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(Ovis ammon), a wild ram found in Middle and Central Asia; in the USSR, it is found in the mountains of Middle Asia and Kazakhstan and in some parts of southern Siberia and Transbaikalia. The Argali forms a number of geographical races differing chiefly by the size and shape of the horns and the color of the wool. The large argali in Pamir and the Altai reach a weight of 200 kg. They live in herds containing as many as 200 to 300 head, and the size and composition of the herds change in accordance with overall population and the season. In many places the number of argali is declining sharply. Only in Pamir are they relatively numerous. They prefer the open spaces of mountain plateaus and gentle slopes. Grasses are their chief food. The lambs are born in spring, with one or two in a litter.
The argali is a valuable commercial and game animal that is sought for its meat and skin. The Kazakh arkhomerinos breed has been developed by crossing the argali with the merino.
REFERENCESMeklenburtsev, R. N. “Pamirskii arkhar (Ovis ammon polii-Blyth).” Biul. Moskovskogo Obshchestva ispytatelei prirody. Otdel biologicheskii, 1948, vol. 53, issue 5.
Tsalkin, V. I. Gornye barany Evropy i Azii. Moscow, 1951.
Mlekopitaiushchie Sovetskogo Soiuza, vol. 1. Moscow, 1961. Pages 607–55.