Barbary sheep

Ammotragus lervia

TAXONOMY

Ammotragus lervia (Pallas, 1777), Department of Oran, Algeria. OTHER COMMON NAMES

English: Aoudad; French: Aoudad, mouflon a manchettes; German: Mahnenschaf; Spanish: Arrui.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Length 51-65 in (130-165 cm), height 30-44 in (75-112 cm); weight 220-320 lb (100-145 kg) in males and 88-110 lb (40-55 kg) in females. Color is reddish tawny with long white or pale mane on the throat and chest, and tufts on forelegs. Males' horns sweep out, back, then in, and reach a maximum of 33 in (84 cm). Females have shorter horns.

DISTRIBUTION

Mountains and isolated massifs of the Sahara from western Sahara to Egypt and Sudan. Introduced to southwest United States (New Mexico, Texas, California), Spain, and, unsuccessfully, to Mexico.

HABITAT

Rugged, rocky mountains from near sea level to 12,790 ft (3,900 m) in the Atlas Mountains.

BEHAVIOR

Occur alone or in small groups. Behavior in the wild is poorly known.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Feeds on sparse desert vegetation. Vulnerable to prolonged drought.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Polygamous. Males clash heads in fights for dominance for females; mating reportedly takes place throughout the year, with a peak in September-October. Gestation lasts 154-160 days.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Populations have been reduced by indiscriminate hunting and are thought to be declining. Overall regarded as Vulnerable. A. l. ornata (Egypt) is probably Extinct in the Wild.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS

Traditionally hunted for meat, hide, hair, and sinew. ♦

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