Argali Sheep: World’s Largest Ovis Aries


Health Editor’s Note: While looking for a neat picture of an argali sheep to place on this article, I came upon countless photos of those “fearsome” big game hunters with dead argali. Posing with their kills.  You know, like the Jimmy John’s (CEO Jimmy John Liautaud) fast food restaurants which I will never eat at, pictures of him with dead elephant, giraffe, leopard and other animals he killed for the pleasure of killing.  Even though argali hunting was officially banned in 1953 a number of trophy hunting licenses are still issued and poaching continues….Carol

The Decades-Long Effort to Protect the World’s Largest Sheep

by Alix Morris

Ganchimeg Wingard cups her mittened hands around the radio receiver to block the cold September wind. When she speaks into it, her voice is slow, soft, deliberate.

“They found a herd… coming in on the north side… two kilometers away… get in position… over.”

Crouched between rocks and shrubs, we hear the horsemen’s yips and whistles before the herd comes into sight. Within seconds, twelve wild argali sheep gallop in our direction, kicking up a cloud of desert dust in their wake. Expertly leaping over ditches and scaling rocky outcrops, the argali race forward as the horsemen drive them toward the nets.

The horsemen had been riding for hours, surveying the park to find the argali. After slowly herding them in the direction of the capture nets, a technique known as “drive netting,” they were now pushing the animals the last 200 yards. If netted, the researchers would have about 10 to 15 minutes to do a complete workup on each animal—take measurements, attach satellite radio collars, and assess the argali’s health—before releasing it. Any longer and the animal could overheat.

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  1. Equally well those “brave” hunters could have come to my place shooting rats. And hey, no need to pay for the safari.

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