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Mouflon: all the info. From hunting mouflons to breeding Sardinian mouflons. Natural habitat, struggles for the territory and curiosity.
Themouflon (Ovis orientalis) is a kind of wild sheep. There are several subspecies such as the popular Sardinian mouflon(Ovis orientalis musimon).
Themouflonis considered a "rare animal "as it is widespread only in some mountainous and desert regions: with the exception of areas where i mouflons have been introduced artificially, it is estimated that the total population of mouflons (of all subspecies) is around only 40,000 specimens. The classic domestic sheep is descended from the mouflon, bred about 10,000 years ago.
It is believed that themouflonis the ancestral ancestor of all modern domestic sheep breeds. In other words, sheep would descend from this species just as man descends from apes.
Themouflonit measures from 100 to 150 cm in length and can weigh up to 90 kg. THEmale mulfonsare characterized bylarge hornsand, except for the mating season, imale mouflonsthey live in communities separated from females.
The diet of the mouflon is mainly characterized by low grasses. In autumn, coinciding with the mating season, imalesthey begin to fight for the territory on which he will later gather his harem. Contrary to what happens in the territorial fights of other animals, it is important to specify that in the fights of themouflonsonly rarely does one of the contenders end up with serious injuries. Furthermore, the winning male will not perpetuate territorial attitudes and will not carry out new attacks. Indeed, the two former combatants will also end up grazing together.
This behavior has been the subject of study: among the rituals performed bymouflonsthere is really an authentic "peace ceremony" in which the winner lends his neck to the other male who will have to lick it as a sign of friendship or subordination. The attitude that is observed in nature, however, is lacking inzoo.
The most territorial and dominant males, in thezoo, they can repeatedly persecute or attack younger and weaker males. This change in behavior could be linked to the environment: the zoo has limited territorial resources and a dominant male placed in a confined environment could suffer forms of stress such as to attack males of his own species in order to "compete for the limited territory".
Thefemale mouflonit does not carry out territorial wars. In spring and summer, ifemale mouflonsthey live in small groups together with the young specimens and their offspring. This group, in autumn, will become the so-called “harem” of the male who, to “conquer” it, will have to compete with other contending rivals.
Natural and non-natural threats
The main predators that can be considered "enemies of the mouflon" are the wolf and the golden eagle. More than anything else, themouflonfears the expansion of agriculture with the destruction of its natural habitats.
Sometimes it can hunt newborn mouflons. In central Italy, the return of the wolf to Italy is causing concern among the mouflon ranges present in our territory. The reason? The mouflon comes from remote areas where wolves are absent (such as Sardinia) and for this reason it did not have but the need to develop effective techniques to escape predation.
In other habitats (therefore not in the Italian one) among the predators ofmouflonthere is also the bear. Eagles and lynxes only manage to prey on the youngest specimens.
Theremouflon huntingit is a legal practice throughout Europe, but only in selection (like almost all ointments, except wild boar).
Themouflonis considered a difficult prey to hunt, thus, themouflon huntingit is considered a difficult hunting practice. Themouflonit is a very intelligent and unpredictable animal: this is why mouflon hunting is considered "by few".
In Italy, mouflon hunting is allowed in various hunting reserves which have a fair presence of this specimen.
Their normal habitats are steep mountainous woodlands near tree lines. In winter, they migrate to lower altitudes.
In some mountain areas the mouflon has enteredfood competitionwith thechamois generating a sort of imbalance in the ecosystem. Mouflon hunting, in contexts where the chamois is in danger, is considered a “useful” practice to restore balance.
Not everyone knows it but there is an animal calledI amand it is the crossroads (fertile! Not like the mule ...) between theSardinian sheepand themouflon. TheI am, sometimes called incorrectlySardinian mouflon, is bred for hismeatmuch appreciated for tenderness and flavor.
It is clear that themouflonit is a mammal, however another meaning is also linked to this term. We talk aboutmouflonin the cosmetic sector to indicate ablack spotor apimple. It is clear that on this page we have only talked aboutmouflonsintended as animals!