A record number of Altai mountain sheep was recorded on the Sailugem ridge

A record number of Altai mountain sheep was recorded on the Sailugem ridge

Scientists of the Sailugem National Park have taken into account the number of argali (mountain sheep) in the Altai Republic on the Sailugem ridge and adjacent areas. In nine years, their grouping has grown fivefold.

"According to the results of monitoring, 2,644 individuals live here, which is 164 more than according to the results of last year's accounting. For comparison, at the beginning of the Sailugem National Park - 2014 - scientists counted 525 mountain sheep," the Ministry of Natural Resources of Russia reported on its website.

Experts attribute the growth in the number of the Altai mountain sheep group, including with effective protection of land, the joint work of environmental organizations, including the Sailugem National Park, the border department for the Altai Republic.

"This year we have recorded another record: the largest herd of males and females in the entire history of observations of 359 heads. The bad weather drove the animals down the slope, they all stayed along the river. We also recorded large herds of one hundred mountain sheep. Nine argali were found, taken by wolves, mostly adult males. This autumn we observed a lot of adult males who are 10 years old and older," Denis Gulyaev, deputy director of the Sailugem National Park, quotes the ministry.

Employees of the nature protection institution recorded the unusual behavior of a male argali, which was attached to a herd of females of another ungulate species – the Siberian mountain goat, and walked with them.

"These ungulate species do not interbreed, and the behavior of the beast is a mystery," the report says.

During the work, experts confirmed that argali are concentrated on the Sailugem ridge in three main areas, most of all in the Ulandryk River basin.

"The accounting conditions this year were difficult, climate changes are making themselves felt: snowfalls, constant blizzards did not allow driving and examining some areas due to high snow. Experts summed up the work only on the Sailugem ridge. The number of argali in Russia will be announced after analyzing the data of the expeditions of the Altai Reserve on the Chikhachev Ridge and the Ubsunur Basin Reserve in the Republic of Tyva," the Ministry of Natural Resources said.

Since 2018, the accounting of the number and condition of the Argali group in the cross-border zone of Russia and Mongolia has been carried out within the framework of the work of the mixed Russian-Mongolian commission on environmental protection. Every two years, specialists of the two countries conduct a full-scale accounting of the number of species.

In early December, after receiving data from colleagues from Mongolia, scientists will report the number of a cross-border argali group at the junction of the two countries.
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