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Fossil Rim Wildlife Center
Fossil Rim is a wonderful wildlife centre where you can take a scenic drive through 1,500 acres of large pasture land and wooded hills viewing some 1,100 exotic, threatened and endangered animals.
The drive is at your leisure along 9.5 miles of paved roads. Some of the decents from the hillier areas are a little steep. The park was designed to allow a free roaming environment for the animals and birds, most of which will come right up to the car looking for food. Bags of food pallets can be bought when buying your entrance tickets. There are two sizes you can choose from. We tried to keep half for the 2nd part of the drive but really most of the feeding will be done in the first half before you reach the Overlook so be liberal.
Fossil Rim is world renown for its leadership in areas of conservation and education. They have managed to save several endangered species from extinction. They have many educational programs for school children and their internship program is one of the best known in the country.
Open year round 9:00 am - 5:00 pm. Adults $16.95, Seniors $12.95, kids $10.95 (2003)
Park Closes at 7:30 March through October
Park Closes at 5:30 *November through February
Interactive Map http://www.fossilrim.com/visiting/map.php# Interactive Map
This is a beautiful gazelle from Southern Africa. They hae striking facial patterns and their horns are longer than most other antelope species – they can range up to 48 inches. Many African tribal masks have been inspired by the facial markings of the Gemsbok.
These creatures became extinct in the wild in 1972 because of excessive hunting. It is only because of facilities like this around the world that have been able to protect those that have been captive and breed from them. Because of this, they have been reintroduced in Oman and now the numbers are slowly increases.
The Giraffes are beautiful graceful creatures and the tallest living land animals. The males and females live separately at Fossil Rim as they are not in any kind of breeding program. An early explorer thought that the giraffe resembled a cross between a leopard and a camel and name it ‘camelopardalis’ – the scientific name.
Wild American Turkey
Halfway around the park are some roaming wild turkeys. The turkey is one of the most well-known birds in North America. Apparently Benjamin Franklin wanted to make the wild turkey the national bird of the US instead of the Bald Eagle. Of course the turkey becomes even more popular in November and December for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Wild turkeys have dark feathers which help them blend in with their woodland homes. Their throats are bare skin and the head of a turkey can change colour from flat grey to striking shades of red, white, and blue when the bird becomes anxious or excited.
The White Rhino
On your way out of the park you will see the Rhino’s. Rhino is derived from the German word ‘weit’ which describes their wide lips. Unfortunately for centuries, the Rhino has been hunted and killed for their horns which have been used for folk medicines and dagger handles which has caused the white Rhino to become almost extinct on two occasions over the centuries.
Behind the scenes they have the Southern Black Rhino which is endangered in Eastern and Southern Africa. There is less than 2,500 in the world today.
Amongst The Long Grass
You will have to look hard in the long grass behind the fencing to see the cheetahs unless of course you are there at a time when they are up and active. In the warmer weather they spend 85% of their time lounging around in the long grass back from the fence lines.
You will start seeing the Zebra’s on the 2nd half of the tour around the park. My first vision was of one was its massive rear end. The Grevy’s species are the largest and most solitary of the zebra family and is also one of the most endangered because of poaching. The other species of Zebra at the park is the Grants Zebra which normally avoid other species except during feeding at which time they can become aggressive in competing with the other species.
This antelope originates from Northern Africa and is very hardy in terms of being able to adapt to most desert conditions. They rarely need to drink fresh water. They are large hefty animals. In their native land and with the introduction of 4WD’s fewer than 500 Addax are believed to remain in scattered herds.
Have Them Eating Out Of Your Hands
They are pretty hardy creatures and able to withstand great temperature variations and lack of water. Unfortunately in Africa, due to hunting pressures, they are declining. They were extremely friendly and most of them had no problem coming up and eating out of your hand.
We thought these were actually mountain goats but it turns out they are commonly known as Barbary sheep and well suited to steep slopes. Originally from Africa they were introduced to areas of the South West US.
The overlook is the halfway point around the park. Set high up on a hill you can get a fabulous view down the valleys. There is a nature store with gifts, handcrafts from local artists and souvenirs. There is also the café there, Children’s Animal Center and a nature trail which is half a mile and a fairly robust hike along the hillside.
A Young Fallow
Wild herds of fallow deer have been established around the world in many countries. Supposedly they have a prominent Adam’s apple which is supposed to distinguish them from the Axis deer when the antlers are absent – can’t say that I noticed.
At this time of year (Autumn/Fall) you can see the males Red Deers rutting, making their loud bugle noises while they endeavour to collect their harem.
They will also come up to your vehicle for food.
European Red Deer
This particular deer is closely related to the American elk – the largest American deer. The red deer has been eliminated in much of its original area but is protected ion Scotland, Germany and Austria.
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