Saturday, 7 April 2012

Ancient

No walk this morning as we needed some shopping, but instead, a few pictures from previous walks.
I have mentioned before, the Highland Cattle which have recently been introduced to the area by the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust as part of their land management scheme.  Well, in addition to these wonderful creatures, the trust have also brought in a small flock of Jacob Sheep to a field near Mapperley Reservoir.  Hiding in the long grass, they were difficult to spot and even more difficult to photograph a few days ago.
This breed of sheep has remained almost unchanged by selective breeding by man for many years.  There is mention of a 'piebald' breed of sheep (probably Jacob or something very like it) from the Middle East dating back three thousand years and genetic investigation would suggest that these animals are indeed directly descended from ancient Asian or African sheep rather than other European breeds.  Not in any great peril in the UK these days by the Rare Breeds Survival Trust, there are thought to be in excess of 3,000 breeding females in the country.
These few have certainly done their bit for the population as there seemed to be at least four lambs laying in the grass.  Lets hope we get some better views in the weeks to come.
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