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August 2016

Released Ewe a Success!

We are thrilled to report that the ewe we released in early April is finally considered a success since she has been in the wild for at least 4 months! Bighorn Institute has now released 127 bighorn sheep into the wild since 1985, which has kept 2 local herds from disappearing. We have worked hard to see this ewe at least once a week post-release and she has acclimated well to her new environment. She was recently seen with other sheep, including rams. We are hopeful that she will mate successfully this year and contribute to recovery with her offspring.

The Rut is Underway

Since mid to late-July, rams have been making their way out of the backcountry and are joining up with ewe groups. Peninsular bighorn rams can weigh 200 pounds but may lose as much as 25% of their body weight traveling miles during the rut searching for ewes to breed. The rut, or breeding season, will continue through November and is certainly an exciting time of year. Rams have horn clashing contests to win breeding rights since dominant rams do most of the breeding. Bighorn sheep are polygamous so one ram will breed multiple ewes. While it’s a thrill to watch the rams in all their glory, the true excitement of the season is the hope for new life the following spring.

Rams Stuck in Morongo Mud

Around the middle of August, Bighorn Institute received reports of three different yearling rams stuck in a mud hole in Big Morongo Preserve on three separate occasions. The rams appeared to have fallen into the mud as they attempted to drink from a small pool of water in a large mud hole. Thanks to concerned Morongo Preserve staff each bighorn was freed from the mud safely.

This was a unique situation in which young rams made some bad decisions. They were likely away from the rest of the adults trying to take advantage of a risky water source. Hopefully, the stress they endured will prevent them from repeating this mistake. Meanwhile, Morongo staff is working with Bureau of Land Management to see about the possibility of a guzzler near the base of the mountain. We’re glad there was a happy ending, thanks to Big Morongo Preserve staff.

Membership Hike

Summer is coming to a close and the days will be cooling down so we will resume our monthly hikes for members in September. These special hikes feature one of our biologists taking a limited number of members out to look for bighorn sheep. Our next Bighorn Hike for Members will be Friday September 9th at 8:00am and we’d love to have you join us. Membership starts at just $25/year and is completely tax-deductible. Space is limited, no dogs, and you must RSVP for this first come first served hike. To sign up or for more information, please call us at 760-346-7334 or email us at

Save the Date: 2016 Fundraiser

Bighorn Institute’s Annual Party and Golf Classic will take place November 20th & 21st. This year’s entire event will take place at the exclusive Stone Eagle Golf Club. With their newly built Aerie restaurant, this venue is sure to wow with amazing views of our beautiful Santa Rosa Mountains. Please mark your calendars and look for invitations by early October.

Auction Items Needed

Do you have sports tickets, a condo, a boat, or any other exciting items you would consider donating to our annual fundraiser? We’re always looking for fun and exciting new auction items for our Annual Party live and silent auctions. Don’t have a “big” item but would like to help? Fantastic! We’d love to include your gift; all donated items are completely tax-deductible. The Institute’s 2016 Annual Party and Golf Classic will take place November 20th & 21st and supports our conservation efforts for the endangered Peninsular bighorn sheep. Please help us make this year’s event a huge success for the sheep! To donate please call 760-346-7334.

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