All the results of aerial and ground surveys in the Niokolo Koba national park (Dupuy 1970; Galat et al. 1992; East 1998, Chardonnet 1999; Hájek and Verner 2000, Renaud et al. 2006) give the estimation of the Western giant eland population between 100-200 individuals in the wild! In this view we consider the Western giant eland to be an extremely endangered taxon that urgently needs a conservation action.
There are several ways how to save and protect endangered ungulate species:
1. To take complex effective measures for protection of the species’ natural habitat. For to strengthen the protection of the Niokolo Koba NP with its 9 300 km2 more funds and efforts than those at disposal of the Czech development cooperation or SPEFS private donors are necessary.
2. “In situ” breeding, it means an establishment of an enclosure located in the locality of current or original natural distribution. This was one of first goals of our activities, but finally huge logistical difficulties together with insufficient funds stopped our efforts at that time.
3. “Ex situ” breeding, it means keeping and reproducing the animals in an enclosure located outside its original natural distribution. Considering all the prerequisites for successful preservation of our majestic antelope, we adopted this strategy, first in the Bandia reserve and then n the Fathala reserve that offers to animals very similar habitat to its natural one.
Our strategy is to secure population by establishing a sufficient number of breeding herds at several suitable sites in Senegal, namely for to shelter the population against uncontrolled illegal hunting and against various eventual catastrophes or diseases outbreaks. Another aim is to manage the population to retain as high as possible genetic diversity, because animals in the Bandia and Fathala reserve are the only animals of the western sub-species held in captivity in the world