Mouflons are not native to the Netherlands; they originate in Sardinia and Corsica.To increase animal diversity, Anton Kröller imported a group of mouflons in 1921 and released them in the park. The park is currently home to some 200 mouflons.
The mouflons graze on the grasses that grow between the heather, just like their Dutch relatives used to do. If they did not graze here, the heather would be overgrown with grasses and, eventually, trees. As a result, the park's distinctly diverse landscape would disappear.
The males, or rams, have large twisted horns that grow longer and rounder as they age. Some females also have horns, albeit much smaller. Mouflons keep their horns their entire lives.
The animals live in large herds. The park's mouflon population is divided into two sub-populations that, as far as we know, rarely meet. One group, roughly three-quarters of the population, tends to stay near the Bosje van Staf. The other group, consisting of roughly 45 mouflons, can be spotted more often near the Eikenhoutbergen and Start. A third, smaller group of three old rams can be found near the Schuilkelder and the statue of General De Wet at the Otterlose Zand.
During mating season, usually in October but more recently in September, the rams fight for the attention of the ewes. During these fierce battles, they ram their horns together. The blows can often be heard from a great distance. It therefore comes as no surprise that they developed thick skulls. Unlike red deer, mouflons do not keep harems.
Their young are born in February.
|Mid-September to mid-October
|Approximately 20 weeks
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