Following the proposal of Tajikistan and Kazakhstan, 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. The transboundary populations in 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.
The species is already listed on CITES Appendix II as it is hunted for subsistence and increasingly for its horns, which are being used in traditional Chinese medicine and are internationally traded as hunting trophies. In addition, little is known about the cross-border migration routes and critical habitat sites. Border infrastructure and fences present serious barriers to the animals’ migration. Argali live over a vast geographic range across the territory of eleven states, which all have very different management and monitoring approaches. With the Appendix II listing of the species, CMS Parties are encouraged to fill gaps in knowledge and address threats urgently, in order to develop and implement effective measures to conserve and sustainably manage the species.
Key areas for cooperation include joint and simultaneous population surveys using standardized methods for data collection and processing, information sharing, measures to avoid negative impacts of border fences on migration, coordination of conservation and hunting approaches as well as harmonized border controls and management plans. Improved transboundary cooperation is urgently needed to coordinate and institutionalize effective management of this migratory species and its habitat, the mighty yet very vulnerable mountain ecosystems of Central Asia.
For further information, see the listing proposal by clicking here.