Thursday, October 11, 2012

More from Fossil Rim...

I have more photos to share with you:

These are Aoudads.  They look like Big Horn Sheep but come from the deserts of Morocco, western Sahara to Egypt and Sudan.  Young Aoudads can climb rocks within hours of birth.  They continue to decline in their native habitats due to hunting pressures.  Aoudad are also known as Barbary sheep and are the only African wild sheep.  The little cutie in the second picture was born this spring.

This guy looks like a fox but is actually a Maned Wolf native to Eastern Bolivia, Paraguay, Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil where their status is listed as threatened.  Their name comes from the distinctive patch of black fur across their shoulders and neck.  Though termed a wolf, the maned wolf is actually in its own genus and more closely resembles a large red fox.  They are not part of the drive through park, you will need to take a photo tour in order to see the maned wolf.  They use one small corner of their large pen as a toilet - it just happens to be at the only section of the fence the tourists are allowed to approach.  A commentary on what they think of tourists maybe?

The top picture is a male Blackbuck from India and Pakistan, the second picture is a female.  Considered near threatened, adult males are black and white, females and young males are tan and white.  Only the males have horns.  Due to their popularity on hunting ranches, there are more blackbuck in Texas than in their native India.  The creation of protected preserves in India has rescued this animal from almost certain extinction.  The male blackbuck walks the perimeter between his territory and the next male's territory.  They puff up their chests and throw their heads back in order to intimidate each other.  Males try to steal the females from each other and we witnessed lots of chasing of both other males and females who might have been tempted to move to the dark side.

These are Wildebeest (affectionately referred to as Wildeburgers by the staff of Fossil Rim - every predator in Africa prefers to eat them).  They are common in Southern Kenya and Angola to northern South Africa and are not threatened.  Both males and females have horns.  Calves are up and walking within 15 minutes of birth, right at their mother's side.  Adults can be seen forming a circle around the younger members of the herd.  Fossil Rim is home to one of the largest captive herds in the world.

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