The most peculiarity of Gun-Galuut is Argali – Wild mountain sheep, which honoured as “World Hunting Highlight” so registered in the “Red List” of IUCN. There is no other place like Gun-Galuut, where Argali occurs in high density living as calm so it can be easily visible even though they can be observed in quite a several particular areas in Mongolia. Currently, over 100 Argils inhabit in Mt. Baits and Berkh, so tourists see them joyfully and take photos.


Taxonomy
Genus [Linnaeus, 1758].
Citation: Syst. Nat., 10th ed., 1:70.
Type locality: Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Vostochno-Kazakhstansk. Obl., Altai Mtns, Bukhtarma; near Ust-Kamenogorsk.

General Characteristics
Body Length:
120-200 cm / 4-6.6 ft.
Shoulder Height: 90-120 cm / 3-4 ft.
Tail Length: 14 cm / 5.6 in.
Weight: 65-180 kg / 143-396 lb.
The general colouration of argalis is variable, ranging from a light buff to darker grey-brown, with white hairs being interspersed in some cases (especially in older individuals). The underparts are whitish, and separated from the main body colour by a darker band which runs along the sides. The face is noticeably lighter. In addition, males have a whitish neck ruff, which encompasses most of the neck's surface, and a dorsal crest, both of which are more prominent in the winter coat. The Argalis have a whitish rump patch, although there is much variation between subspecies in terms of size and borders. Adult males carry two enormous corkscrew-like horns, which can reach 190 cm / 6.3 feet when measured along the spiral. Females also bear horns, although these are much smaller, rarely exceeding 30 cm / 1 foot in length.

Ontogeny and Reproduction
Gestation Period: 150-160 days.
Young per Birth: 1-2
Weaning: At 4 months.
Sexual Maturity: Females at 2 years, males by 5 years.
Life span: 10-13 years.
Just prior to parturition, females separate from the herd and retreat to an inaccessible spot to give birth. The mother and her newborn will remain separate from the herd for several days, during which the lamb lies motionless while its mother takes brief forays to graze.

Ecology and Behavior
Reported population densities range from 1.0-1.2 animals per square kilometer. Seasonal migrations have been reported for some populations (especially the males), while there is a general trend to live at higher elevations in the summertime. With relatively long legs, argalis are fast runners and may flee from predators, although refuge is often taken on steep mountain slopes. The primary vocalizations are an alarm whistle and a warning hiss made by blowing air through the nostrils. When competing, males rear up on their hind legs and, leaning forward, race towards their opponent, crashing horns in the process.
Family group: Herds segregated by sex (except for breeding season) with 2 to over 100 animals.

Diet: Grasses, herbs, sedges.
Main Predators: Wolf, snow leopard.

Distribution

Hilly terrain near high mountains at elevations of 1,300-6,100 meters / 4,200-19,500 feet throughout central Asia.

Conservation Status
The Argali is a vulnerable species (IUCN, 2000). The subspecies O. a. ammon, O. a. collium, O. a. hodgsonii, O. a. karelini, and O. a. polii are considered vulnerable, O. a. darwini and O. a. severtzovi endangered, and O. a. jubata and O. a. nigrimontana critically endangered.

Remarks
The fantastic horns of males are highly prized by hunters which has put pressure on some wild populations, although a more serious threat is habitat loss from the grazing of domestic sheep. Argali is a Mongolian name for this sheep. Ovis (Latin) a sheep. Ammon or Amen was an Egyptian deity, usually represented as a human form with the head of a ram.

Estimated that now 20,000 Argalis inhabit in Mongolia. In summers Argali lives in the high mountains of Altai at average altitude of 3500 m and at 1100 m in the steppes and to the Gobi Desert and goes down to lower places in winters. Argali follows water, salt marsh and pasture and moves infrequently far or near. The mating season is from October to November and the female gives birth to a lamb, rarely a twin in April- May. The sex, constituents and age of Argali groups are not the same in every population. The biggest enemy in the nature for the Argali is wolf and sometimes eagles steal little lambs. Water and pasture of the Argali usually are the same place of domestic animals. Mongolia has 2 sub-species of Argali- Altai Argali and Gobi Argali. Altai Argali is slightly bigger than the other in size of body and horns. The Argali in the Gun-Galuut are a sub-species of Gobi Argali and it is registered in the 2nd article of the CITES and listed in the Red Book of Mongolia as “vulnerable”. In Gun-Galuut Nature Reserve, you have opportunities of watching these beautiful animals from specially prepared shelters from the closest distance, as the animals are really calm in sense that they are well protected.