URIAL/Behaviour, Distribution, Habitat, Size, Weight, IUCN stetus



DESCRIPTION: Previously also called the Red Sheep, the Urial resembles the Argali, but is smaller with shorter, thinner horns. Adult males in winter are reddish grey (some being clearly chestnut) with a piebald ruff and saddle. The saddle patch is black in front and white at the back. The long black throat ruff merges with a white chest ruff, both of which are lost in the spring. Unlike the Argali, the ruff is only around the centre of the neck and does not spread all around. A dark flank stripe separating the upper parts and the underparts, and dark hair above and below the knee are present in both sexes. The face, bib, undersides and lower legs are white. The rump is a much smaller white patch than in the Argali but looks conspicuous because of light-coloured hair around it as well as the white scrotum. Ewes do not have the saddle patch or bib and are lighter, while the young are greyer and smaller. Ewes have short horns and the lateral stripe is restricted to a black spot under the forelegs. Urial rams have large, semicircular horns that in large males ascribe three- fourths of a circle. Most Ladakh Urial have heteronym horns, i.e., they point inwards towards the back of their necks. However, some males may develop homonym or sickle-shaped horns, which are deeply corrugated. Yearlings are slightly smaller and greyer than adult females and a thin black line initiates the ruff on the neck. The horns are marginally bigger than the ewes. Class I males have a broad, dark line on the neck, dark lateral stripe, and horns are around 40 cm. Class II rams have redder pelage, initiation of a saddle, longer horns and white scrotum; grey forelegs have turned white. Class III males have a clear saddle and ruff, and the horns are semicircular. Class IV males have large horns with a three-quarter circle ascribed by them.
BEHAVIOUR: Rams in rut visit several herds, unlike wild goats that keep to a single herd.
DISTRIBUTION: Restricted to the Indus, Shyok and Nubra river valleys in Ladakh, Jammu & Kashmir.
HABITAT: Alpine steppe; usually avoids steep slopes. Gently rolling hills and open, arid land. Dense forest can be a barrier to movement.

Size: 91–116 cm

Wt: 35–90 kg

IUCN/WPA/Indian Status: Vulnerable


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