Ovis ammon


Following the proposal of Tajikistan and Kazakhstan, and the support expressed by Kyrgyzstan, the Argali mountain sheep (Ovis ammon) was listed on CMS Appendix II at COP10 (20-25 November 2011). The Argali is a threatened migratory mountain ungulate inhabiting mountains, steppe valleys and rocky outcrops in Central Asia. Especially the transboundary populations in the mountainous frontier regions between Afghanistan, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Pakistan and Uzbekistan suffer from grazing pressure, habitat loss and excessive poaching that have caused dramatic declines in many local populations. Coordinated conservation action among range states to fill knowledge gaps and sustainably manage those populations is urgently needed.

With the Appendix II listing of the species, range states are encouraged to address threats to argali coherently, as well as to develop and implement effective measures to conserve and sustainably manage the species. The argali is also designated for Cooperative Action, thereby prioritizing the species amongst all Appendix II species for particular attention. In March 2012, representatives of governmental agencies, hunting companies, scientific institutions, NGOs from the range states and international organizations met at a workshop co-organized by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH (GIZ) and the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN) on the Island of Vilm to share their experiences on sustainable management approaches and to discuss ways to ensure the conservation and sustainable use of Argali through transboundary cooperation.

At COP10 Resolution 10.16 was adopted, which "instructs the Secretariat to develop for consideration and adoption at COP11 a policy approach to the development, resourcing and servicing of agreements." Furthermore, the Resolution lists a set of criteria that need to be taken into consideration, when making any new proposals in the meantime, such as the “substantiation of the case for a new instrument, based on an analysis of needs and gaps in current conservation provisions”.

Taking these considerations into account, the CMS Secretariat in close collaboration, and with funding from the German Government through the GIZ Regional Programme on Sustainable Use of Natural Resources in Central Asia, commissioned a study to review existing initiatives and conservation activities for argali in Central Asia in order to assess the current needs and gaps in conservation and management of the species; as well as to analyses and specify the role CMS can play in this regard. The report "Analizing Gaps and Options for Enhancing Argali Conservation in Central Asia within the Context of the CMS", which was published in July 2012, analyzes ways to progress Argali conservation and discusses the potential benefits and challenges of developing a new instrument for the conservation of argali under the aegis of CMS and provides first ideas for an international action plan.

International Action Plan for the Conservation of Argali

Work to develop this plan continued during the above mentioned workshop on "Sustainable Management of Central Asian Game Animals", which took place on the Isle of Vilm, Germany (22-26 March 2012) funded by the German Federal Government. A first draft was developed and discussed during a second workshop which took place in Bishkek, Kygryzstan (2-4 December 2012). This was an important step towards strengthening collaboration and communication among scientists, hunting companies and wildlife managers from Central Asia to improve the transboundary management of argali. The cooperation among argali Range States has constantly gained momentum since the listing of the species on Appendix II of CMS in 2011.

The draft Action Plan centres around activities related to research, monitoring and data management, protection of argali habitat and migration routes, sustainable use, policy and governance as well as regional cooperation. Ways of creating incentives for conservation by involving local communities and the benefits sharing from sustainable use of argali were another focus of discussions.

Following this meeting, the draft was further developed and reviewed by experts and a second draft established, which will be discussed at the 18th Meeting of the Scientific Council (1-3 July 2014). A final round of formal consultation with governmental officials in the Range States is foreseen to take place after discussion at the Scientific Council Meeting. The document will then be submitted for adoption to the 11th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CMS in Quito, Ecuador (4-9 November 2014).

The revised Draft International Single Species Action Plan for the Conservation of Argali Ovis ammon is available in English.

A Russian translation is expected to be available in due course.


Assessment information
CMS InstrumentsCMS, Central Asian Mammals Initiative
IUCN StatusNear threatened
Geographic range
Countries Afghanistan, China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Russian Federation, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan
Common names
EnglishArgali Sheep
FrenchMouflon D'Asie
SpanishMuflón argal
Scientific name Ovis ammon

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