This is the largest ram on the planet, very different from those lambs that we are used to seeing in a rural landscape. Its total weight can reach 180 kilograms, and only horns can weigh 35 kilograms.
Altai Mountain Ram
Altai ram: description
Historically, the Altai mountain sheep has many names. It is called both the Altai sheep, and argali, and Altai argali. Among all the names of this respectable animal there is even a "Tien Shan ram."
As already mentioned, the Altai sheep is the largest sheep. Growth in an adult can reach 125 centimeters, and a length of two meters. These are strong herbivores with corresponding horns. They are hollow at the Altai ram, very wide and wrapped so that the edges stick out forward. At the same time, the main part of the horn is a horn loop facing the back of the animal.
Horns play a large role in the role of a ram. With the help of them, the animal not only defends itself against natural enemies, but also participates in widespread battles during the breeding season.
Like all representatives of the ram family, the Altai mountain ram is a herbivore. The basis of his diet is a variety of cereals, sedge, buckwheat and other herbs. In winter, in the absence of proper food supply, animals carry out roaming. In particular, they descend from the mountains and graze on the plains. To find a suitable pasture, the Altai mountain sheep can migrate to a distance of 50 kilometers.
Today, there are only three points on the globe where you can see the Altai mountain goat:
- In the area of Chulshman.
- In the area of the Saylyugem mountain range;
- On the site between Mongolia and China.
It goes without saying that the places where the sheep live are carefully guarded and are a conservation area.
A favorite place for mountain goats is the highlands. At the same time, they do not need abundant vegetation - small shrubs from the subspecies of the round-shaped ones will be enough for them.
In the hot season, mountain sheep can eat two or three times, but as for watering, the opposite is true here - they replenish water reserves in their body every three days.
At the beginning of the 20th century, the number of Altai mountain sheep reached 600 individuals. A little later, their number sharply decreased - to 245. By means of protective measures and the resettlement of adult individuals in protected areas, it was possible to slightly increase the number - up to 320 individuals including both young and already adult representatives of this breed.
They tried to breed in artificial conditions - in zoos in Germany and America, but, unfortunately, the attempts were unsuccessful. In most cases, the animals died within a few weeks. The longevity was only a mountain sheep, which was taken out at the Biological Institute of Russia - he lived for six years. Obviously, this breed should be kept only in natural conditions for them, or at least in the most similar.
Rescue of the species, as well as serious attempts to increase the population involved in the Novosibirsk Zoo. This institution is the only one in the world where anyone can see the Altai mountain sheep. Another interesting fact is that the sheep kept here safely give offspring.
Zoo researchers have drawn up a plan for the cultivation and release of young lamb. As part of this activity, in September 2018, four males were released into the natural habitat, which were separately bred in a special aviary. The event was successful, and the animals went into the forest. According to experts, they should meet with a large herd of wild sheep located in the area of release, and become part of it.
Video about mountain Altai ram