Other Ways You Can Help

Minimize Your Impact When in Desert Bighorn Habitat

Peninsular bighorn are on the edge of extinction and your cooperation is needed to ensure their long-term survival. To help preserve our wilderness heritage and minimize your impact on bighorn sheep, we ask that you follow some of the simple guidelines below when entering bighorn habitat. Please respect all voluntary and mandatory trail closures. You may contact the California Department of Fish and Game, Bureau of Land Management, or Bighorn Institute for a current list of local trail closures.

  • Dogs are seen as dangerous predators by bighorn sheep and can cause them to flee from important feeding and watering sites. Because of this, we suggest that you do not take your dog into bighorn sheep habitat.

  • Bighorn sheep are wilderness animals. Alarming bighorn can stress them, causing their heart rate and energy expenditure to increase. Chronic stress weakens the immune system and renders bighorn more susceptible to disease. Consequently, it is vital to the recovery process that we minimize disturbance to bighorn sheep.

  • Avoid trail use in bighorn lambing areas during lambing season (January 1 through June 30). State and federal agencies are evaluating trails in Peninsular bighorn habitat and may be posting closure dates on some trails. Please respect all trail closures. Safe, undisturbed lambing areas are critical for the survival of young bighorn sheep because lambs rely on escape terrain or steep rocky areas for protection from predators. When a disturbance causes them to leave these safe areas, bighorn are more vulnerable to predation by coyotes and mountain lions. Repeated disturbance can cause bighorn to abandon use of important lambing areas or watering sites.

  • Don't short-cut trails and create new impacts. Maintained trails serve to keep the traveler on course and prevent disturbance in new areas.

  • Avoid camping or lingering next to riparian areas, springs, or other water sources vital to desert wildlife, especially during drought conditions. Impacts from hiking, biking and equestrian use can be particularly heavy around water sources, and can foul the water and strip vegetation.

  • Assume an attitude of respect for the wilderness and remember, you want to Leave No Trace of your travels.

Successful wildlife conservation requires the cooperation and support of the whole community.

 

Become a Volunteer

Want to learn more about the plight of Peninsular bighorn sheep and put your talents to good use? Why not become a volunteer and provide greatly needed assistance to the BI staff. Volunteer opportunities include general administrative support (answering phones, data entry, filing, newsletter mailings), captive herd maintenance (feeding and cleaning enclosures), and fundraising support (coordinating events, grant proposals, letter writing). Contact Bighorn Institute at (760)346-7334 or email us at bi@bighorninstitute.org for more information.

 

Stay Informed and Write Your Representatives

Habitat loss and fragmentation are recognized as the most significant threats facing bighorn sheep today. If we want to preserve Peninsular bighorn sheep for generations to come it is imperative to preserve their habitat as well. Be aware of the issues surrounding development in bighorn habitat and urge your representatives to consider the impacts of proposed projects on bighorn sheep when making land use decisions.