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Meet the Sheep : Afghan Urial
Afghan Urial

Ovis vignei cycloceros

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 1 meter. The average shoulder height of an adult male Urial lies somewhere between 80 and 90 centimeters.

The Urial is found in western central Asia from northeastern Iran and western Kazakhstan to Pakistan’s Balochistan 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. 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 mating season begins in September. During mating 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.