El carnero o muflón de Dall (Ovis dalli) es un mamífero artiodáctilo de la familia Bovidae. Es un carnero salvaje propio de Norteamérica; habita sobre todo las Montañas Rocosas entre la Columbia Británica y Alaska.
El monte McKinley se encuentra en el parque nacional y reserva Denali, formando parte de la cordillera de Alaska, con 6194 msnm, donde a su vez, se encuentran otras importantes cumbres. A tan solo 3º del círculo polar ártico (63º5'52,34"N), es el "seis mil" más septentrional del mundo. Todas las demás cumbres de más de 6000 m están situadas entre 43ºN y 32ºS. A pesar de ser ya conocido por los nativos, que lo bautizaron como Denali, los primeros hombres blancos que contemplaron el magnífico monte fueron los exploradores de la fiebre del oro, a finales del siglo XIX. Maravillados por su impresionante silueta, no tardaron en organizar expediciones a la cumbre.
Nimble-footed and fearless, Dall sheep, the world's only species of wild white sheep, cling to upper ridges and steep slopes throughout Denali. Males, called rams, have large curling horns that are used in fights.
Sheenjek River Valley with Dall sheep
The Dall sheep, Ovis dalli, is a species of sheep native to northwestern North America, ranging from white to slate brown in color and having curved yellowish brown horns. Its closest relative is the more southern subspecies, Stone sheep (Ovis dalli stonei), which is a slaty brown with some white patches on the rump and inside the hind legs.
Research has shown 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 sheep (Ovis dalli fannini), found in the Pelly Mountains and Ogilvie Mountains of Yukon Territory.
Mitochondrial DNA evidence has shown no molecular division along current subspecies boundaries, although evidence from nuclear DNA may provide some support. Also at the species level, current taxonomy is questionable because hybridization between Ovis dalli and Ovis canadensis has been recorded in recent evolutionary history.
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, to allow 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. 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.
Dall sheep can often be observed along the Alaska Highway at Muncho Lake, along the Seward Highway South of Anchorage, AK. and at Sheep Mountain in Kluane National Park and Reserve, as well as near Faro, Yukon (Fannin's sheep).