The Corsican mouflon
At first, the cliff appears eerily silent. But if you listen closely, you will hear Mother Nature murmuring poetry, her gentle verses tenderly caressing each leaf of grass, each creature, each flower... At the foot of a burgeoning apple tree, a mouflon is peacefully chewing on a dandelion it has managed to uproot. Its perfectly curved, spiral horns lend a regal appearance to this striking animal. As it climbs a rock to better overlook the valley, the mouflon is nothing short of superb.
The ancestor of domestic sheep
The mouflon is a wild sheep that is thought to be the ancestor of domestic sheep. The rams are horned and the horns – that are usually symmetrical - curve as they grow. The ewes sometimes bear horns, which tend to be small and asymmetrical, but the vast majority of female mouflon are hornless.
The mouflon usually lives in moutainous areas. It is an adept and sure-footed climber, its hooves are designed to walk on and climb rocks. Nonetheless, it is not quite as agile as the chamois or ibex on snow-covered ground. As a rule mouflon will remain in mid-altitude or lower altitude areas.
The mouflon is Corsica's iconic species. In 1950, uncontrolled hunting very nearly drove the mouflon to extinction. Nowadays, the mouflon is a protected species and hunting mouflon is prohibited. It's main threat lies in the reduction of its habitat owing to forest fires and urban development.
Mouflon live in flocks made up of one ewe, accompanied by the lamb born during the year and the one born the year before. The rams live alone or in small groups. The rut stretches out from October to December. During this time, the ewes will assemble in larger flocks. The rams then join them and fight each other to obtain dominance and mate with the herd. After a gestation period of 5 months, the female gives birth to 1 to 2 lambs.
Did you know that?
The rings on the mouflon's horn are used to determine the animal's age.
When they are 7-8 years old, the male horns form a coil that can measure up to 1,10m!
Discover the European Big 5
The bison, the wolverine, the wolf, the lynx and the brown bear