Western Derby Eland Conservation Programme
To increase the number of western derby elands in Senegal
The derby eland (Taurotragus derbianus) is one of the largest and most beautiful antelopes in the world. Its western sub-species (Taurotragus derbianus derbianus) is also one of the most endangered, classified on the IUCN Red List as Critically Endangered. Probably the last wild population of western derby elands lives in the Niokolo Koba National Park in Senegal, formed by an estimated less than 200 animals. This number is still decreasing due to poaching and habitat loss by cattle grazing impact on vegetation.
The main goal of this project is to stabilise and increase the population number of the western derby eland together with the preservation of the genetic diversity of this population. The only population in semi-captivity is based on a small number of founders (one male and five females), so it is necessary to monitor the relatedness of each newborn calf and thoroughly select individuals for breeding.
We would like to vitalise the increasing population in semi-captivity by capturing a few animals from the wild and extend captive breeding to other places. In the future it will be necessary to repeat the animal census in the Niokolo Koba National Park, analyse the threats and, after their removal, evaluate the possibility to return western derby elands from semi-captivity back into the wild. We also follow other objectives in this project – extension of scientific knowledge about behaviour and ecology of western derby elands and environmental education of local people.
WAZA Conservation Project 12002 is implemented by Derbianus – Czech Society for African Wildlife at the Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, with support provided by Prague Zoo, Pilsen Zoo, Ostrava Zoo, Liberec Zoo and Jihlava Zoo. Other stakeholders involved in the project include the Society for the Protection of Environment and Fauna of Senegal, Directorate of National Parks of Senegal and Ministry of Environment of Senegal.
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