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Karakul Sheep
A Rare Breed of Middle Eastern Origin
Released from quarantine in New Zealand in the mid-1990s were two sheep breeds – the Karakul and the Awassi, representatives of fat-tailed (and fat-rumped) sheep characteristic of the Middle East as well as southern Asia and North Africa (although they were found as far south as the African Cape by the seventeenth century). As the general name implies, they are distinguished by an accumulation of fat in the tail and around the rump which evolved as a store of food necessary for survival in a harsh, drought-prone environment. Descriptions of such sheep can be found in the earliest records of...
Rate:  (3.6)
Location: Sheeps
Dorper Sheep
A Rare Breed of South African Origin
An extremely recent arrival from South Africa is the Dorper, billed as the ultimate mutton breed. Hardy and adaptable to a wide range of conditions, it is noted for its fertility – and like the » Dorset Horn which was one of its progenitors, it can lamb twice yearly, producing lambs with an extremely fast growth rate. It is also possessed of a self-shedding fleece. Dorpers were developed in South Africa in the 1950s and come in two varieties – the black-headed (Dorset Horn x Persian) and white-headed (Dorset Horn x van Rooey). Embryos of purebred Dorpers were imported from Australia in Febr...
Rate:  (4)
Location: Sheeps
Dohne Sheep
A Rare Breed of South African Origin
The Dohne, sometimes called the ‘Mutton Merino’ is said to have achieved the ‘holy grail’ of producing fast-growing lambs for slaughter, combined with the highest quality fine Merino wool. Developed in South Africa, it arrived in New Zealand in 1998. Its numbers in New Zealand can probably be counted in dozens at the present time, but it is already noted for its hardiness and adaptability. As well as being kept as a pure breed, the Dohne will also be used to improve traditional breeds such as the Corriedale. (The Dohne should not be confused with the SAMM, or South African Mutton Merino, wh...
Rate:  (3.4)
Location: Sheeps
Baboon
Common name applied to certain large African monkeys and sometimes to the closely related gelada. Baboons generally are adapted to life on the ground and avoid forests; they range in large herds, called troops, over rocky, open lands and wooded areas of Africa and Arabia. Powerful and aggressive animals about the size of a large dog, baboons have strong, elongated jaws, large cheek pouches in which they store food, and eyes close together. They have overhanging brows and strong limbs. Baboons can distinguish colors and have a keen sense of smell. They have large, often brightly colored, hai...
Rate:  (3.7)
Location: Monkeys
African elephant (Loxodonta africana)
Popular and disputed like no other animal
Looking at an African elephant the first thing that becomes obvious is its huge size: African elephants are the largest mammals living on solid ground. They reach lengths up to 7,5 m and weights up to 7500 kg. Other characteristics are their large ears, the strong legs ressembling columns, the tusks, worn by males as well as females, and the trunk, of course. The trunk is kind of a multi-purpose tool. It is used to carry food and water to the mouth, to scent, to grope for things and as a tool to move things. It can also be used as a weapon.
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Patas monkey
Racing guenons of the African savannahs
Monkeys are regarded as very skilful and agile when it comes to climbing trees, but being very fast runners surely is not one of their main characteristics. But - as always - there are exceptions from the rule in this case too. One of these exceptions is the Patas monkey, the speed-record-holder among all apes. It reaches speeds of more than 50 km/h in not more than three seconds. Patas monkeys are related to guenons. They have long and strong legs and relatively short feet and toes - characteristics, which identify them as fast sprinters. Climbing trees is not their ambition - they are adapte...
Rate:  (3.3)
Location: Monkeys
Vicuna
The stormproof camel of the Andes
Camels inhabiting the Andes in South America? Sounds quite surprising! Thinking of camels, the One-humped camel or Dromedary (Camelus dromedarius) and the Two-humped camel or Bactrian camel (Camelus ferus) from the African and Asian deserts come to one's mind. But these tall camel species have close relatives in South America - the smaller Llamas or South American camels. This group consists of just two species too: the Guanaco (Lama guanacoë), the wild ancestor of the domestic Llama and Alpaca, and the even smaller and daintier Vicuna (Lama vicugna). Reaching a length of about 1,5 m,...
Rate:  (4.3)
African Spurred Tortoise (Geochelone sulcata)
The African Spurred Tortoise (Geochelone sulcata) is a species of tortoise which inhabits the southern edge of the Sahara desert, in northern Africa. Their diet provides them with water, and they coat their skin with mud when available to cool off. When mud wallows are not available, they retreat to cooler burrows. Spurred tortoises are important to deserts because their burrows provide shelter for other animals. They do not hibernate, like many other types of tortoises, due to their natural environment being so close to the equator. They love to dig, and make very long burrows, often much dam...
Rate:  (4.1)
Location: Turtles
"Telepathic" Parrot Sparks Rethink
A parrot with a 950-word vocabulary, a sense of humour and alleged telepathic powers is forcing a rethink of the scope for animals and humans to communicate. The 6-year-old captive-bred African grey called N'kisi is one of the most advanced users of human language in the animal world. The bird uses words in context, with past, present and future verb tenses. And, like small children, it resorts to creativity to describe new ideas - for instance saying "flied" for flew and inventing the phrase "pretty smell medicine" to indicate the aromatherapy oils used by his owner, a New York-based a...
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Location: Birds & Bats
A Talk with Irene Pepperberg [Excerpt]
One of my students was cleaning up the laboratory; we recycle whatever we can, so she was collecting all the empty bottles, throwing them in a bin, separating out the caps and putting them on the counter where Griffin, an African grey parrot, was sitting. She called me over and said, "You told me that parrots are destructive foragers and that they don't really put things together, so come here and take a look." There was Griffin, taking smaller caps and putting them into bigger caps, then picking up the pairs and throwing them off the side of the counter. This incident occurred at about...
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Location: Birds & Bats
Rhodesian Ridgeback (African lion hound)
When European Boer settlers arrived in South Africa in the 16th and 17th centuries, they brought with them such breeds as the mastiff, Great Dane, bloodhound, pointer, staghound and greyhound, among others. These settlers needed a dog that could withstand both hot and cold temperatures, limited water and rough bush, while performing the duties of guard dog and hunting dog. By breeding their European dogs with native Hottentot tribal hunting dogs (which were distinguished by a ridge of hair growing in the opposite direction along the top of their back) they produced just such a dog.
Rate:  (4)
Turkish Angora
No one is really sure where or how the Turkish Angora originated. Often recounted is the theory that the Angora developed from the longhaired Pallas cat (Felis manul), an Asian wildcat about the size of the domestic, but this is doubtful. The Pallas has fundamental differences from the domestic feline and, unlike today’s affectionate Angoras, is virtually untamable. It is likely that the Turkish Angora developed from the African wildcat, like all other domestic cats. Possibly some crossbreeding occurred between the two.
Rate:  (3.8)
African Wildcat (Felis silvestris libyca)
Order: Carnivora, Family: Felidae
Ethiopian: Felis silvestris libyca is found throughout Africa except for the great deserts and the equatorial rainforests. It has the ability to tolerate a broad range of habitats, including coniferous forest, brushland, and rocky outcrops. It prefers areas where nesting birds and small mammals live, often living in the confines of grasslands and waterways, where its prey is most abundant.
Rate:  (4.6)
Location: Big Cats
High-Tech Bugs
Bugs are and will continue to play a big role in the development of future human technology: Looking for a great new air-conditioning system that doesn't require power to run? Some African termite species build huge mounds of clay and dirt especially for that purpose. Their invention is millions of years old and has stood the test of time.
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Red Lechwe - A Lion's Quarry
By Jason Robey
The Okavango Delta, a rich mosaic of islands and waterways, hosts many of the same wildlife species that live in Africa's dry savannas. Elephants and African buffaloes find ample space in the delta's sprawling flood plains, while hippopotamuses lounge in the many lakes and rivers. As impressive as they are to us, these African giants are far less interesting to lions in the region. It's the slighter herbivores, like zebras and antelopes, which have drawn the great felines to the delta in large numbers.
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Total results: 15