New Forest Wildlife Park Celebrates Birth of Rare European Mouflon Lambs

April 19, 2024

Mouflon lambs born at New Forest Wildlife Park 2024

The New Forest Wildlife Park is delighted to announce the recent birth of five European mouflon lambs. Arriving on the 5th, 9th and 11th April, these adorable additions are a testament to the park’s dedication to the conservation of this unique wild sheep species.

“We’re incredibly excited to welcome these new mouflon lambs,” says Animal Manager Adam Ford “As one of only two UK collections to showcase mouflon, we play an important role in educating the public about this fascinating species and contributing to their ongoing conservation.”

European mouflon are native to the Mediterranean islands and were introduced across Europe for hunting. Now well-established, they offer a fascinating glimpse into the history of domestic livestock and the delicate balance between introduced species and native ecosystems.

The park’s herd currently consists of one ram, four ewes, and their new lambs. 

Visitors will notice the ram’s impressive curly horns, a sign of maturity and dominance, while the ewes typically have smaller horns or none at all. Mouflon live in small herds which are led by an older ewe, with rams often forming separate groups outside of the October/November rutting season. After a five-month gestation period, ewes give birth to one or two lambs in March/April, nursing them for about six months.

While the IUCN classifies European mouflon as feral, the New Forest Wildlife Park recognises their educational value and actively participates in breeding programs.

Threats like habitat loss, poaching, and disease transmission from domestic livestock highlight the need for ongoing conservation efforts.

The New Forest Wildlife Park champions mouflon conservation, as highlighted by a record-breaking 14 lambs born in April 2022!

“By showcasing mouflon, we can educate our visitors about the challenges facing wild sheep populations and the importance of responsible wildlife management.” explains Keeper Jenn Rawson.

“It’s heartwarming to see our herd expanding and know we’re making a difference.”

The New Forest Wildlife Park invites visitors to come and see these charming new lambs while discovering the importance of mouflon conservation.

For more information visit www.newforestwildlifepark.co.uk

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