Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Brand New to the Wildwood Wildlife Park Nursery: Baby Eland "Elle"

Here in Minocqua, we have over a foot of snow on the ground and the temperatures have not reached 35 degrees in weeks. But inside our buildings it's warm and toasty, which is especially important during this time of the year when our nursery is starting to get busy.

We are pleased to introduce one of our first arrivals - Elle, the common eland.

The common eland, also known as the southern eland or eland antelope, is a savannah and plains antelope found in East and Southern Africa. It is the second largest antelope in the world.

The common eland is an herbivore, which means its diet is primarily grasses and leaves. Common elands form herds of up to 500 animals, with individual members remaining in the herd anywhere from several hours to several months. They prefer a wide variety of flowering plants such as savannah, woodlands, and open grasslands and avoids dense forests. It uses loud barks to communicate and warn others of danger. They eat in the morning and evening, rest in the shade when it is hot and remain in sunlight when cold. 

The common eland is the slowest of the antelopes. They are capable of jumping up to 8 feet from a standing start when startled. 

The females are smaller than the males; females can weigh between 750 to 1,000 pounds, an adult male is around 5 feet tall at the shoulder and can weigh up to 1,300 pounds.

Common elands are spiral-horned antelopes; both males and females have these horns. These horns are visible as small buds in newborns and grow rapidly during the first seven months. Can you see the small buds on Elle in the photo on the left? The horns of the male are thicker and shorter than those of the female and a have a tighter spiral. Males use their horns during the rutting season to wrestle and butt heads with rivals, while females use their horns to protect their young from predators. Both males and females use their horns to break off branches that are hard to reach.