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Argali : The Largest Mountain Sheep

Argali is commonly known as wild or mountain sheep which wanders in the high grass lands of Central Asia and Northern Afghanistan and Pakistan. Argali is word of the Mongolian language which means “ram”. The scientific name of this biggest wild sheep is Ovis ammon which is further divided in nine sub species as under ;

Argali - Ovis ammon , the largest sheep on earth

The habitat distribution of all of these Argali species comprises of the Mountain grasslands , Moorland and Mountains of AsiaChina,HimalayasIndian subcontinentRussia. They are highly gregarious which are adapted to great cold, aridity, and very high elevations, as well as sudden rain and snow falls. They occupy the most extreme habitats among wild sheep. They are particularly known for their speedy flights and fast running due to their long legs. Normally they are seen in the herds of 20 to 80 individuals.

Armenian Mouflon, (Ovis ammon gmelini)

Argalis are declared as endangered or threatened species throughout their entire range and the main reason is their habitat loss from overgrazing of domestic sheep and hunting. They are hunted for both their precious meat and unique horns which are also used in the preparation of some traditional medicine. Many efforts are done to preserve this unique animal by the governments with the assistance of many wild life protection organizations.

According to World Wild Life Fund ( WWF ) which has listed Argalis as priority specie for the protection has the main threats coming from humans and human activity. These include:

  • Over-hunting and poaching
  • Competition from introduction of domestic sheep
  • Disease transmission from domestic sheep
  • Habitat loss

The need of the day is to create more awareness among the people for the conservation of this wonderful animal and to safeguard Argali, the largest mountain sheep from complete elimination from the world. The species like Argali are ecologically and culturally very important and the preservation of their natural habitats must be our prior responsibility.

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