The world around us is so deep, so vast and so mysterious that it sometimes stuns human mind by unfolding its secrets. There was once a time when man used to think he was the only creature on earth. With the passage of time, man discovered some other living species and this process of exploring new animal species kept on going and is still in progress. Millions of new species of plants and animals have been reported in the past few centuries. Marco Polo sheep, for example, is one such specie which was reported for the first time some 700 years ago. It is a beautiful, exciting-to-watch and ecologically important animal species. To know more about it, let’s read through this article.
Marco Polo sheep was first reported by the famous Marco Polo in 13th century and thus this sheep was named after him. This sheep is a little different from ordinary sheep found in plain areas. It is generally present at higher altitudes in countries like China, Pakistan, Afghanistan etc. It is also the national animal of Afghanistan. It has characteristic folded horns which give it an elegant and unfamiliar look. These animals love to stay in groups. In summer season, they divide and spend their time as individuals and in winters they gather back to form groups. The purpose of forming groups is to avoid the attack of predators which are generally very active during the winter season.
It is interesting to know that the female of these animals does not have horns. Therefore, it becomes a differentiating feature in the gender of this sheep. In case of males, the horns have specialized rings around them. The number of these rings increase with an increase in the age of the sheep. Thus, the age of the male can be determined by counting these rings.
The population of Marco Polo sheep is decreasing with the passage of time. IUCN and other international organizations have declared special programs for the revival and conservation of the population of this animal. This animals earns local communities a great deal of capital in terms of tourists’ activities. In some areas it is also used for meat, through it is really difficult to catch and hunt this sheep. If you ever happen to be in these areas, do try seeing these sheep running across meadows. It would be a treating watching these sheep.