and M. Hoffmann (eds), The Mammals of Africa. VI. Pigs, Hippopotamuses, Chevrotain, Giraffes, Deer, and Bovids, Bloomsbury Publishing, London, UK.

Citation: IUCN SSC Antelope Specialist Group. 2008. Tragelaphus derbianus. In: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2008: e.T44172A10867579. . Downloaded on 18 August 2017.
Disclaimer: To make use of this information, please check the <Terms of Use>.
Feedback: If you see any errors or have any questions or suggestions on what is shown on this page, please provide us with feedback so that we can correct or extend the information provided