GAME CAPTURE – ELAND

Demographic Capture dosages Tranquillisation dosages
Adult Bulls 13 mg of M9950 mg of Xylazine and50 mg of Azaperone 18–20 mg of Haloperidol
Adult cows 10–12 mg of M9950 mg of Xylazine and50 mg of Azaperone 15–18 mg of Haloperidol
Weaners 8–9 mg of M99 and50 mg of Azaperone 10–12 mg of Haloperidol

 

Characteristics

Body weight:   A large adult bull weighs more than a buffalo bull, weighing in at 900 kg compared with 800 kg for a buffalo bull. Its mass is deceptive owing to its greater length and depth of chest.

Social behaviour:   In the Highveld, herds number 10–50 animals although, at times, as many as 300 will congregate together in the Lowveld. Often weaners are left in the care of one adult female, the “nursery nanny”. This individual is extremely alert and will try anything not to cooperate on a drive, particularly turning into the wind and thus away from the direction of the boma when attempting to get them in.

Habitat:   Savannah woodland and grassland. Eland prefer areas that are more arid.

Mating season: November–January.

Calving season: Eland calves are born in September–October after a gestation period of 270 days.

General Remarks Relating to Capture

Eland are exceptional jumpers and are able to maintain a trot for a considerabledistance. They drive well and are generally responsive to a helicopter.

Weaners,however, can be especially “stupid” on a drive without direction from the nurserycow.Consideration should be given to following the animals in difficult terrain usinghorses or a transmitter dart, to prevent the possibility of losing them once darted. Eland require considerably more Etorphine than any other species, size for size – a bull eland as much as an elephant.

A combination of Etorphine, Azaperone and Xylazine is used for darting. During the induction phase of the drug, the excitable phase is very marked.Xylazine is considered necessary as a muscle relaxant to help in the knockdown qualities of the drug to get the animal past the excitable phase as quickly as possible. Care must be taken not to underdose eland for the same reason. Some operators believe that A3080 may be a better choice as the primary narcotic, quickly bringing the animal to a standstill in 2–3 minutes.

This reduces the chances of it becoming lost.Eland will quickly challenge plastic sheeting when cornered in the capture system, and eland bulls will soon gore each other when confined. Family groups apart from adult bulls in crates do not horn each other and remain fairly docile even without tranquillisation.Large cows and sub-adult bulls may be loaded by lifting them up in the conventional way, or using a four-wheel, flatbed tractor trailer as a step up into the crate. Much thought must be given to the loading of large bulls.

It is nigh impossible with only staff and a cruiser, and requires the use of a sleigh with chains and a Hi-AB crane.In respect to mass capture eland respond well to plastic bomas, provided that the wind is correct and they go directly through the system into the crush. Wherethey turn back and balk at going forward, they will quickly challenge and jump atthe plastic. The plastic must be set as high as possible beyond the first gate to and including the crush, as for the capture of giraffe.

Although the animals do respond well in the crush, not too many should be caught at once. Bulls should preferably be cut out during the drive and caught separately later. Where large groups are to be caught, consideration should be given to separating out suitably sized groups and processing them before catching the next group.

Should a group of bulls be considered, experienced personnel can quickly separate individuals as they enter the crate. Obviously, the crate must be suitably designed to permit this, as there literally are only seconds before the bulls start horning each other.Within the crates eland are amazingly calm and can be sorted relatively easily, but they should be tranquillised nevertheless.

The capture of weaners can be a problem, as most often the nursery cow is separated out at some stage and the weaners driven on their own seem to be completely clueless as to wind or sight of danger, or to handling obstacles such as fences. Ideally, the nursery cow, if she is to be separated, should be left with the group to the last minute before separating her.

Eland bulls, particularly tame ones, are the only animals in the author’s experience that will challenge the drop boma when it is dropped on them; they simply walk through.