Capture in the Niokolo Koba NP: In May 1999, the SPEFS and DPNS organized the capture of Western giant eland in Niokolo Koba NP. However antelopes did not come close enough to be caught, so at least 2 females have been radio collared. Thanks to these collars it was possible in 2000, to capture a group of Western giant eland. Nine Western giant eland (1 male, 8 females) were caught and transported to the Bandia reserve.
First breeding herd establishment: SPEFS created the first breeding herd of Western giant eland in the world in the Bandia reserve. The animals were placed in a special separated enclosure and the number of breeding herd was fixed on 6 individuals (1 male, 5 females).
Aerial census in the Niokolo Koba NP: Czech University of Life Sciences in Prague carried out the aerial and ground survey of large mammals in the Niokolo Koba national park and adjacent Falemé hunting area that brought crucial results for further project orientations and strategies. Only less than 150 individuals of Western giant eland were estimated in the national park.
Workshop on antelope conservation and breeding: Czech University of Life Sciences in Prague organized the workshop in October 2001 in Prague for the Senegalese partners pointed on “Experience in Breeding of African Antelopes” attended by Col. Mamadou Demba Ba, the director of the Senegalese national parks, Cheikh Awa Balla Fall, an adviser to the minister of environment, and Babacar N‘Daw, the director of the Senegalese minister of environment’s cabinet. The Senegalese partners were acquainted with the success of farm breeding of Common eland antelopes in the Czech Republic under the administration of the CULSP and with the breeding of various species of African ungulates in Czech zoos.
The first successful reproduction in Bandia Reserve: The first 2 females were born in Bandia reserve to “mothers” Dalaba and Tamba – 3 years old females of Western giant eland. It started the chain of successful reproductions in following years.
Individual identification: The basis of good population management is to know the individual animals, including their origins and progeny. The first individual identification in the breeding herd in the Bandia reserve occurred not until 2003. Our Belgian co-worker Xavier Vincke carried out the basic identification of the original herd and first born females and we have supplemented the identification of the offspring born following November 2003. It remains one generation of 5 new born calves without proper identification and that have to be completed by DNA analysis. Since that time, the continuous monitoring of all kinship has been running till now. The identification is carried out on the basis of direct observations of animals and suckling and the female’s maternal behaviour to the offspring.
Studbook: On the base of field identifications of each individual in the captive population and their kinship the identification cards were created. These served for the first complex studbook creation in 2008 and 2009.
Breeding strategy: CULSP proposed the conservation and breeding strategy for the Western Giant eland in Senegal in the both of available reserves. In cooperation with SPEFS and DPNS these propositions were accepted and are realized by financial support of Czech Aid Development Cooperation and SPEFS.
Ecological research: Scientific research in the Niokolo Koba NP, Bandia and Fathala reserves by principal investigators from CULSP Institute of Tropic and Subtropics was started and followed up in 2004 – 2008 by research project of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic (IAA 6093404). Research interest….
The second breeding herd creation: In 2006 we succeeded to create a new breeding herd in the Bandia reserve composed of 4 individuals from descendants of original herd. The individuals were carefully selected on the base of studbook data to ensure maximum possible genetic distance.
Adaptation of animals to new environment: In 2004, a new separated enclosure in the Fathala reserve was constructed due to support of Czech Aid Development Cooperation. The first Western giant eland were introduced there in 2006. Nine males showed a good ability of adaptation to new environment. In 2008 they were released to 1000 ha enclosure with other antelope species. Therefore, you can see them while visiting the Fathala reserve.
The third breeding herd creation: In 2008, a new herd of 5 individuals (1,5) from the Bandia reserve was created from descendants of original herd and translocated to the Fathala reserve to separated enclosure. We are waiting for first calves in the Fathala reserve now.
The fourth breeding herd creation: In February 2009 we have created the fourth breeding herd in the Bandia reserve. The herd is composed from 1 male and 5 females.
Educational exposition: In 2008 the Educational exposition in the Fathala reserve was constructed within the frame of the Czech Aid Development Cooperation.. The centre serves for educational purposes of public - children, locals and visitors. You can learn there about the wildlife and environmental conservation in Senegal. You can find there also a small “shop” with local products to strengthen the locals’ income.
Children educational programmes: In 2008 Czech University of Life Sciences in Prague has started to organize special educational programmes for school children from villages surrounding the Fathala reserve and the Delta du Saloum NP. The programmes are held in schools (theoretic parts) and also directly in the reserve (practice part). Children have unique opportunity to see the wild animals in their natural environment, to learn about the necessity and usefulness of nature protection and about the advantages of sustainable nature resources use. The programmes were repeated in 2009 and together more than 500 children participated. A small textbook "Protegeons notre nature!, 2008" was prepared by team members and given to all chidren.
Guard and local’s educational programmes: In 2008 Czech University of Life Sciences in Prague has started educational programmes for local’s from the villages surrounding the Fathala reserve and the Delta du Saloum NP and reserve/park staff. These are oriented on necessity and advantages of nature protection and sustainable natural resources utilization, and extended about wildlife breeding and ecotourism. Programmes continued in 2009 and more than 130 adults passed.
Ecotourism promotion: In 2008 SPEFS with a support of CULSP has started massive promotion of the Fathala reserve to attract more tourists to the area. SPEFS contacted several tourist agencies from Senegal and Gambia and CULSP developed the leaflets. SPEFS plan to construct the restaurant and the accommodation for tourist in the reserve, for to offer them acceptable environment during their visit. Ecotourism take also a part of all educational programmes of local’s to introduce them the possible benefits from the nature reserve.
Educational and research centre: In 2009 Czech University of Life Sciences in Prague together with SPEFS constructed an educational and research centre in the Fathala reserve to conduct more educational programmes for locals from more distant areas. Such centre will serve as the base for national and international researchers during their research activities in the reserve.
Quarantine camp: In 2009 Czech University of Life Sciences in Prague together with SPEFS constructed quarantine camp in the Fathala reserve. It serves for ill or injured animals, especially Western giant elands as the numbers in the reserve increase. Also it will be used as help during animal translocations.