The Dall Sheep (originally Dall's Sheep, some
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Research has shown that the use of these subspecies designations is questionable. Complete colour integradation occurs between white and dark morphs of the species with intermediately coloured populations, called Fannin's Sheep (Ovis dalli fannini), found in the Pelly Mountains and Ogilvie Mountains of Yukon Territory. Mitochondrial
The latter half of the Latin binomial dalli is derived from William Healey Dall (1845-1927), an American naturalist. The common name Dall Sheep or Dall's Sheep is often used to refer to the species Ovis dalli. An alternative use of common name terminology is that Thinhorn Sheep refers to the species Ovis dalli, while Dall's Sheep and Stone's Sheep refer to subspecies Ovis dalli dalli and Ovis dalli stonei.
The sheep inhabit the subarctic mountain ranges of Alaska, the Yukon Territory, the Mackenzie Mountains in the western Northwest Territories, and northern British Columbia. Dall sheep are found in relatively dry country and try to stay in a special combination of open alpine ridges, meadows, and steep slopes with extremely rugged ground in the immediate vicinity, in order to escape from predators that cannot travel quickly through such terrain.
Male Dall Sheep have thick curling horns. The females have shorter, more slender, slightly curved horns. Males live in bands which seldom associate with female groups except during the mating season in late November and early December. Lambs are born in May.
During the summer when food is abundant, the sheep eat a wide variety of plants. During the winter diet is much more limited and consists primarily of dry, frozen grass and sedge stems available when snow is blown off, lichen and moss. Many Dall Sheep populations visit mineral licks during the spring and often travel many miles to eat the soil around the licks.
The primary predators of Dall Sheep are wolves, coyotes, black bears, and grizzly bears; golden eagles are predators of the young.
We saw all 3 types on our driving trip to Alaska. You need to have a really good reason to want to go to Faro, Yukon. It's a beautiful drive but out of the way.
I probably should have saved this for Skywatch Friday because you have to watch the ridge line to see them silhouetted against the sky.
Troy and Martha