Marco Polo sheep

Posted: April 15, 2012 in Environment, Region, Tajikistan, Wildlife

Marco Polo sheep

The Marco Polo sheep (Ovis amon polii) are mainly found on the highlands of the Eastern Pamirs


(c) Beth Wald


The Marco Polo sheep is considered near threatened according to the red list of IUCN


(c) Eric Dragesco


Reports concerning the Marco Polo sheep

Survey Eastern Pamirs – Dec. 2009 (complete report in english)

Survey Eastern Pamirs – Dec. 2009 (brief report in russian)

The Marco Polo sheep (in Zoo view)


(c) Eric Dragesco


What can Wikipedia tell us about the Marco Polo sheep?

source: (15.07.2010)

The Marco Polo sheep (Ovis ammon polii) is a subspecies of argali sheep, named after Marco Polo. Their habitat is the mountainous regions of Central Asia. Marco Polo sheep are distinguishable mostly by their large size and spiraling horns. Their conservation status is “near threatened” and efforts have been made to protect their numbers and keep them from commercial hunting. It has also been suggested that crossing them with domestic sheep could have agricultural benefits.


The binomial name of the species as a whole is Ovis ammon,[3] described by Swedish naturalist Carl Linnaeus in 1758,[1] and all members of the species are commonly called “argali”.[4] The Marco Polo subspecies Ovis ammon polii was first described scientifically by Indian zoologist Edward Blyth in 1841.[4] These sheep are also commonly called “Marco Polo’s Argali”[5] or the “Pamir Argali.”[6].

The sheep are named after the 13th century explorer Marco Polo because he described them in his book The Travels of Marco Polo.[7] The 1914 Historical and Political Gazetteer of Afghanistan: Badakhshan notes that in Badakhshan ProvinceAfghanistan the sheep are known locally as nakhjipar[8]via Marco Polo sheep.


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