Mouflon sheep

Look out for the mouflon sheep

Many are the ones who have been surprised when suddenly coming across wild sheep, during walks around the island. Like mountain goats, the indigenous mouflon sheep climb the hillside slopes.

Mufflon Sheep is a wild sheep species and a probable ancestor to the domestic sheep. There are a number of different subspecies. In addition to oriental mouflon (Ovis orientalis orientalis) there are, among others, European mouflon (Ovis orientalis musimon), isolated in Sardinia and Corsica. About 50 – 60 wild sheep live on Dyrön, freely among forests and hills.

The mouflon has a reddish brown fur with a darker line and a lighter saddle-shaped drawing over the back and a light underside. The rams have curved horns, up to 65 centimetres long. Some ewes may also have horns, which in that case are considerably shorter, most of the ewes lack horns. The rams are larger than the ewes, with a height of about 90 centimetres, body length up to 130 centimetres and weighing some 50 kilograms. The ewes weigh somewhere around 35 kilograms.

The mouflon sheep originates from Southwest Asia and was found originally in the areas that today constitute the countries of Armenia, Azerbaijan, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Oman, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. In prehistoric times, the range reached as far west as the Balkans.

The habitat consists of shrubs and forests. The mouflon sheep have been introduced by man to many different countries, where they (the sheep) sometimes established in wild flocks, especially in Europe.

This applies, for example, to the European mouflon sheep in Sardinia and Corsica, which were first thought to be a remnant of a larger population that was spread in Europe in prehistoric times. But no mouflon remnants have been found on the surrounding mainland closer than in the Balkans, nor on the two islands before the younger Stone Age. Therefore, it is now considered likely that the European mouflon in fact is an early variant of domestic sheep that the Stone Age man brought with them to the islands, originating from the east.

In Sweden, mouflon has been introduced and kept since the 1930s – partly in enclosures, partly living freely on the west coast and in the landscape of Sörmland (Eastern Sweden).

Source: Wikipedia Mufflonfår