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August 2018

Wild Sheep Update

Thankfully, summer is coming to a close and we’re pleased to report that August was a pretty good month for our local desert dwelling bighorn. We’re still seeing lots of lambs running around, albeit in somewhat mixed up groups since the rams are running the ewes all over during the rut (breeding season). It’s easy to get mesmerized by the majestic rams, but we’re focused on trying to identify individual rams as they reintegrate with the ewes to better determine the population. So far so good for the late lamb arrivals this past June and July, but the next few months will be telling for their survival. Regardless, this year’s lamb crop has fared far better than last year’s so things are looking up and we’re looking forward to what the future holds.

Rams in La Quinta

We have received numerous reports recently about the two rams with health concerns on the La Quinta golf courses. One is the ram with the rope around his right hind leg (we have reported on him previously) and another is a ram with abnormally swollen testes. The good news is, both rams are acting normal despite these issues, in fact, both of them are displaying rutting (breeding) behavior and chasing the ewes. The CA Department of Fish and Wildlife has attempted to capture the ram with the rope four times, twice via dart and twice via net gun. The ram alluded capture from the net and the darts failed to tranquilize him. It’s been too hot to try to capture him again, but they may try in the fall. Regardless, his now atrophied leg will not likely recover even if the rope is removed, but these amazing animals are quite adept at adapting and he is pretty agile using primarily three legs (as evidenced by alluding capture).

We have consulted our veterinarians about the ram with the enlarged testes and they

can only guess as to what’s wrong with him. He was like this at least last year and has shown no significant change or decline during this time. Their best guess is a benign tumor or cyst. That said, it’s easy to personify and feel bad for this ram who we think must be in pain, but if animals are eating and drinking and behaving normally, those are indicators that all is well. So, if you see either of these rams acting lethargic, not eating or not interested in the ewes, please give us a call 760-346-7334.

Reminder: Don’t Feed the Sheep

Back in March, we originally ran this story, but apparently, the feeding is as bad as ever. We’ve had a number of reports of people feeding the sheep citrus and other fruit on the golf courses in La Quinta and this is not only dangerous to you, but it’s illegal to feed a federally endangered species. In fact, PGA West is now fining people. Wildlife is best kept wild and feeding the sheep habituates them to humans, which isn’t in their best interest. Once they lose their fear of humans, they can act aggressively. Peninsular bighorn sheep are adapted to live in our harsh desert and while the mountains may not look like they have enough food for them, they do. We appreciate your concern, but please don’t feed the sheep.

Summer Volunteers

It’s been a busy summer and thankfully, we’ve had a lot of help from volunteers! We were able to get a number of projects accomplished around our property including: grading our road, painting the animal supply shed, rescreening sliding glass doors, resealing the office roof, sealing the wood on our lookout tower, converting the office to LED lights, and restructuring our computer system. We had high school and college kids here off and on throughout the summer and we have to hand it to them, they were a tough bunch to brave what’s likely been one of the hottest summer on record while doing a lot of physical labor. We’re very grateful for the help and can only do what we do because of YOU! Thanks to all of our members for your support!

Bighorn Presentation

In mid-August, we gave a presentation to a local Widow and Widowers group on bighorn sheep in the Coachella Valley. It was a great turnout and we appreciate the group hosting us! As usual, this was a nice opportunity for us to educate others about the endangered Peninsular bighorn sheep and the Institute’s conservation efforts. We’re filling in our calendar for the 2018/2019 season so if you’d like us to give your group a presentation, please give us a call at (760) 346-7334 or email us at

Wish List

**we’ve been ticking things off the list, thanks to a generous few, but still need your help!**

computer server - $700 – we are revamping our office computer system with an external server for file safety

office computer - $500 – to replace an old, refurbished computer

new golf cart seat - $300 – we use golf carts for captive herd maintenance, but the sun is damaging to the seats

LED office lights - $240 – we’ve converting our florescent lights to LED’s saves energy & money

trail cameras (3) - $120 each –help monitor the bighorn sheep

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