Species / International Ovis

Esfahan Mouflon

Ovis gmelini isphahonica


The Esfahan mouflon is found only in Iran, in the mountains near Esfahan, up to about halfway between the city of Arak and south to the city of Marvdasht, which is just north of the city of Shiraz. The city of Esfahan is in a bit of a valley on the eastern side of the Zagros Mountains. All but two of the hunting reserves in the area are found west and south of Esfahan. These two are very important, because they each have lots of sheep. The nearest one is only about 30 miles away, and is called Ghamishloo. It is well within the proposed Esfahan boundary. The other is the well-known Mooteh Reserve. It is nearly 100 miles northwest of Esfahan and lies between the towns of Kashan (to the east) and Golpaygan (to the west).


In winter, males have a full-length black neck ruff extending to the brisket. There is no bib. Saddle patch, muzzle, chin, throat and lower part of legs are white. The horns appear to be of two types: Those from the Mooteh Wildlife Reserve, about 80 miles northeast of Esfahan, are supracervical or perverted, which is to say they curve above and behind the neck as do those of the Armenian mouflon; those from the Tange-Sayad and Kolah-Gazi wildlife refuges, which are within 90 miles southwest and southeast, respectively, of Esfahan are cervical, with the tips growing inward toward the neck.


This sheep has many characteristics of the Armenian mouflon, but has had enough influence over time from the Laristan mouflon and Shiraz mouflon to be distinctly different from the Armenian mouflon. Horns sweep down more than the Armenian, and the coloration is slightly different as well, having a distinct mouflon look to the cape.

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