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January 2018

Reminder: Membership Meeting

Bighorn Institute’s Annual Membership Meeting will take place Saturday, February 3rd at 9:00am at the Institute. We’ll talk about our accomplishments in 2017 and plans for 2018. All members are welcome, but please RSVP at 760-346-7334. We hope you can join us!

Local Population Update

For field aging consistency, wild bighorn sheep are aged a year older in January so the

2017 spring lambs are now considered yearlings. There’s good and bad news for the local herds. The good news is, the San Jacinto Mountains herd near Palm Springs increased slightly and there are now approximately 75 adult bighorn in this herd. The bad news is, the northern Santa Rosa Mountains saw around a 20% decrease in the population. There are also around 75 adult bighorn in this herd. The La Quinta herd is presumed to be stable at around 120, per the CA Fish & Wildlife helicopter survey in 2016. Lamb survival was down in all three herds in 2017 so we’ll hope for better lamb recruitment in the coming year.

Lambing Season is Here

January kicks off lambing season for Peninsular bighorn sheep and we can expect to

see lambs being born through June. There have been at least 5 lambs born already in the San Jacinto and northern Santa Rosa Mountains and we’re working hard to check on

the other collared ewes. It’s going to be an interesting year because we documented a number of fall 2017 lambs born in the northern Santa Rosa Mountains near Rancho Mirage/Palm Desert so we’re keeping track of them as well. So far, so good with their survival, but time will tell how they fare. Since these ewes gave birth in the fall, it’s doubtful they’ll give birth again this year, but we will see!

Recent Rain

The new year is off to a good start since we received just over an inch of rain in January

at the Institute. The hills are greening up, which is good news since there are lots of critters taking advantage of the new growth, including the sheep. Spring wildflowers will be here before we know it, especially with this warm weather.

New Interns

We’re excited to partner with La Quinta High School and have two student interns

through the Veterinary Pathway of the Medical Health Academy’s internship program. These kids will be a great help to us in our conservation work and we will mentor them about the sheep, wildlife biology and a potential career in veterinary medicine. It’s a great program in which we’re proud to participate!

Member Hike

We had another successful Member Hike last month as we observed 12 bighorn sheep! Our next Member Hike will be Monday, February 19th at 8:00am. We would love to

have you join us, but 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

Youth Fishing Clinic

Bighorn Institute is partnering with Lake Cahuilla to have an information booth to educate

the kids about the bighorn at their Hooked on Fishing youth fishing clinic on Saturday, February 24th. The clinic is free, open to kids ages 3-15 and CA Fish and Wildlife will teach the kids to fish then loan them a rod to try out their skills. The lake will be stocked with rainbow trout and this will be a fun, free, family event! There are bighorn sheep in the hills surrounding Lake Cahuilla so there’s always a chance we’ll see sheep! For more information, click on the poster.

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