A herb beast native to Etherea, bred as a common food source for their dragon population.   The boarelk is related to neither boars nor elks, but is actually a type of cattle. It's name came about from its distinctive antler-like horns and tusks. Female boarelks can grow to nearly the height of a man at the shoulder, with enough weight that one wrong step can crush a careless handler's foot. Male boarelks are slightly smaller, and often have double-tipped tusks.    
Domestication and Uses
The humans of Etherea have domesticated and bred large herds of boarelk throughout the Evrani Plain for the purpose of providing a stable food source for the kingdom's dragons. The dragons are encouraged to rotate their feedings between the herds to avoid over-hunting. To help preserve herd numbers, pregnant boarelks are separated from the main herds to forested areas that dragons are asked not to hunt in, while older boarelks that can no longer breed are combined together into a central herd that the dragons are highly encouraged to hunt from. A single boarelk can feed a dragon for up to a week, and Etherea's dragons also hunt wild boarelk and other prey in the domestic herds start to thin.   To preserve the dragons' steadiest food source, it is illegal for humans to kill domestic boarelk unless the beast has contracted an illness that threatens the rest of the herd. For this reason, boarelk antlers and tusks are a more expensive commodity in the kingdom.

Basic Information

Genetics and Reproduction

Boarelk follow a pattern of breeding similar to cows and other cattle, breeding primarily in late spring and summer. Their gestation period is roughly ten months, and usually produce only one calf. Twin calves are rare but possible. The few cases of triplets that have been recorded have all resulted in at least one calf being stillborn. In wild herds, pregnant females and new calves are fiercely protected by the males of the herd. In domestic herds, pregnant females are separated from the rest to keep them from accidentally being targeted by a dragon.

Growth Rate & Stages

Boarelk calves are slightly larger than cow calves. They are born blind, navigating to their mother's udders by smell and sound until sight develops after a month. To protect them from dragons, which are their natural predators, mothers shield newborns in forested areas until they can run fast enough to join the rest of the herd.   Boarelk reach full size at about three years of age, and achieve sexual maturity around four. During breeding season, males compete for the females by locking horns and tusks in a ferocious battle of strength. These fights can last for hours, until one male manages to throw the other to the ground. The winner gets his choice of available females while the loser slinks off to await the next breeding season.   Boarelks live an average of 25-30 years, and able to breed successfully until about 20.
Geographic Distribution


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