Reminder: Membership Meeting
Bighorn Institute’s Annual Membership Meeting will take place Saturday, February 2nd at 8:30am at the Institute. We’ll talk about our accomplishments in 2018 and plans for 2019. All current 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 2018 lambs are now considered yearlings. The San Jacinto Mountains herd near Palm Springs increased slightly with a half dozen lambs surviving and there are now approximately 80 adult bighorn in this herd. The northern Santa Rosa Mountains herd near Rancho Mirage saw a decrease in its ram population but had the best lamb survival in years (nearly 20). This herd also grew slightly to about 80 adult bighorn. The La Quinta herd was last estimated at around 120 adult bighorn in 2016. At least 25 lambs survived this past year, but we don’t know waht the overall herd numbers are here since the CA Department of Fish & Wildlife did not conduct their biennial range-wide helicopter survey. This data gap is unfortunate for the recovery of this endangered species, which depends on current population estimates for proper management. The 2016 range-wide Peninsular bighorn population estimate was 780 adult bighorn.
The 2019 lambs have arrived and we’re excited to have lambing season underway! We have documented 4 lambs so far, 3 in the northern Santa Rosa Mountains near Rancho Mirage and 1 in the San Jacinto Mountains near Palm Springs and many other pregnant ewes should give birth in the coming weeks. Lambing season extends from January to June for Peninsular bighorn with most lambs born between February and April. We’re in full-gear with our fieldwork as we intensely monitor the ewes so we don’t miss documenting any lambs that are born as well as those that perish shortly thereafter. We are optimistic for a successful lambing season this year! Pictured to the right, a 2019 NSRM lamb stands in front of its mother.
We’re having great success seeing sheep on our Member Hikes and our next hike will be Monday, February 11th 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Youth Fishing Clinic
Bighorn Institute will have an information booth to educate the kids about the bighorn at Lake Cahuilla’s 3rd Annual youth fishing clinic on Saturday, February 23rd from 8-11am. 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!
Save the Date: Spring Fling
Bighorn Institute’s Spring Fling fundraiser will be Thursday, April 4th at Stone Eagle Golf Club and we hope you will join us! Mark your calendars and stay tuned for details!
“Sheep on the Brink” Coming Soon!
BI President, Mike Rivkin, has written a great new book titled “Sheep on the Brink,” which talks about the history of Bighorn Institute and the plight of the Peninsular bighorn sheep. They will arrive any day now and these 8x8 color paperbacks are filled with over 50 photos of bighorn sheep while telling the story of who we are, how we got here, and where we go from here. They’ll be available for purchase soon!
'State of the Sheep': Coachella Valley's Peninsular bighorn are doing all right