The Argali faces particular threat from domesticated herds of sheep as they compete for grazing grounds.
The Argali sheep is related to the universally known domestic sheep. It is approximately the same length as a domestic sheep but it is much taller and heavier than its domesticated relative.
Argali inhabit high altitude regions, usually 3,000-5,000 m. Habitat varies according to geographic location, but includes mountains, steppe valleys and rocky outcrops and open desert.
Their coat ranges from light yellow to darker grey-brown in colour. Face and underparts are lighter.
Argali males also have a whitish neck ruff and a dorsal crest. Whilst females also have horns, the male corkscrew horns are much bigger.
The gestation period is 150-160 days, with litter size usually 1-2 lambs.
Afghanistan, China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Russian Federation, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan
Central and Southern Asian mountains
Temperate Forests, Grasslands and Shrublands; Rocky areas and Cold desert
What are the main threats?
Main threats to Argali sheep come from humans and human activity. These include:
Over-hunting and poaching
Competition from introduction of domestic sheep
Disease transmission from domestic sheep
Argali wild sheep are a priority species. WWF treats priority species as one of the most ecologically, economically and/or culturally important species on our planet. And so we are working to ensure such species can live and thrive in their natural habitats.
What is WWF doing?
WWF works with governments in all range states to ensure adequate protection measures are put into place for the argali wild sheep in an attempt to halt the significant decline in population numbers.
It supports projects which provide alternative livelihoods to local communties and aims to ensure habitat and grazing grounds are protected.
It also provides support to authorities seeking to improve regulation and monitoring of hunting. For example, WWF Mongolia worked with the government to produce a conservation management plan for the argali.