Urial

Ovis orientalis vignei

The urial , also known as the arkars or shapo, is a subspecies group of the wild sheep ''Ovis orientalis''. Noticeable features are the reddish-brown long fur that fades during winter; males are characterized by a black ruff stretching from the neck to the chest and large horns. It is found in western central Asia. The other subspecies group of ''O. orientalis'' is the mouflon . The two groups have often been considered separate species.
Urial  Geotagged,Ovis orientalis arkal,Ovis orientalis vignei,Transcaspian Urial,Urial,Winter

Appearance

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 be up to 100 cm long. The shoulder height of an adult male urial is between 80 and 90 cm .

Naming

The ''vignei'' subspecies group consists of six individual subspecies:

⤷ Afghan Urial or Turkmenian sheep : southern Turkmenistan, eastern Iran, Afghanistan, north Balochistan Pakistan
⤷ Transcaspian Urial : Ustjurt-Plateau and western Kazakhstan
⤷ Blanford Urial or Balochistan Urial : Balochistan are often included in this subspecies.
⤷ Bukhara Urial : Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, mountains around Amu Darya
⤷ Punjab Urial : the provincial animal of the Punjab
⤷ Ladakh Urial : Ladakh and northern Pakistan, Kashmir males have curly horns but the females have flat horns

Distribution

The urial is found in western central Asia from northeastern Iran and western Kazakhstan to Pakistan's Balochistan and Ladakh regions of North India. To the east it is replaced by the bigger argali and to the southwest by the Asiatic mouflon. Its habitat consists of grassy slopes below the timberline. Urials rarely move to the rocky areas of the mountains. For example, in northern Iran they produce hybrids with Asiatic mouflon under natural conditions. Urials feed mainly on grass but are able to eat leaves of trees and bushes if needed.

The conservation status of the urial is threatened as their habitat is perfectly suitable for human development; however the urial population has been recovering in recent years.

The Afghan urial found in Musakhel district in Surghar and Torghar. in 2005-2006 survey by WWF Pakistan shows 145 urials found in Surghar, Srakhowa District Musakhe. Yahay Musakhel ''et al.'' 2006)

Behavior

The mating season begins in September. Rams select four or five ewes, who will give each birth to a lamb after a gestation of five months.

References:

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Status: Vulnerable
EX EW CR EN VU NT LC
Taxonomy
KingdomAnimalia
DivisionChordata
ClassMammalia
OrderArtiodactyla
FamilyBovidae
GenusOvis
SpeciesO. orientalis