Photo: Majestic Eland

02Mar
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Our photo of the week is of a majestic eland. This is the largest antelope found at Kariega Game Reserve and weighs between 700 and 1,000 kg (1,500 to 2,200 pounds). Adult males reach up to 1.6 meters at the shoulder and females are slightly smaller. Even though this herbivore is so large, eland can jump up to three meters - a truly majestic sight in the African bush.

Kariega Photo Majestic Eland Antelope

Majestic Eland - Why the Neck Flap?

The strange additional neck flap is called a dewlap and has many different functions. One of the most important is to attract a mate. It has been found that males with a higher testosterone count have larger dewlaps and this seems to attract more females into their harem. Female elands also have dewlaps but these are smaller than males.

The dewlap also helps with thermoregulation, the process that enables a body to maintain its core temperature. With such a large body, overheating in very hot temperatures is a real threat to eland. The flap of skin is used to cool the elands blood as it circulates it through this area. When eland walk their dewlaps move from side to side and the air movement cools their blood temperature.

Kariega Photo Majestic Eland

Why are Majestic Eland Noisy Walkers?

Common elands live on the open plains of southern Africa and can also be found in semi-arid areas. They are able to travel long distances to search for food, especially in dry areas. A large family group of eland may spread out over a large area to feed. They have adapted a very interesting way to keep in contact with the rest of their herd while moving and feeding. Eland are able to click the tendons in their forelegs and create a sharp clicking sound as they walk. This sound can be heard over a long distance. A large territorial male eland will also be able to “mark” his territory just by walking through it as the intensity of the click will communicate his dominance to other eland in the area.

Kariega Photo Majestic Eland Cow Bull

Differences Between Male & Female Eland

There are various differences between male and female common eland (Taurotragus oryx):

Eland Cow Eland Bull
Size 300 - 600 kg / 660 - 1300 lbs 450 - 1000 kg / 990 - 2200 lbs
Horns Slender and long Shorter and thicker
Dewlap Small Larger, grows with age

Did you notice any of these differences while on safari with us at Kariega Game Reserve? We would love to hear about your experiences. Please add your comments below or share them with us via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube

If you captured any photographs or videos of majestic eland and would like to enter them into our 2019 Kariega Facebook Photographic and Video Competition please share them on our Facebook page or email them to kim@kariega.co.za. The competition closes on 30 April 2019 and the prize is a two night stay for two people at our luxury Ukhozi Lodge.