Rachel Crowhurst, Clinton Epps
Latin name: Tragelaphus oryx
The common eland is a spiral-horned, ox-like antelope native to eastern and southern Africa. Large eland may weigh up to 2,200lbs (1 tonne) and have continually growing dewlaps that, in old bulls, may reach to the knees. Although considered stable overall, some populations are in decline due to habitat fragmentation and poaching. In collaboration with researchers from the Sokoine University of Agriculture (Morogoro, Tanzania), Dr. Clinton Epps and Rachel Crowhurst conducted a population genetic study of eland across much of Tanzania. They quantified genetic structure among eight national parks and game reserves, identified landscape features that might limit gene flow across their range, and contrasted this with three other species of varying dispersal capabilities. This information provided managers with baseline estimates of historical connectivity across the landscape and identified regions where measures to preserve gene flow would have the greatest effect.
Did you know? Despite being one of the largest antelope species (males can grow >900kg), eland can easily clear a 6' tall fence. Highly clumped distribution made eland very difficult to survey, but we did manage to find some in Ngorongoro Conservation Area (not one of our study sites, unfortunately). Where? Literally at the end of a rainbow.
Crowhurst 2012 (MSc thesis)