Snow sheep

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Snow sheep
Ovis nivicola (=O. canadensis nivicola) by Joseph Smit.jpg
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Bovidae
Subfamily: Caprinae
Genus: Ovis
Species: O. nivicola
Binomial name
Ovis nivicola
Eschscholtz, 1829

The snow sheep (Ovis nivicola), or Siberian bighorn sheep, is a species of sheep from the mountainous areas in the northeast of Siberia. One subspecies, the Putorana snow sheep (Ovis nivicola borealis), lives isolated from the other forms in the Putoran Mountains.


  • Kolyma snow sheep, O. n. ssp[citation needed]
  • Koryak snow sheep, O. n. koriakorum
  • Okhotsk snow sheep, O. n. alleni
  • Yakutia snow sheep, O. n. lydekkeri
  • Kamchatka snow sheep, O. n. nivicola
  • Putorana snow sheep, O. n. borealis
  • Chukotka snow sheep, O. n. tschuktschorum[1]

Taxonomy and genetics[edit]

Ovis nivicola appeared about 600,000 years ago. These wild sheep crossed the Bering land bridge from Siberia into Alaska during the Pleistocene (about 750,000 years ago); the sheep diverged into the three extant species. The snow sheep is most closely related to the North American bighorn sheep and Dall's sheep.


  1. ^ a b Harris, R.B. & Tsytsulina. K. (2008). "Ovis nivicola". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2008. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 5 April 2009.  Database entry includes a brief justification of why this species is of least concern.