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March out with Two Little Lambs

ZooBorns usually eschews domestic breeds but the recent announcement of twin Jacob's four-horned lambs at the Wildlife Conservation Society's Queens Zoo seemed appropriate for spring. Jacob's sheep may be descendants of Norse breeds brought to England by the Vikings during raids over 1,000 years ago.

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Photo credits: Julie Larsen Maher / WCS's Queens Zoo

Watching the video below, ZooBorns co-founders can't help but think it vindicates their moderately crazy 10th grade English teacher and his analysis of Blake's poem The Lamb, "It's exciting to pet the lamb and see him spring about and all that." - Mr. B, 1996

New York, N.Y., March 29, 2010 -- The Wildlife Conservation Society’s Queens Zoo is pleased to announce the arrival of four new Jacob’s four-horned lambs. These adorable fluffy friends were born last week at the zoo and have been delighting visitors ever since.

Two males were born to mom, Phoebe, while her sister, Emma, gave birth to a duo of females. All four cuddly creatures have a coat of downy black-and-white wool, but it’s easy to tell them apart. The males have mostly black wool with spots of white, while the females’ colors are reversed.

Zookeepers report the yet-to-be-named lambs are doing very well, and they are all very active; spending most of their time jumping, running, and exploring their exhibit. Since they are all still nursing, they do not stray too far from their mothers as they continue to discover their new home.

Jacob’s sheep are currently listed as threatened by the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy.  This species has fewer than 1,000 annual registrations in the United States. The WCS Queens Zoo acquired the breed in 2008 as part of a cooperative breeding program designed to help increase awareness about rare domestic breeds.

WCS conducts and participates in similar breeding programs at its facilities and around the world, including the Association of Zoos and Aquariums-administered Species Survival Program that helps maintain genetic diversity among endangered species in captivity.  The organization is also working to save wild sheep and goats – including the massive Marco Polo sheep – in Central Asia.