For Chinese New Year a Celebration of the World’s Largest Sheep


The celestial odometer clicks over to a new year on the Chinese calendar today, and it’s a Year of the Sheep. By some interpretations it may also be the Year of the Goat, but for National Geographic it is an opportunity to celebrate argali Ovis ammon polii, the world’s largest sheep.

Perhaps no one is more associated with Marco Polo sheep than George B. Schaller, one of the world’s preeminent field biologists. Born in Germany in 1933, Schaller serves as vice president of Panthera and as a Senior Conservationist with the Wildlife Conservation Society. He has advocated passionately for decades for Marco Polo sheep.

A recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Geographic Society’s Adventure magazine, Schaller was awarded a grant from the National Geographic Society Expeditions Council to determine the status and distribution of the Near Threatened Marco Polo sheep in the Pamir Mountains, where the Hindu Kush, Karakoram, and Kunlun ranges meet — a tough neighborhood shared by Afghanistan, China, Pakistan and Tajikistan.

Engraved print of Marco Polo sheep by Gustave Mützel – Brehm, Alfred/Brehms Thierleben/Säugethiere/Vierte Reihe: Hufthiere/Elfte, from Wikimedia Commons

David Braun: What makes Marco Polo sheep the biggest in the world; how —> Read More Here


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