Tuesday, August 19, 2014

East African Eland

The East African eland, also known as Patterson's eland, is one of three subspecies of the common eland. It is found in Ethiopia, Kenya, South Sudan, Uganda and Tanzania. Other subspecies are found in south and southwest Africa. 
Two eland in Ngorongoro Crater. I believe the one on the left is a female and the one on the right a male. Note the fur on forehead and dewlap on the male. Photo by Steven Shuel. 
It is the second largest antelope, after the giant eland (found in West and Central Africa), males weighing up to 2,200 pounds and females 1,320 pounds. Females have a tan coat while the male has a bluish/gray tinge. The coat is smooth, except for a rough mane, and they have torso stripes, markings on their legs, dark garters and a spinal crest. The have horns similar to the bushbuck, with a spiral. The males' horns are slightly shorter and thicker and the females' horns have a tighter spiral. Males also have dense fur on the foreheads and a dewlap (flap of skin that hangs) on their throats. 
Male eland in Nairobi NP.
It is the slowest antelope, but can still reach speeds of 25 mph. They can trot at 14 mph indefinitely and can jump over 8 feet high from a standing start when startled.  

They have been domesticated for meat and milk production in a number of areas, including Russia, Ukraine and England. Their housing is difficult because they can jump so high and because they are so large and strong. They also require large amounts of space. 
Eland in Nairobi NP. 
We saw a couple of eland in Lake Nakuru National Park at a great distance and some other groups in our tour saw a couple of eland in Ngorongoro Crater. When Judy and I hired our guide Stephen for a non-scheduled tour in Nairobi National Park our last scheduled morning in Kenya, I told Stephen my top priority was to see an eland. Nairobi NP is one of the best areas in East Africa to see them. As we were on our way out of the park that morning Stephen spotted one off to our right. We stopped and watched it move gradually west, cross the road, and then continue on west across a large field. This was an "aha" experience for me. It is actually kind of ugly and ungainly looking, but the experience of seeing it at the last minute was magical.  
Eland after crossing the road in Nairobi NP. 


  1. That dewlap is and interesting addition. Kind of a strange creature, isn't it?

  2. Eland milk would be fun to try.