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Argali or Marco Polo Sheep in zoos

Discussion in 'General Zoo Discussion' started by Jurek7, 19 Dec 2018.

  1. Jurek7

    Jurek7 Well-Known Member

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    I think I am not the only one fascinated by the world's largest wild sheep. The thread is about them in zoos.
    Rather surprisingly, the only two zoos I found are Moscow breeding centre and Berlin Tierpark, which received animals from Moscow.

    It seems strange that it is not more common alive in collections. It occurs in five countries (Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and China), it can be commercially hunted and exported as a trophy, it is spectacular, it raises hunters interest, and its biology is similar to zoo staples lke Mouflon. Other Central Asian animals, from blue sheep to takin, spread in zoos in the last two decades.

    Anbody knows of zoos within native range which keep Marco Polo Sheep?
     
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  2. ThylacineAlive

    ThylacineAlive Well-Known Member

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    I think there are Argali on hunting ranches in the US but I don't know of any in zoos.

    ~Thylo
     
  3. Yi Qi

    Yi Qi Well-Known Member

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    The Cincinnati Zoo plans on getting argali, and plan on mixing them in with their indian elephants in the Elephant Trek of all things.
     
  4. ThylacineAlive

    ThylacineAlive Well-Known Member

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    Where did you hear that? I don't see that working whatsoever.

    ~Thylo
     
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  5. Yi Qi

    Yi Qi Well-Known Member

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    First heard about in in Moebelle's video on the Cincinatti Zoo master plan. See below.

     
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  6. ThylacineAlive

    ThylacineAlive Well-Known Member

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    @Moebelle says Mouflon, not Argali. Also he even says he doubts they can be mixed.

    While I'm happy to see Cincinnati planning a new elephant complex, a 7-acre complex consisting of two elephant yards and various other animal enclosures does not "one of the largest elephant exhibits in the country" make.

    ~Thylo
     
  7. Moebelle

    Moebelle Well-Known Member

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    A later rendering showed that a sheep exhibit would be placed behind the left elephant yard. After the two latest models, there is massive doubt that sheep will be included at all. I also said Mouflon based on someone else's guess - no one knows what the species would be.

    The enclosures combined, excluding the barn, will be in total 4 acres. In one complex, the largest combination of elephant enclosures in the country is 7 acres, the tenth largest is 3.1. Even excluding the additional exhibits, it will in fact be one of the country's largest elephant complexes. Fitting in between Oregon's and Los Angeles's. This of course refers to traditional zoos, not including sanctuaries or safari related parks.
     
    Last edited: 19 Dec 2018
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  8. ThylacineAlive

    ThylacineAlive Well-Known Member

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    My guess would be Urial were planned as they're a program animal. If not then probably Markhor.

    Fair enough then on the complex. not sure how big the barn will be but roughly 2 acres per enclosure is pretty good.

    ~Thylo
     
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  9. Moebelle

    Moebelle Well-Known Member

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    That later rendering I spoke of that revealed the sheep exhibit, the animals appeared to even possibly be Takin. Which would certainly make the most sense. Regardless, this is all most likely now a dead theory.

    I imagine the barn will be roughly double the size of the main viewing deck, which is where the barn will be - under it.
     
  10. ZooBinh

    ZooBinh Well-Known Member

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    The wild sheep/goat exhibit is likely not happening, due to the zoo's 360 exhibit view.
     
  11. Pleistohorse

    Pleistohorse Well-Known Member

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    I wonder if the Catskill Game Farm ever had them; if anyone did (outside of the San Diego or Bronx Zoos) it would be them.
     
  12. FunkyGibbon

    FunkyGibbon Moderator Staff Member

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    I wonder if the mix could work; you could provide rocky outcrops and areas that the sheep could access and the elephants couldn't. An interesting idea anyway.
     
  13. ThylacineAlive

    ThylacineAlive Well-Known Member

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    I've seen Mouflon mixed with a wide variety of other Asian animals before so it just might. I think you'd see the Mouflon on the rocks a lot, though, and I'm not sure if the zoo would want to risk an injury, especially with a breeding bull present.

    ~Thylo
     
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  14. FunkyGibbon

    FunkyGibbon Moderator Staff Member

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    In my head I'm imagining the classic 'goat mountain' exhibit of so many European zoos just plonked into an elephant paddock, so if they did spend all their time on it they wouldn't be any worse off than in most zoos. It would definitely be a risk, but enough zoos seem prepared to take them these days; see the elephant-baboon mix in the Netherlands (Amersfoort? Beekse Bergen?)
     
  15. Sarus Crane

    Sarus Crane Well-Known Member

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    As someone interested in keeping exotics one day, I have heard of crossbreds of different wild sheep on hunting ranches (mostly in Texas) but not of any Marco Polo's to my knowledge. They are indeed a stunning species and I didn't get interested into wild Caprids until recently. Its funny how because you think of a sheep as a "farm animal" you just ignore them for a long time only to realize like cattle that their evolutionary history and diversity of species in the group is amazing and intriguing. I agree that their should be Argali/Marco Polo's in zoos just like how I wish Mountain Nyalas could be as well (a similar case). So yeah... more wild sheep! Baaaaahhh!!!!! Baaaaahhh!!!! :)
     
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  16. Batto

    Batto Well-Known Member

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    For the majority of zoo visitors, as illustrated by Tierpark Berlin, it's "just a (big) sheep" - and there are already several, sometimes even well established, wild sheep species in zoos filling that role in a zoo. Already established sheep species such as the Dall sheep are even currently phased out from European zoos.
    Attempts to establish argalis have so far been hindered by animal losses due to disease, accidents and intraspecific aggression.
    I think that I saw Marco Polo sheep at Beijing Zoo a couple of years ago. Novosibirsk Zoo also kept (keeps?) argalis, and I think that Moscow sent some specimens to a zoo in Slovakia (where they, afaik, all died).
     
    Last edited: 20 Dec 2018
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  17. Kakapo

    Kakapo Well-Known Member

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    Absolutely devastating new!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :(:(:(:( This is my most favourite of the genus and I never saw one in a zoo, nor even in a museum!
     
  18. Batto

    Batto Well-Known Member

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    Well, it's not that novel or surprising if you think about it; just compare the number of past vs. current holding facilities at ZTL. Dall sheep are not endangered, and given the red tape associated with wild ungulates, I doubt that any European zoo would import some new specimens.
     
    Last edited: 21 Dec 2018
  19. Kakapo

    Kakapo Well-Known Member

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    At least they could wait until I get a decent photo of one before phase-out it :D
     
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  20. ThylacineAlive

    ThylacineAlive Well-Known Member

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    Dall Sheep are a wonderful species, and one I never saw until this year at Krefeld Zoo and Plzen Zoo. They are completely phased-out, or nearly so, from American zoos for the same reasons @Batto gave, along with the fact that US zoos do not take much interest in Caprines.

    ~Thylo
     
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