Barbary Sheep

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Scientific name: Ammotragus lervia

Other common names: Auodad; Waddan; Uaddan; Arui; Arruis; Mouflon À Manchettes

The basics:
Barbary sheep (Auodad) originated in the hills of the Sahara and have inhabited all the major mountains of North Africa. Six subspecies have been described. In the late 1800s, Barbary sheep were introduced into Europe, including Germany and Italy. Around 1900, the first Barbary sheep were transferred to the United States to be placed in zoos. Surplus zoo stock was sold to private parties who eventually released some to the wild in New Mexico in 1950 and in Texas in 1957. This has allowed a wild population to develop in the southwestern United States.

Barbary Sheep are a species of "goat-antelope". A goat-antelope or caprid is any of the species of mostly medium-sized bovids that make up the subfamily Caprinae, part of the Bovidae family of ruminants. The domestic sheep and domestic goat are both part of the goat-antelope group by its widest definition.

Appearance / health:
Barbary Sheep stand 80 to 100 cm (2.6 to 3.3 ft) tall at the shoulder and weigh 40 to 140 kg (88 to 310 lb). They are a sandy-brown color, darkening with age, with a slightly lighter underbelly and a darker line along the back. Upper parts and the outer parts of the legs are a uniform reddish-brown or grayish-brown. There is some shaggy hair on the throat (extending down to the chest in males) and a sparse mane. Their horns have a triangular cross section. The horns curve outwards, backwards then inwards, and reach up to 50 cm (20 in). The horns are smooth, but wrinkled at the base.

Behavior / temperament:
Barbary Sheep are found in arid mountainous areas where they graze and browse grass, bushes and lichens. They are able to obtain all their moisture from food, but if liquid water is available they drink it and wallow in it. Barbary Sheep are crepuscular: active in the early morning and late afternoon and resting in the heat of the day. They are very agile and can achieve a standing jump of over 2 metres (7 ft). Barbary Sheep are very gregarious, and freeze in the presence of danger, probably in order to happen unnoticed to predators. Their main predators in North Africa were the Barbary leopard, the Barbary lion and caracal, but nowadays only humans threaten their populations.

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