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Fauna Series No. 5








Dall Sheep



Grizzly Bear

Red Fox

Golden Eagle



Fauna of the National Parks — No. 5
The Wolves of Mount McKinley
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ALL THE ALASKA SHEEP have been referred to as Ovis dalli dalli, except those found on the Kenai Peninsula, which have been described as Ovis dalli kenaiensis. Only slight skull differences separate this latter form from Ovis dalli dalli.

The Dall sheep is smaller than the Rocky Mountain bighorn (Ovis canadensis canadensis), has more slender and gracefully curved horns, and is white in color. On a dark background Dall sheep appear to be pure white, but in the snow they are seen to be slightly yellowish. Live rams average slightly less than 200 pounds in weight and the ewes are not quite as heavy.

Dall sheep ram
Figure 17: Dall sheep ram. [Toklat River, May 21, 1939.]

Distribution of Dall Sheep in Alaska

Dall sheep, found in Mount McKinley National Park, are widely distributed over the mountainous regions in Alaska. They are found throughout most of the Alaska Range, in the Nutzotin, Wrangell, and Chugach Mountains, on the Kenai Peninsula, in the Endicott Mountains north of the Arctic Circle, and a few still occur in the Tanana Hills. Their range extends into Yukon Territory where they intergrade with Ovis d. stonei, a subspecies which differs from the Dall sheep mainly in color. Locally, the sheep have been reduced in numbers, or eliminated by hunting, but still they are found over most of their ancestral ranges. Sheep are reported to be still plentiful in the Wood River and Mount Hayes district of the Alaska Range, in the Endicott Mountains and on the Kenai Peninsula. In some areas, such as Rainy Pass, they are reported less abundant than formerly. However, on most of their range the actual status of the sheep is not well known.

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Last Modified: Thurs, Dec 20 2001 10:00:00 pm PDT

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