The Derby eland (Taurotragus derbianus derbianus) is critically endangered and the largest antelope in the world. In the wild population of its western subspecies, there are not more than 200 individuals, found only in the Niokolo Koba National park, Senegal. The critical conservation status of this subspecies led Czech experts to join forces with Senegalese partners and to launch a conservation program in 2000. The Western Derby eland conservation programme is coordinated by the NGO Derbianus Conservation, a team of researchers and students mainly from Czech University of Life Sciences Prague. The ZOO Dvůr Králové has supported the conservation of Western Derby eland since 2015 and collaborates in conservation actions for the survival of the species.
The ZOO Dvůr Králové supports in particular: wildlife monitoring in the Niokolo Koba National Park in Senegal, environmental education programmes of Senegalese children, and participates in the management of western Derby eland semi-captive herds in nature reserves.
Owing to close Czech-Senegalese collaboration, the number of individuals in the semi-captive population exceeded one hundred in 2017. In the same year the education team of the ZOO Dvůr Králové was joined by Marketa Grúňová, who has participated in Western Derby eland conservation since 2009 and leads its education section. Derbianus Conservation education programmes have already reached more than 1,000 children in Senegal and with the contribution of our zoo these activities are spreading further.