Extinction Risk: Critical
Unique Adaptations: Excellent foragers
Why we need them
With a growing world population and a greater strain on the planet's natural resources than ever before, sustainable systems of farming and food production are imperative.
Heritage breeds help to ensure the security of the world's food systems by preserving these genetic traits, and others: disease resistance, survival, fertility, longevity, and maternal instincts.
Hog Island sheep are such excellent foragers that a healthy flock continued to thrive on Hog Island for years after people left to settle on the mainland. They are very self-sufficient and are known for reproductive efficiency and easy lambing. Hog Islands are able to shed their wool each year and their fleece contains a high amount of lanolin to help them dry off quickly in adverse weather conditions.
Here in Piscataway Park, these sheep play a crucial role in the control of invasive plant species. The Foundation's flock helps to clear dangerous vines that threaten to choke out the native trees and shrubs. They are even adapted to eat poison ivy!