The Urial stamp is the second in the series of commemorative stamps on wild life conservation that are being issued by the Pakistan Post Office to focus, attention on the need to protect wild life.
Pakistan originally had a rich variety of fauna but due to colonization and unscru-pulous hunting a number of mammals, birds and reptiles are on the verge of extinction. The Government of Pakistan have taken a number of measures including the creation of special areas, game sanc-tuaries etc. for conservation of wild life. Apart from Government action public motivation in this behalf is also a must and the issue of the wild life commemoratives aims primarily at this.
Three races of Urial (wild sheep) are found in different parts of Pakistan. The Punjab Urial (Ovis orientiis Panjabiensis) is found in the Salt Range Area and Kala Chita Hills in the districts of Mianwali, Jhelum, Sargodha and Attock. Kala Bagh Reserve is reported to have about 500 Urials. Urial is also found in Gilgit, Astore and parts of N.W.F.P., and is known as Shapu (Ovis Orientali~ Vigne). The race found in Baluchistan and Sind is known as (Ovis Orientalis Blanfordi). The Punjab Urial is reddish fawn in colour white its lower parts, limbs, buttock and tail are whitish. The adult rams have a ruff of long hair from behind the chin down to the chest. Their horns are strongly wrinkled and are set close together and curve around in a circu-lar sweep. There is much variation in horns which may be seen in the same herd. The Urial found in Northern Areas & N.W.F.P. has horns turned inward at the tips. The race found in Sind and Baluchistan has horns turned outwards. Shapu stands about 3 feet or more at the shoulders while the Punjab. Urial is smaller in size and is about two feet 8 inches. Average horns measure 20 to 30 inches. The biggest recorded heads are 39 inches. 2.In Punjab it lives in rocky scrub-covered hills. In Sind and Baluchistan it is found in bare stony ranges and in Northern Areas it keeps to open grassy mountain slopes at moderate elevations below the tree line.
3. In the Punjab, the main rutting season is between September and October. In Gilgit and Astore the breeding season is later than October. The young ones are born in summer and their number is one or two. The gestation period is believed to be bet-ween four to six months. The Urial is wary and active and is a good climber. It cries like a sheep, the alarm cry being a shrill whistle. A ram generally keeps 3 to 4 females.
4. This beautiful animal is now on the danger list and over hunting in the past has reduced its population in Pakistan. Its hunting has been banned all over the country and the animal has been declared protected. It is also necessary that people should stop poaching of this animal so that its population grows to a level, which is considered safe from the point of view of preservation of the species.