Wildlife and tourism in Tajikistan

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Welcome to the Mountain Ungulates Project in Tajikistan

About the project

  “There are great quantities of wild sheep of huge size. Their horns grow to as much as six palms in length.” Marco Polo (1273)

Marco Polo, the legendary Venetian 13th century traveler, apparently never saw Marco Polo sheep Ovis ammon polii alive, but he was the first who mentioned the length of the horns he saw in the Pamirs, the longest of any subspecies of argali sheep. That time it roamed in incredible large herds on the green pastures at the wide mountain valleys of the Roof of the World, the High Pamirs. Herders in absence of wood at the altitudes beyond 4000 m a.s.l. used the huge curled horns of this wild sheep for building corrals for their livestock – yaks, sheep and goats.

Nowadays, still herds of up to several hundred of the magnificent sheep roam in the high mountain plateaus of the Eastern Pamirs. But Tajikistan’s wildlife is under pressure and Marco Polo sheep as well as other animals already disappeared from large areas formerly inhabited.