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.
Genus [Linnaeus, 1758].
Citation: Syst. Nat., 10th ed., 1:70.
Type locality: Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Vostochno-Kazakhstansk.
Obl., Altai Mtns, Bukhtarma; near Ust-Kamenogorsk.
Body Length: 120-200
cm / 4-6.6 ft.
Shoulder Height: 90-120 cm / 3-4
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
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
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.
Hilly terrain near high mountains at
elevations of 1,300-6,100 meters / 4,200-19,500 feet
throughout central Asia.
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
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