The North Ronaldsays are a rare breed of ancient short tailed Nordic sheep from the Orkney Isles in Scotland.
The sheep are fine boned and relatively small , the ewes for example reaching about 25kg. The ewes have a strong maternal instinct and the breed have a luxurious fleece.
The bones of similar animals have been found at Skara Brae in the Orkney Isles dating from the Bronze Age and genetic studies have demonstrated that the breed is still virtually unchanged from its original genotype.
The North Ronaldsays in the short film “New Life” brought to you by pegasus-animal-healing.com are owned by a couple who have a particular interest and knowledge about conservation ,they kindly invited me to meet some of their flock.
We filmed on a chill Spring afternoon being very well layered in thick jumpers and coats.
The animals featured in New Life are not reared for meat , though some of the flock are occasionally loaned to an adjacent landowner to trim their grass.
Conservation work where the animals are left in peace in as natural surroundings as possible is far removed from the disdain and imbalance which can cause them distress and or extinction. It is the 3 Graces in action Tenderness ,Generosity And Respect.
The North Ronaldsays as a breed are assisted by the charity named the Rare Breed Survival Trust ( RBST) in the UK and these sheep are currently classified as “vulnerable”on the RSBT’s Watch List which is divided into 5 categories :
- At Risk
The RSBT though not an animal rights organization per se have a respect for the preservation of the gene pool of native breeds, mostly though not exclusively farm animals which they concern themselves with.
There is a nexus between caring for the animals and their humane survival alongside us prolific humans and our often excessive demands upon the natural world which can lead to a range of imbalances as we know.
Of course it is not always possible for people to keep farm animal without usage its a matter of humane practices attitudes and balance.
“Turfed out” from pastures in 1832 to conserve grazing land and confined to the shoreline the sheep adapted to grazing on seaweed .
This is what Ruth Dalton Field Officer North Of The Rare Breed Survival Trust Says:
“The”North Ronaldsays are one of the rarest breeds of sheep we look after. uniquely adapted to feed on seaweed on the shores of their island home of North Ronaldsay they have made a remarkable transition to be successfully kept by around 100 dedicated breeders on the mainland. These sheep keepers are important in maintaining a geographical spread of the breed, protecting them in the face of possible disease outbreak”
All Best Wishes Ruth Dalton:
Interestingly conservation work can involve not only rare breed animals but also the protection of animals from illegal harm and exploitation as we have seen.
“New Life” From Wendy Datta
Posted 9th June 2015
Copyright Wendy Datta
All Rights Reserved.