The official website of the EAZA Antelope and Giraffe Taxon Advisory Group (TAG)





















  About us









  About us

Chair: Jens-Ove Heckel, Zoo Landau, Germany; Co-Vice-chairs Sander Hofman, Royal Zoological Society of Antwerp, Belgium & Tania Gilbert, Marwell Wildlife, United Kingdom

Vision: Healthy, viable, free ranging populations of antelopes, giraffes and okapis, ranging through intact ecosystems, valued and cherished both locally and globally.

Mission: To maintain healthy, genetically viable, self-sustaining, captive populations of okapis and a representative cross-section of antelope and giraffe taxa. These populations will be: ambassadors, drawing attention to the plight of these taxa in the wild; a focus for fund-raising for conservation; a source of individuals for re-stocking and reintroduction purposes and a research resource to improve husbandry, welfare and in situ conservation.


The Antelope and Giraffe TAG continues as one of the largest and most complex TAGs representing the approximately 50 species (and approximately 94 taxa) held in European zoos. It is our remit to maintain healthy animals in healthy populations and to keep a representative cross-section of antelope and giraffe taxa, as per our mission statement. The stringent veterinary regulations imposed by the EU means that it is still difficult to obtain animals from outside of the EU, regardless of whether they are part of established managed populations, are new founders for existing populations, or additional species. Currently the TAG holds 11 EEPs and 8 ESBs; the remaining species are actively monitored.


The midyear meeting took place 05. to 06.06.2014 in the context of a first ever joint TAG chairs meeting in Birdpark Avifauna in Alphen a/d Rijn. This turned out to be an excellent opportunity to meet colleagues from the United States and Australia and discuss common matters with them. General sessions were followed by main subject sessions dealing with regional collection planning in the AZA region as well as giving an insight in antelope and giraffe populations and programmes in the Australian region. We were pleased to have a first-hand report about the activities of the Giraffe Conservation Foundation (GCF) and IUCN Giraffe and Okapi specialist group by Julian Fennesey. Relevant research results on dama gazelle and Western derby eland conservation and mortality in ungulates in connection with transport were presented and discussed. We also held a closed meeting to begin regional collection planning for the TAG the development of a new RCP will remain a significant activity for the TAG in the near future.


During the EAZA annual conference in Budapest our TAG meetings took place on 26.09.2014. The open meeting was followed by a closed meeting to continue and expand the work on the RCP. During this meeting we discussed the most appropriate system for evaluating levels of management for TAG species. The open session started off with the intermediate report of the TAG chair and reports of the various TAG’s subgroups. Peter Luptak introduced the numerous participants to a first draft of a TAGs webpage, which in the future will serve as a source of information for TAG members as well as for the interested public and to further promote antelopes and giraffes under intensive management as well as in the wild.


Several EAZA antelope EEPs and ESBs were transferred to new coordinators, including blesbok ESB, roan antelope EEP, Eastern bongo EEP, and addax EEP. The Arabian oryx EEP is currently vacant and the TAG is urgently looking for a new coordinator to manage the programme. A number of studbook evaluations were scheduled for 2014 and the evaluation process was guided by Sander Hofman. Kristine Schad and Laurie Bingaman-Lackey from the EAZA Executive Office were of crucial assistance through conducting Quick Population Assessments (QPAs) for a number of programmes.


The giraffe studbook keeper and giraffe EEP species committee, together with Kristine Schad and Sander Hofman, worked hard on a giraffe management plan. The now finalized document will help to ensure that we will have a long-term viable, well-managed giraffe population within our community.


The TAGs chair and co-vice chairs positioned themselves in interviews and PRs in the case of agreed culling of a giraffe in Copenhagen Zoo for population management reasons and the unfortunate culling

of transferred sitatunga after arrival in South Africa.


Among a long list of various activities of different TAG members it should be mentioned that the TAG was represented at various international meetings e.g. at the annual Sahelo-Sahara Interest Group meeting in Porto, Portugal. The TAGs chair and co-vice chairs in addition to other TAG members are actively involved in the IUCN/SSC Antelope Specialist Group, Giraffe and Okapi Specialist Group, Reintroduction Specialist Group, and Conservation Breeding Specialist Group. In addition, in 2014 Marwell Wildlife began its partnership with the IUCN/SSC to host the ASG Programme Office and Tania Gilbert became the ASG Programme Officer. This maintains and strengthens the existing strong bonds between in situ and ex situ conservation.


TAG members were involved in, and supported, a range of conservation activities for antelope and giraffids, including surveying wild populations and habitats, post-reintroduction monitoring, community education training and engagement, and capacity building.