All You Need To Know About the Mongolian Argali

Argali is a wild mountain sheep of species name Ovis ammon. The Mongolian word for ram is Argali. It is found on the Himalayas, Altai Mountains, Tibet and the western East Asia highlands. They are often found in the various mountainous regions, there are many subspecies of the argali’s as well (up to 9)

The Weight and Length of the Argali

mongolian argali

Argali males are larger in size then the females, the argali male is of the height eighty five to one hundred and thirty five centimetres, and in length it is one hundred and thirty six centimetres to two hundred centimetres.

The female known as the ewe is smaller and weight less, like around ninety five to hundred and twenty pounds, while the ram or male argali is two hundred and fourteen pounds to seven hundred and twenty three pounds (which is ninety seven to three hundred and twenty eight kilograms).

The Italian Marco polo

The maximum mass reported is of three hundred and fifty six kilograms (which is seven hundred and eighty five pounds). The weight of the females is one third times lesser then the males argali. Both the sexes have horns present, but the male argali’s have longer horns.

Italian Marco Polo sheep

The largest race reported is of Pamir Argali, which was described by a traveller, the Italian Marco polo, who travelled in the thirteenth century. The Marco polo sheep’s can have horns of a length of six feet. Whereas the Siberian sheep’s have horns lesser in length and are thicker in width.

The Coat of The Rams

The nuptial coats of the rams differ according to the subspecies, due to the presence of different tail length, neck hair length, rump patches shapes and sizes, pelage colour. 

Rams mongolia

Before November and December, the coat grows. With the age of the rams, winter and summer coats differ.

Argali’s are fast runners

Argali’s are fast runners, yet the males have higher rate of predation, as they stay on lowlands for the food, reportedly having a life expectancy of up to 8 years maximum, the female sand the younger ones, climb steep ridges and cliffs.  Argali’s have vision which is superlative, and often escape from other animals by running.

If it’s not for the mating part, the rams live in separate herds and so does the ewes. Argali’s can manage themselves well in raining, snowy climate, in highly elevated extremely cold areas due to being very adaptive to cooler atmosphere. Among the other wild sheep’s argali’s live in extreme conditions.

The Mating Season

During the mating seasons, harems are herded by males. Or otherwise they replicate the behaviour of bighorn sheep of America very similar. After a period of nine months young argali’s are born.

Up to nine subspecies of argali’s are discovered. Like the Marco polo argali, the gobi argali, the severtzov argali, the Kara tau argali, the north china argali, the Karaganda argali, the tian shan argali, Altai argali and the Tibetan argali.

They are found in Uzbekistan, southern Siberia, Tibetan plateau, northern china, Mongolia, southern Pakistani mountains and northern Indian mountains.

The Argali’s are Widely Threatened

The argali species are widely threatened as they are hunted for trophies by the hunters, the argali’s are extremely desired by the hunters due to its meat and horns, and they are also used in the preparation of various medicines in China, which has led to an issue to the argali’s getting extinct. Often due to poaching, hunting and getting killed by other predators.

It is administered as an endangered species in Azaad Kashmir (Pakistan administered Kashmir).

The killing of the endangered argali’s have resulted in an outrage and the government have taken measures to protect the argali’s and have offered permits (which are limited) for hunting in the Mongolia, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.

Known As the Most Majestic Species

The Altai argali, the largest wild sheep species, is one of the most majestic species that is known in the world. Known and which are most popular for their massive, spiralling horns that can easily grow up to six feet long and they alone may weigh 59 lbs (27 kg), the argali sheep is reflected by majority of the people in Altai to be a sacred and a holy symbol and national treasure that Mongolia possesses.

The name that is given to this sheep the “argali” also means “wild sheep” in the language of Mongolia. The Altai argali is one of nine categories of Ovis ammon, all of which are known to be as near threatened and lessening in population on the Red List of Threatened Species which is preserved by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

What are the biggest threats faced by the Argalis?

The climate is very harsh in Mongolia and Russia. Therefore not much habitat can survive here in this region. The rising competition with domestic livestock, the developmebt of infrastructure that is being taken in most of the places as well as stealing and over hunting, these are the most severe threats that are faced by the Argali.

The sheep are striking to trophy hunters and poachers who are seeking to sell derivatives in the Asian medicinal market to earn money.

They are also an important prey species for wild predators that also call the Altai markets their homes, including wolves and snow leopards.

What is being done to protect them?

Altaisky Federal Nature Reserve, Ubsunurskaya Basin Nature Reserve, Sailyugemsky National Park, Tavan Bodg National Park, and Ikh Nart Nature Reserve staff, researchers, and conservationists in Russian and Mongolian Altai all are working independently and jointly to study Altai argali to protect this endangered species.

They address temporary threats and develop longstanding conservation plans. Together, they observe and document all types of argali movements, population dynamics, and reproductive success in order to save them. They also work together on collecting data on plundering and other various kinds of threats.