Species / International Ovis
Ovis ammon polii
The eastern part of the Wakhan Corridor in Afghanistan; the Pamir Plateau in eastern Tajikistan; extending north into southeastern Kyrgyzstan south of the Naryn River; and the adjacent Pamir (Tagdumbash) region of far western China. The northern limit for the Marco Polo argali is the Naryn River or approximately 41° 30´ N latitude. The habitat is more arid and barren than that of most other sheep ground. Usually lives at altitudes of 15,000-19,000 feet and rarely below 10,000 feet.
Weight up to 300 pounds. A large, long-legged, light-boned argali with the most spectacular horns of the entire world's sheep. In winter, the upper parts are a somewhat darker brown and there is a full white neck ruff extending to the brisket. The winter hair is much longer, making the animal appear larger and heavier than it is. The long, slender horns are homonymous, forming 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 open spirals. The longest sheep horn ever recorded (75 inches) is from a Marco Polo; however the largest circumference for this race is only 17 inches with 14 to 15 1/2 inches usual.
The Marco Polo is one of the finest wild sheep and is one of the world's very top hunting trophies. It lives at high altitudes that not all hunters can cope with; some have been stricken with pulmonary edema and have required evacuation. One should not attempt this hunt without a good level of cardiovascular fitness and a recent medical examination.