Saving the Giant Eland in Senegal


At the beginning of the 20th century, the western subspecies of the giant eland occurred in seven African states. Now, it is found in the wild only in Senegal – in the Niokolo-Koba National Park – and numbers around 170 individuals.

Western giant eland Western giant eland

The giant eland (Taurotragus derbianus) is one of the world’s largest antelopes. It occurs in Africa in two subspecies; the Western giant eland (Taurotragus derbianus derbianus) was widespread across almost the whole of West Africa until the beginning of the last century – and, according to estimates, around 1,000 individuals were living there as late as 1990. Today, however, these antelopes live only in Senegal’s Niokolo-Koba National Park, and the subspecies is considered critically endangered – with poaching, cattle grazing, and other human activities mainly to blame. 

In Senegal, the efforts to save the Western giant eland are run by Derbianus CSAW, a Czech NGO attached to the Czech University of Life Sciences in Prague, which in 2000 succeeded in having one male and five females transported from the Niokolo-Koba National Park to the Senegalese Bandia reserve. These individuals laid the foundation of a reserve population kept under human care, which has been looked after by Derbianus CSAW since 2003. Over the years, the population has grown in number from the original six to the current 100. This has made it possible to start establishing and growing viable giant eland populations even in other Senegalese reserves; for example, in the Fathala reserve. In addition to these activities, Derbianus CSAW also pursues other work relevant to antelope conservation, such as scientific research and the education of the local inhabitants.

Support provided by Prague Zoo
The giant eland is not found in any zoological garden in the world. Nevertheless, Prague Zoo participates in its conservation by supporting the activities of Derbianus CSAW, whether in Africa or in the Czech Republic. 

•    Prague Zoo has, for example, paid for the production of educational publications for Senegalese children and teachers, in which they can read about the most important wild animals living in Senegal.

•    In 2011, Prague Zoo sent its own expert to Senegal to accompany an expedition by members of Derbianus CSAW and provide assistance during transfers of giant elands kept under human care to other herds. It also paid for the almost month-long rent and operation of the vehicle used in these transfers.

•    Prague Zoo is involved in the making of the studbook for the Western giant eland, which is kept by Derbianus CSAW.

•    Prague Zoo, along with other Czech zoos, participates in a yearly event entitled ‘A Day with an Antelope’, organized by Derbianus. During this event, zoo visitors can learn about the giant eland and the project to protect this species – and there are also lots of entertaining and educational things for children to do.

Actual Weather

PRAHA Česko Khovd Mongolsko Yaoundé Kamerun Agra Indie Stara Zagora Bulharsko Jáva, Indonésie Ochrana ptáků v Indonésii Luang Prabang Laos