ROYAL OAK, Mich., August 8, 2012 – The latest big thing at the Detroit Zoo is really big: a pair of common elands, the second-largest species of antelope after the giant eland. Half siblings Brad, 4, and Clover, 5, came from the Freeport-McMoran Audubon Species Survival Center in New Orleans.
"It is very exciting to bring the common eland back to the Detroit Zoo after nearly thirty years. This uncommonly beautiful antelope is a great addition to the African Grasslands," said Robert Lessnau, Detroit Zoological Society Curator of Mammals.
Brad and Clover join warthogs Linus, Rebecca and Lilith in their habitat near the Africa Train Station.
The common eland (Taurotragus oryx) stands up to 5 feet tall at the shoulder and can weigh as much as 2,000 pounds. The species has a tan coat with a series of vertical white stripes and distinctive spiraling horns that can reach 3 feet in length. The male has a prominent flap of loose skin below the throat, called a dewlap, which distinguishes it from the female.
The common eland travels in herds of up to 500 and can be found in the grasslands, mountains, sub-deserts and woodland areas of eastern and southern Africa. The species produces a clicking noise that is used as a form of communication and can be heard from a mile away. The sound is the result of tendons and joints rubbing together in the animals' forelegs.