Thursday, February 1, 2018

Fossil Rim Wildlife Center, Glen Rose, Texas

We finally made a visit to the Fossil Rim Wildlife Center located here in Glen Rose. The Wildlife Center consists of 1,800 acres with around 1,100 animals that roam freely in large pastures among near-natural conditions. They offer various types of tours, but we opted to drive through ourselves so we could stop and go at our leisure. The large pastures these animals live in enable them to behave, socialize and reproduce similar to the way they would in the wild. Many of the species' populations are dwindling and endangered, so ensuring their survival requires a cooperative effort. The "Gosdin Scenic Drive" is 7.2 miles long and took us about two hours. At the half way point they offer a Children's Animal Center, Nature Store, and Overlook Cafe. 


The Aoudad is found in Northern Africa, especially Morocco and Algeria. They are also known as Barbary Sheep and are the only African wild sheep. Their young can climb rocks within hours of birth. (I love their eyes - golden.) This guy just stood there and stared at us.

Scimitar-Horned Oryx
The Scimitar-Horned Oryx ranges throughout northern Africa. It is extinct in the wild. It is believed to have become extinct in the wild in 1999. In March 2016, Fossil Rim participated in a large-scale reintroduction project, made possible by the Environmental Agency-Abu Dhabi, that returned animals to their native habitat in Chad.

Arabian Oryx
The Arabian Oryx ranges throughout Oman, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, United Arab Emirates and Israel. It became extinct in the wild in 1972. They were successfully reintroduced in Oman in 1982. The population is stable, but poaching is an ongoing problem.

The Addax ranges in an isolated area in Niger, Mauritania and Chad. It is critically endangered. It is the best desert-adapted of all antelopes. It can live most of its life without drinking, instead deriving sufficient moisture from the plants it eats. They are stark white with a distinctive brown "toupee." Fossil Rim has produced over 600 Addax calves since the 1970s.

The Blackbuck's range is in India. Adult males are black or brown, while females and calves are light tan. Only the males have horns, which are ridged and spiraled.

The Emu comes from Australia. It is the second-tallest flightless bird, weighing up to 120 pounds. The bluish skin of the Emu becomes darker or lighter based on mood.

Fallow Deer
Fallow Deer come from Turkey and Europe. These two are females. The males have branched or palmate antlers, which are shaped like an open hand. We did not see any males, only a bunch of females who came running to our truck. Their coloration has a variety of different shades. The color they are born with is the color they retain for life.

Giraffes range in eastern, southern, and central Africa. They are the tallest living land animal. While their hind legs appear shorter, all four legs are almost the same length. A giraffe's tongue is purplish and nearly 18" long. The patterns on giraffes are unique to each individual, much life that of a human fingerprint. I did get one giraffe to come to the truck and eat some pellets out of my hand. They are the only animal that we are allowed to feed with our hands. They were all in a hurry and I could only get a picture of them heading to their destination.

Female Waterbuck
The Waterbuck is from southeastern, central and western Africa. It has an oily, musky secretion that makes it easier for waterbuck to find each other, but it also makes them more vulnerable to lion and hyenas. Waterbuck drink an unusually large amount of water for an antelope, so they never stray too far from a water source. 

European Red Deer
The European Red Deer ranges throughout Europe, southwestern Asia and northern Africa. It closely resembles the American Elk, but are a different subspecies. Males emit a powerful bugling call during mating season that can be heard more than a half-mile away.

The Common Wildebeest ranges in southern Kenya and Angola to northern South Africa. The calves are up and walking at their mother's side within 15 minutes of birth. About 80 to 90 percent of wild calves are born within a 2 or 3-week period. Fossil Rim is home to one of the largest captive herds in the country.

Roan Antelope
The Roan Antelope ranges in central, western and southern Africa. One of the largest African antelope, roan males weigh up to 660 pounds and females up to 615 pounds. Roan are somewhat horse-like in appearance, but they have heavily-ringed horns that curve back away from the head.

The Ostrich ranges in southern, central and western Africa. The world's largest living bird, the flightless ostrich uses its wings mainly for communication, courtship displays and helping to turn or brake when running. They can run 45 mph. Ostriches do not bury their heads in the sand. This guy was very forward and kept trying to stick his head in the truck trying to get food pellets. 

This actually called Hartmann's Mountain Zebra. It ranges in Namibia and South Africa. Fossil Rim is one of the few U.S. facilities to house these zebras. The Hartmann's variety has no belly stripes. If a standing zebra is observed with its head hanging low and ears drooping, it's probably sleeping.

They have a few Cheetahs, but they are behind a huge fenced enclosure, so the only picture I could get was behind the fence. The Cheetah range in southern, western and eastern African, and Iran. Its top speed is 70 mph. Blunt, semi-retractable claws grip the ground like cleats for traction, while the long muscular tail acts as a stabilizer during a chase. Cheetahs are completely air borne almost half of their running time.

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