Perspectives of the Western giant eland (Taurotragus derbianus derbianus) are very limited and admittedly in critical situation. In the wild, it means only in the Niokolo Koba national park in Senegal last approximately 100-200 individuals remain. There are 54 individuals bred in several enclosures in 2 nature reserves in Senegal with a shepherd care and success. But the fact that there is only one original breeding male represents an imminent problem of inbreeding and future failure. Perspectives of the conservation action are influenced by many factors that it is impossible to predict its next development. 

We recommend:

  • The capture of adequate number of wild individuals in Niokolo Koba NP or in adjacent Falémé hunting area as soon as possible for to ensure population viability in view of gene pool.
  • Establishment of other ex situ breeding sites in Senegal and in other countries. This possibility can be considered and decided only by authorized Senegalese institutions, then to stipulate appropriate conditions, e.g. obligation to participate on future reintroductions, financial and logistic support of SPEFS and DPNS for strengthening the protection in Senegal, etc.
  • To continue in selected breeding strategy and all activities concerned as individual  identification, running observations of animals’ condition, if necessary additional feeding in very dry periods of the year, research of animal ecology or herd composition on the base of studbook data, etc.
  • To educate the local population in necessity and benefits from nature conservation, presence of nature reserve near their villages and sustainable utilization, mainly the young population that is the future of African continent.
  • To exterminate poaching in the Fathala reserve, particularly by education and presentation of possible benefits for the community from natural reserve presence in their area and in Niokolo Koba NP, that will concern enormous effort.
  • A very important aspect of eventual Western giant eland breeding represents an intensive promotion of ecotourism that will lead to improving the infrastructure and job opportunities in all regions of its presence.
  • Complex field research of free ranging Western giant eland in the Niokolo Koba national park – in ecology, behavior, spatial movements, etc., and its natural habitat; using telemetry and radio-tracking methods in particular.
  • To assure Niokolo Koba NP for future generation as the largest and maybe the latest refuge in Western Africa for large mammals.
  • Reintroduction to the wild - to natural environment in the Niokolo Koba NP if the effective protection is assured, is considered the final stage of the conservation programme in estimate within 20-30 years, or in other reserves in Senegal, eventually to Mali and Guinea.

© Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, Faculty of Tropical AgriSciences

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