Species / International Ovis

Aoudad or Barbary Sheep

Ammotragus lervia


Free-ranging in parts of Texas, New Mexico, California and Mexico. Also on private properties, mainly in Texas, but also in a number of other U.S. states.


200-250 pounds. The aoudad is a strongly built animal, with a short mane on the neck and shoulders and long, flowing hair on the throat, chest, forelegs (where it forms pantaloons or chaps) and tail. Overall coloration is sandy-brown with the under parts paler.


Native to the desert mountains in the Sahara region of northern Africa. In 1924, aoudad were released on the Hearst Ranch-mostly unfenced-in San Luis Obispo County, California, and have since populated nearby areas, where they have been hunted without legal protection. Introduced in 1950 in the Canadian River Canyon in New Mexico by the state game department, with hunting by drawn permit. Also found in the wild in southeastern New Mexico, mainly as the result of escapes from private enclosures. Occurs in the wild in Palo Duro Canyon south of Amarillo, Texas, as a result of state-sponsored releases, also elsewhere in Texas from private releases. Released in the wild in several places in Mexico. The aoudad is a superb game animal, exceptionally challenging when free-ranging and difficult even where fenced.

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