Portuguese sheep breeders launch desperate campaign to save ‘Saloia’ bloodlines from extinction

“Adopt a Saloia”. This is the slogan of a new campaign launched by sheep-breeders in the Arrábida region desperate to save the Portuguese ‘saloia’: a ‘milking sheep’ whose numbers are now down to a little more than 2,000.

The hardy Saloia (also coveted for its wool) has been progressively ‘pushed out’ of grazing lands (due to the demand for property construction) and superseded by other more ‘productive’ milking breeds.

Said breeder Francisco Macheta, “four or five years ago there were more than 10,000 Saloia. Today there are not much more than 2,000, the majority in the Alentejo where there is more space for pasture”.

ARCOLSA – an entity made up of the regional association of sheep breeders in Serra da Arrábida, the town council of Palmela, and the parish council of Quinta do Anjo – is now pushing for businesses and citizens to “help preserve the Saloia” by ‘adopting’ one of a special herd it has put together.

The 20-head herd is in the care of Pamela’s Museu do Ovelheiro (Sheep Museum) which allows visitors “contact with the sheep, and the ability to enjoy demonstrations of shearing and milking”.

For more information on this initiative, see the facebook group Quinta Pedagogica Museu do Ovelheiro (click here)

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