The Transcaspian urial is a type of mouflon, or wild sheep. Mouflon were the wild ancestors of today’s domestic sheep, likely domesticated around 10,500 years ago.

What They Eat

As inhabitants of arid grasslands, Transcaspian urials graze on grass, shrubs, and occasionally grain.

Where They Live

Mouflon are found in Asia from Iraq to Kazakhstan and India. This particular subspecies is found in Iran, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan

What They Do

Males that are solitary most of the year will compete with each other during the breeding season by head butting and jumping―up to nine feet! The winner of these competitions will mate with 4 or 5 ewes.

How They’re Doing

Although domestic sheep thrive throughout the world today, the Transcaspian urial is considered vulnerable to extinction. The main reasons are poaching and competition for food with livestock.

Where in the World



Arid Grasslands

Conservation Status


Animal Facts

Weight: 60–140 pounds
Height: 2½-3 feet at the shoulder
Length: 3½–5 feet

Taxonomic Category

Mammal, hoofed

Where at the Zoo

Tropics Trail

  • Both males and females grow spiral horns. The male’s horns are larger and can measure more than two and a half feet in length..

This species is found at lower elevations where there are higher numbers of people and where the urial compete directly with domestic livestock for grazing areas. Urial densities are often naturally low because they live in a hot, dry, habitat with limited food. Living close to human settlements makes the urial vulnerable to being hunted or poached. In some countries, urial are highly prized by trophy hunters and there is pressure for governments to open hunting. Due to increasing habitat loss, urial populations are becoming smaller and more isolated.