Palanca Negra - A link for all Angolans
The Black Diamond of Angola - Palanca Negra Gigante (Czech Antelope Crow, Latin Hippotragus niger niger) - is an impressive, rare and beautiful antelope that can only be found in Angola. There is no other country that can be proud of this species. It is considered the most beautiful and noblest of all the antelopes in the world. In African mythology, like other antelopes, it symbolizes liveliness, speed, beauty and visual acuity.
In Angola itself, you can see it running freely in only two protected reserves in the province of Malanje, namely the Luando Integral Reserve and the Cangandala National Park.
Palanca flew around the world
This antelope was on the verge of extinction, but thanks to its stubbornness and strength, it survived, which made it a super resilient animal. For this reason, it became a legacy for all Angolans and an international symbol of a country that had been in war for years.
You can find Palanka, for example, in the emblem of the Angolan airline TAAG, thanks to which Palanka, as a drawing on the fuselages, flew around.
The national football team even bears her name "Palancas Negras" and its players wear it proudly in the emblem of their jerseys. But you can also find it on stamps, banknotes and Angolan passports. According to Palanka, a part of Luanda is also named.
An animal for all weathers and discomfort
According to the Angolan Ministry of the Environment, the first Palanka was discovered in 1909 by Frank Varian, a Belgian engineer. However, it was not described until 1916. It is a very hardy and strong animal that will survive any weather and catastrophe, as evidenced by the fact that it survived a war that ravaged the country for twenty-eight years.
In 1938, the sanctuary of Palanca Real was established, which in 1955 was declared a nature reserve "Luando Integral Natural Reserve". The fine for killing this antelope has climbed to $ 100,000 (€ 67,000).
Later, an integral Cangandala Nature Reserve was established in the Cangandala area of Malanje Province, which was declared a national park.
These two protected areas are the only places where you can find this rare animal.
During the war, the parks did not escape devastation and rumors of the extinction of this beautiful antelope began to spread. A project to protect Palanka was launched in 2003, and in 2005, thanks to hidden cameras, rumors of extinction were refuted. Almost twenty years later, Palanka was captured again in photographs in Cangandala National Park. The situation in the Luando Integral Reserve failed to confirm the presence of Palanka due to difficult access, poaching and loss of control over the park. It was estimated that they paid around $ 1.5 million (million euros) for poachers for a live animal. Subsequently, Palanka was declared an endangered species.
The struggle to save them from extinction
In 2009, females were captured in Cangandala National Park and an adult male was captured in Reserva do Luando. They were then taken to a breeding sanctuary that was built on approximately 400 hectares in Cangandala National Park for reproduction.
The capture began on July 24 and was attended by pilot Barney O'Hara and veterinarian Peter Morkel of South Africa, scientists Jeremy Andersen and Richard Estes. They flew in Cangandala National Park and the Luando Integral Reserve. Each individual flight lasted an average of two to four hours. The vet always sat behind the pilot to get the best angle for shooting antelopes. After capture, the animals traveled to the newly built place, which served as an adaptation zone, but also as a quarantine zone.
The animals stayed in this zone for only a few days. After being hit by a sleeping arrow, the veterinarian immediately evaluated the condition of the individual animal in the field, treated the wound after the intervention and decided whether the animal would travel to the adaptation zone or be released.
21 animals were captured - 11 of which have VHF telemetry transmission collars positioned to allow monitoring. Nine females were housed in the Reproductive Shrine. No incidents or injuries were reported during the event. The decision turned out to be the right one and Palanca Negra is now in control and has a great chance of survival.
Thanks to its uniqueness, it has become a symbol of Angola. You can see the carved statue on the shelves of small and large shops and also in all markets.
Palanca Negra - Crow Antelope
In the Czech Republic, you can see the relative Palanca Negra, or the crow antelope (Latin Hippotragus niger niger), for example in the Prague Zoo and in the safari in Dvůr Králové. The mighty antelope Gigante, belongs to the family of rhinoceroses. The male weighs an average of 238 kg and is 116-142 cm tall. Females weigh 220 kg and are slightly smaller. Long, sharp horns in males can reach a length of up to 1.6 meters. They are characterized by a characteristic pattern in the form of a broken white line. Palancy live in herds and the leader always comes last.