October 2017

Bighorn Sheep Capture

Recently, a number of GPS (Global Positioning System) radio-collars were scheduled to drop off of bighorn sheep in the Peninsular Ranges after collecting location data for the past two years. These collars are being retrieved and the California Department of Fish & Wildlife will capture and collar approximately 40 bighorn in early November. Twenty collars will be placed on ewes in the Institute’s study area from Palm Springs to Palm Desert. This is a much-needed addition of radio-collared sheep, especially in the northern Santa Rosa Mountains (NSRM) near Rancho Mirage and Palm Desert. The Recovery Plan for Peninsular Bighorn recommends having 30% of each ewe group radio-collared and currently, only about 10% were collared in the NSRM and 14% in the San Jacinto Mountains near Palm Springs. With the addition of these collars we’ll still be below the recommendation, but it’s an improvement. Radio-collars allow us to track the bighorn and collect data including: herd demography (number of ewes/rams and age structure), reproduction, lamb recruitment, cause of death, and overall herd health and behavior. We’ll let you know about the capture results next month.