Marco Polo sheep

Winter time in western Mongolia and the vulnerable flocks of sheep and goats are herded into folds at night next to the homestead to protect them from wolves and snow leopards.

In the morning they are keen to go foraging once let out from their confined enclosure. A young boy or two are assigned to look after the flock during their daytime foraging as attacks from predators are not just confined to the nocturnal hours.

In the foreground of this picture are a couple of skulls from the famous Marco Polo Sheep or Mongolian Argali (Ovis ammon polii). Their distribution spreading from the Pamir range and into the Altai on the Mongolian Chinese border.
Soltankhan our host was famous for his tracking and stalking skills and occasionally employed by visiting western hunters who wanted to bag a trophy big horned skull.
Large sums of dollars are paid to the government for a permit to shoot one sheep, and stories of 25,000 to 60,000 dollars for the single permit are legend. Add to that the flights, accommodation, agents fees and permits to remove and import your trophy you soon begin to realise these hunters are spending serious amounts of money to put a bullet in a sheep head.