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Last updated on April 16, 2014 at 1:21 EDT

Urial

The Urial (Ovis vignei), is a medium sized wild sheep and is considered a member of the goat/antelope subfamily. The Urial is also known as the Shapo or Arkhar. The Urial is found in western central Asia from northeastern Iran and western Kazakhstan to Baluchistan and Ladakh. To the east they are displaced by the bigger Argalis and to the southwest by the Asiatic Mouflons. The habitat consists of grassy slopes below the timberline.

Noticeable features are the reddish-brown long fur that will fade during the winter. Males are characterized by a black ruff stretching from the neck to the chest. Urial males have large horns, curling outwards from the top of the head turning in to end somewhere behind the head, females have shorter, compressed horns. The horns of the males may grow to be up 40 inches. The average shoulder height of an adult male Urial lies somewhere between 31 to 35 inches.

Urials rarely move to the rocky areas of the mountains. They feed mainly on grass but are able to eat leaves of trees and bushes if needed. The mating season begins in September. During mating the rams (which live in their own herds when not mating) will select 4-5 ewes who will give birth to one or two lambs after 5 months. The conservation status of the Urial is threatened as their habitat is perfectly suitable for human development, though the Urial population has recovered some over the last few years.

Urial