GREATER BLUE SHEEP/Behaviour, Distribution, Habitat, Size, Weight, IUCN stetus

GREATER BLUE SHEEP


DESCRIPTION: Adult male Bharal have a slate-blue coat. In winter, this colouration becomes more pronounced, while in summer the coat becomes red- brown especially in females and young, serving as better camouflage. The trans- Himalayan rams tend to achieve a light, almost cream, colouration while in the Himalayas, the colour is much darker. Adult rams in both areas have dark brown to black markings on the neck, chest and legs, and a flank stripe that merges with the colour of the legs. The tail is short and dark. The insides of the limbs and the rump patch are distinctly white. Male horns are very characteristic and curve outward, backward and then downward in a crescent formation. The tips of the horn once again point upwards at the very end in prime males over eight years of age. Females are smaller than males, have much shorter and thinner horns that diverge out, are dull shale in colour and have dark grey instead of black markings on their body. This species displays both goat- and sheep-like characteristics but on current genetic differences is placed closer to Capra than Ovis. The ram lacks a beard and has feet glands, like others in the sheep family. However, it also shares goat-like traits such as smooth horns and the absence of facial glands. Yearlings are two–third the size of females while Class I males are as big as females. Horn size increases from 15 cm in yearlings to 25 cm in Class I, 35 cm in Class II and over 40 cm in Class III and IV. During breeding rut, the neck swells and a penis skin bulge is also seen.
BEHAVIOUR: During rut, males rear up and strike each other like goats. They sometime mouth their own penis as a threat display.
DISTRIBUTION: The Greater Himalayan meadows and trans-Himalayan regions in India from Jammu & Kashmir to Arunachal Pradesh. Along with the Serow, has the largest distribution of a Himalayan mountain ungulate in India. 
HABITAT: Mountainous regions above the treeline, open grassy or boulder- strewn ground and high cliffs. They use areas with crags and cliffs but largely as retreats from danger. When foraging they are found in alpine meadows.

Size: 80–140 cm, 

Wt: 40–75 kg

IUCN Status: Least Concern

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