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Ovis vignei bochariensis.jpg
Bukhara Urial (Ovis orientalis bochariensis) at Nordens Ark, Sweden
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Bovidae
Subfamily: Caprinae
Genus: Ovis
O. o. vignei
Trinomial name
Ovis orientalis vignei
(Blyth, 1841)

The urial (Ovis orientalis vignei[2]), also known as the arkars or shapo, is a subspecies group of the wild sheep Ovis orientalis. Noticeable features are the reddish-brown long fur that fades during winter; males are characterized by a black ruff stretching from the neck to the chest and large horns. It is found in western central Asia. The other subspecies group of O. orientalis is the mouflon (Ovis orientalis orientalis group). The two groups have often been considered separate species.[3]

Physical characteristics[edit]

Urial males have large horns, curling outwards from the top of the head turning in to end somewhere behind the head; females have shorter, compressed horns. The horns of the males may be up to 100 cm (39 in) long. The shoulder height of an adult male urial is between 80 and 90 cm (31 and 35 in).


The urial is found in western central Asia from northeastern Iran and western Kazakhstan to Pakistan's Balochistan and Chitral, and in Ladakh, India. To the east it is replaced by the bigger argali and to the southwest by the Asiatic mouflon. Its habitat consists of grassy slopes below the timberline. Urials rarely move to the rocky areas of the mountains. For example, in northern Iran they produce hybrids with Asiatic mouflon under natural conditions. Urials feed mainly on grass but are able to eat leaves of trees and bushes if needed.

The conservation status of the urial is threatened as their habitat is perfectly suitable for human development; however the urial population has been recovering in recent years.

The Afghan urial is found in Musakhel district in Surghar and Torghar. A 2005-2006 survey by WWF Pakistan found 145 urials in Surghar, Srakhowa District Musakhe. Yahay Musakhel et al. 2006)


The mating season begins in September. Rams (which live separately at other times) select four or five ewes, which will each give birth to a lamb after a gestation of five months.


Transcaspian arkals (O. o. arkal) at Pretoria Zoo

The vignei subspecies group consists of six individual subspecies:


  1. ^ Valdez, R. (2008). "Ovis orientalis". The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2008: e.T15739A5076068. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2008.RLTS.T15739A5076068.en. Retrieved 13 January 2018. Database entry includes a brief justification of why this species is of vulnerable.
  2. ^ ICZN (International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature) opinion 2027 Archived May 17, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Grubb, Peter (2005). Order Perissodactyla. Pp. 708-710 in: Wilson, Don E., and DeeAnn, M. (2005). Mammal Species of the World. A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference. 3d edition. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore. ISBN 0-8018-8221-4
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-07-03. Retrieved 2009-03-15.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  • Nowak R. M.: Walker's Mammals of the World, Sixth Edition. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, London, 1999.
  • Lingen, H.: Großes Lexikon der Tiere. Lingen Verlag, Köln.
  • Prater, S. H.: The Book of Indian Animals, Oxford University Press, 1971.
  • Menon, V.: A Field Guide to Indian Mammals, Dorling Kindersley, India, 2003
  • CITES Instruktion für den grenztierärztlichen Dienst
  • Proposal about subspecies of Urial
  • Yahya M. Musakhel et al. 2006: Identification of Biodiversity Hot Spots in Musakhel District balochistan Pakistan.

External links[edit]