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VÁCLAVOVÁ, L. & ANDĚRA, M. (2007)

Historie chovu a výskytu paovce hřivnaté (Ammotragus lervia) v České republice.
History of keeping and occurrence of the Barbary Sheep (Ammotragus lervia) in the Czech Republic.

Lynx (Praha), n. s., 38: 73–82 (2007). ISSN 0024–7774.

Summary:

In the Czech Republic, Barbary sheep have been kept without interruption since the 1940s. The first animals were imported by W. HAGENBECK to the Prague Zoo in 1935–1936. The greatest development of the Barbary sheep breeding occurred in the 1980s, at which time the Barbary sheep were bred in 9 of the 15 zoos in the Czech Republic, and their total number exceeded 100 head annually (Fig. 1). Thereafter, by the mid-1990s, the number decreased, varying between 33 and 54 head since 1995. In recent years, Barbary sheep have been bred in only four zoos in this country, viz. in Brno, Dvůr Králové nad Labem, Hodonín, and Prague, the latter being the only one that keeps a rather numerous herd. During the past 22 years (1984–2006), with exact evidence of the breeding, 388 births of young were recorded (mean, 17.7 births / year, range 4–38 births / year), yielding a total of 494 young (i.e. 1.3 young per parturition on average). In the period mentioned, the percentage of stillborn young averaged 6.6%, and 55.1% of young survived the 1st year of life on average (Table 1). In captivity, the Barbary sheep show distinct seasonality in breeding: while the young are born throughout the year (except in October when not a single parturition was recorded), the absolute majority of parturitions (86.7%) occurring in late winter and early spring (February to May, Fig. 2). In the 1970s, Barbary sheep several times escaped from within the Plzeň Zoo and, as a result, a free-living population developed (1984–1987). This population appeared to be very vital, capable of reproducing every year and finally divided into several groups which stayed in the areas of several hunting grounds west of Plzeň in the area limited by Road E49 (from Plzeň to Karlovy Vary), the stream of the Mže River, the Hracholusky Dam Reservoir, and the valley of the Úterský Brook (district of Plzeň-sever). The occurrence of the Barbary sheep was recorded in 5 mapping quadrats (6044, 6144, 6145, 6245, 6246), corresponding to 0.8% of the territory of the Czech Republic (Fig. 3). According to unsubstantiated reports, in the early 1990s the population numbered some 47 head, young less than two years of age accounting for over two thirds accounting for that number. In 1991 a decision was reached to completely remove the Barbary sheep from the wild. The last concrete evidence of their occurrence was a female shot in the hunting ground of the Hunters Association at Pernarec in August 1994. The Barbary sheep living in the wild mostly stayed in steep slope terrain locally with rock formations, lying at 380–420 m a. s. l. and mostly grown with secondary young pine-oak woodland (Figs. 4, 5). The animals were rather tame and aggressive at first, but later they gradually adopted the behavioural responses of free-living game. Judging from the occurrence of young, the population reproduced throughout the calendar year. Two shot specimens were subject to epizootological examinations, supplemented by parasitological faecal analyses that revealed the presence of common species of parasites infesting both free-living and domestic ruminants. The occurrence of the Barbary sheep, later recorded in the area to the NE of Plzeň (1999–2000), was connected with several individuals that escaped from the newly established game sanctuary at the boundary between the districts of Rokycany and Rakovník.

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