Much emphasis, and rightly so, is placed on the exotic plants, such as eucalypt and pine species, and their eradication in South Africa. However, we feel equally important are the free-ranging ungulates that are receiving little, or no, attention - such as Fallow Deer (Dama dama) and Barbary Sheep, or Aoudad, (Ammotragus lervia) in the Karoo. 

Barbary Sheep

We know of one population of Barbary Sheep to the north of Carnarvon in the SKA-Meerkat area that numbers in the hundreds and moves freely across several farms. These are hardy ungulates, of the Saharan massifs and ranges, thus superbly suited to arid Karoo conditions. Other captive and free-ranging populations are known in the Free State and Eastern Cape. These sheep are wary, difficult to approach and compete not only with domestic livestock for grazing but have an unknown impact on natural vegetation and competition with existing wild grazers and browsers, large and small. These sheep have the potential to spread widely throughout the hill ranges of the Karoo. 

Fallow Deer

The Fallow Deer also ranges widely and freely across swathes of the Karoo and parts of the Eastern Cape but it seems they do not thrive as well as the Barbary Sheep under arid conditions. 

We have also heard rumours of the presence of Mouflon (Ovis orientalis) in parts of South Africa, another exotic sheep species, but we have not personally seen evidence of their presence. If they have been released trouble could lie ahead. In parts of Europe they have become a serious pest, damaging vegetation, debarking trees and competing with such indigenous species as Chamois and Alpine Ibex.