Cyprian Wild Sheep
(Ovis orientalis ophion)
Facts about this animal
The Cyprian wild sheep - the national animal of Cyprus - was probably introduced by man from Asia minor to Cyprus about 8’000 to 10’000 years ago. With an average shoulder height of 66 cm, the Cyprus mouflon is the smallest of all wild sheep. There is a clear sexual dimorphism: males (body-weight 30-40 kg) are larger than the females (body-weight 20-30 kg) and have much larger horns, which may reach a length of 71 cm.
It is a very coulourful subspecies. The upper parts are reddish brown and, like in gazelles, the white under parts are separated by a black flank stripe, and there are black markings also on the legs. The very short tail is black on the upper side and white on the lower side. Males have also some black on the neck and, during the mating season, a white saddle.
Newborn lambs weigh about 2 kg.
Did you know?
that the Cyprian wild sheep is the largest terrestrial mammal of Cyprus? In prehistoric times also hippopotami and dwarf elephants lived on the island, but they disapperared about 9.000 years ago. Other indigenous mammals found today include brown hare, red fox, hedgehog, and various kinds of smaller insectivores, bats, and rodents.
|Name (Scientific)||Ovis orientalis ophion|
|Name (English)||Cyprian Wild Sheep|
|Name (French)||Mouflon de Chypre|
|Name (German)||Zyprisches Mufflon|
|Name (Spanish)||Muflón de Chipre|
|Local names||Greek: Kypriakó agrinó|
|CITES Status||Appendix I|
|CMS Status||Not listed|
Photo Copyright by
|Habitat||Open, mountainous, semi-arid, rocky region, open deciduous forest and grassland in hilly areas.|
|Wild population||The Cyprian wild sheep used to be fairly common until, in the 19th century, Cyprus was occupied by the British and far-reaching firearms were imported in large numbers. Within a few decades the population collapsed, and around 1900 only about 20-30 animals survived in the Paphos State Forest in the south-west of the island. Thanks to effective conservation measures, the population has recovered, but nonetheless is decreasing in number.|
|Zoo population||3 reported to ISIS (2005)|
In the Zoo
How this animal should be transported
For air transport, Container Note 73 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.
Find this animal on ZooLex
Photo Copyright by
Why do zoos keep this animal
There are currently no Cyprian wild sheep kept outside of Cyprus.