Bharal or Blue sheep
Facts about this animal
Although called blue sheep, bharal resemble goats rather than sheep. The Bharal is a fairly large mountain ungulate with a head-body length of 115-165, a shoulder height of 75-90 cm, a tail length of 10-20 cm, and a body weight of 35-75 kg. Males are considerably larger than females. Both sexes have horns, which are ridged on the upper surface. In males, they are considerably larger than in females, growing upwards, then turning sideways and curving backwards, and reaching a length of 80 cm. In females, the horns are much shorter and straighter, growing only up to 20 cm long.
The coat is of greyish-brown to slate-blue colour, hence the common name blue sheep. The hair is short and dense, and there is no beard. There is a black stripe that separates the upper parts of the back from the white flank and a black strip running from the front to the nose tip. The backs of the legs – and the sides of the digits - are white, the fronts black.
Bharal are solitary or live in groups of usually less than 20 animals which for most of the year are either female or male groups. They are active throughout the day, alternating between feeding and resting. Due to their excellent camouflage and the absence of cover in their alpine environment, bharal remain motionless when approached. Main predators are snow leoaprds and leopard, lambs may be taken by foxes and tawny eagles.
Bharal feed on grasses, lichens, hardy herbaceous plants, and mosses.
Did you know?
that the blue tint of the bharals' fur makes them almost invisible against the background of blue-greyish rock that is typical within their habitat?
|Name (Scientific)||Pseudois nayaur|
|Name (English)||Bharal or Blue sheep|
|Name (French)||Grand bharal|
|Name (Spanish)||Cabra azul del Himalaya|
|Local names||Hindi: Bharal Nepali: Nahur|
|CITES Status||Not listed|
|CMS Status||Not listed|
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|Range||Bhutan, China, India, Nepal, Pakistan, possibly Tadjikistan|
|Habitat||Montane habittats, including alpine grasslands, subalpine forests, cliffs, and deserts.|
|Wild population||Approx. 47.000-414.000 (Red List IUCN 2011)|
|Zoo population||122 reported to ISIS (2008)|
In the Zoo
How this animal should be transported
For air transport, Container Requirement 73 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.
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Why do zoos keep this animal
The blue sheep in an attractive mountain ungulate, which is a good ambassador species for Central Asian mountain ranges and the conservation of the species community living there. The species is also of educational interest when kept in ecodisplays as it is a main prey species of the endangered snow leopard.