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Exotic Game

Fallow Deer

Scientific Name: Dama Dama
Family group: Cervidae
Age: 12 years
Average shoulder height: .91 m (36”)
Average mass: 68 kg (150 lb)
Habitat: This deer has a remarkable adaptability and can make itself at home in a wide variety of habitats from woodland to mountain ranges..
Diet: Grasses, leaves and fruits.
Breeding: 240 days, with a single fawn (rarely two).
Vocalization: Roar by the bucks as a mating call is heard during the rutting season.

The species is very variable in colour, with four main variants, “common”, “menil”, “melanistic” and “albinistic”. The common form has a brown coat with white mottles that are most pronounced in summer with a much darker coat in the winter. The albinistic is the lightest coloured, almost white; common and menil are darker, and melanistic is very dark, even black (easily confused with the Sika Deer). Most herds consist of the common form but have menil form and melanistic form animals amongst them (the three groups do not stay separate and interbreed readily).
Only bucks have antlers, these are broad and shovel-shaped. They are grazing animals; their preferred habitat is mixed woodland and open grassland. During the rut bucks will spread out and females move between them, at this time of year fallow deer are relatively ungrouped compared to the rest of the year when they try to stay together in groups of up to 150.

Scimitar-Horned Oryx

Scientific Name: Oryx Dammah
Family group: Bovidae
Age: 16 to 18 years
Average shoulder height: 1.25 m (49”)
Average mass: 215 kg (473 lb)
Habitat: Extremely barren areas.
Diet: Grass, and when it can be found, acacia shoots and wild berries.
Breeding: 9 months, with a single young.
Vocalization: Curious cries, something between a growl and a bellow.

The Scimitar Oryx is just over a metre at the shoulder and weighs around two hundred kilograms. Its coat is white with a red-brown chest and black markings on the forehead and down the length of the nose. The horns are long, thin and parallel and curve backwards (like a scimitar) and can reach a metre to a metre and a quarter on both sexes, male and female.
They form herds of mixed sex containing up to seventy animals. Formerly they would gather in groups of several thousand for migration. Scimitar Oryx can survive without water for many weeks, because their kidneys prevent loss of water from urination and they can modify their body temperature to avoid perspiration.

Scimitar Oryx were hunted for their horns, almost to extinction. Where once they occupied the whole Sahara, they are now considered to be extinct in the wild, although there have been unconfirmed sightings in Chad and Niger.
A global captive breeding programme was initiated in the 1960s. In 1996, there were at least 1,250 captive animals held in zoos and parks around the world with a further 2,145 on ranches in Texas. A herd exists in a fenced nature preserve in Tunisia, and is being expanded with plans for reintroduction to the wild in that country.
There was a sighting of 10-15 scimitar oryx in Brewster County, Texas, on April 6, 2008. They likely escaped some time earlier from an exotic game hunting ranch in Texas, but now appear to be doing quite well in the arid environment around Big Bend National Park.

Barbary Sheep

Scientific Name: Ammotragus Lervia
Family group: Bovidae
Age: 13-15 years
Average shoulder height: .97 m (38”)
Average mass: 115 kg (253 lb)
Habitat: Lives in mountain areas which are dry and desolate, with steep ridges and overhanging rocks.
Diet: Tender leaves and young shoots.
Breeding: 6 months,with one or two young.

They are a sandy-brown color, darkening with age, with a slightly lighter underbelly and a darker line on the back. Upperparts and outer legs are uniform reddish-brown or grayish-brown. There is some shaggy hair on the throat (extending down to the chest in males) and a sparse “mane”. Their horns have a triangular cross section. The horns curve outwards, backwards then inwards, and reach up to 50 cm (20 inches). The horns are smooth, but wrinkled at the base.

They obtain all their moisture from food, but if water is available they drink and wallow in it. Barbary Sheep are crepuscular, active in the early morning and late afternoon, resting in the heat of the day. They are very agile and can jump over two metres from a stand-still. Barbary Sheep freeze in the presence of danger. Their main predators in Africa are leopards and caracals.

Himalayan Tahr

Scientific Name: Hemitragus jemlahicus
Family group: Bovidae
Age: 10 years
Average shoulder height: .65-1 m (25”- 40”)
Average mass: 36-90 kg (79-189 lb)
Habitat: Rocky areas, cliffs.
Diet: Grasses, leaves.
Breeding: 7 months, with a single young (rarely two)?

The dense, wooly winter coat is reddish to dark brown and has a thick undercoat.  With their winter coat, males also grow a long, shaggy mane around the neck and shoulders which extends down the front legs.  After the spring molt, the coat is much shorter and lighter in colour.  The legs are relatively short, and the head is proportionally small.  The eyes are large, and the ears are small and pointed.  The horns are triangular in cross-section and are found in both sexes.  They curve upward, backwards, and then inwards, to a maximum length of 45 cm / 18 inches, and are usually larger in males.
Tahrs are three species of large ungulates closely related to the wild goat. The Himalayan Tahr is one of three species of tahr. The others are the Arabian Tahr of Oman and the Nilgiri Tahr of southern India.
Up until recently the three species were believed to be closely related to each other and were placed in one genus, Hemitragus. Molecular genetic studies have proved that the tahrs are not genetically related as thought earlier. Now they are considered as three separate genera; Hemitragus (Himalayan Tahr), Nilgiritragus (Nilgiri Tahr) and Arabitragus (Arabian Tahr).
The Himalayan Tahr (Hermitragus jemlahicus) is found in the Southern Alps of New Zealand where it is hunted recreationally.[1] A small population was also released on Table Mountain in South Africa, but they were later determined to be a ‘pest’ animal by authorities, and most were exterminated (although some rare sightings still occur).
Tahr can still be hunted in South Africa, but on a very small quota.

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