Eland

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Photographed in situ [1]

Another shy antelope, the common eland (Taurotragus oryx). Like beisa oryx, we most easily spot eland on night drives, where they are dark large figures running away from our vehicle. Eland have a large geographical range in eastern and southern Africa. Here in Kenya we are near the northernmost tip of their contiguous distribution, with the exception of a disjunct set of populations in South Sudan and Ethiopia. Elands are massive creatures, with males attaining just under a ton in weight. Just out of the frame in this image there was a large gray male hidden behind dense vegetation. The size difference between that individual and the females was so dramatic that I thought it was a different animal entirely. Eland herds can be composed of more than several hundred individuals. Like other herbivorous animals in the African savanna, when approached by a predator, males will assume positions at the front of the herd to shield pregnant females and juveniles. Eland prefer cooler times of the day to forage, and in some hotter regions they have more of a nocturnal lifestyle. With the onset of rains, I think eland and other megafauna have been encouraged more to come out during cooler times of the day, when the breeze makes the temperature significantly more tolerable.

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Photographed after pursuit [3]
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Photographed in situ [1]

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