In early June, we participated in the 7th Annual World Environment Day in Palm Springs, which had a great turnout! We had an information booth about the bighorn along with other vendors and environmental educators at this fabulously fun event! We look forward to joining them again next year and hope you will, too!
We’re gearing up for our waterhole count in early July and have a great group of volunteers ready to count sheep! We’ll let you know the results in our next newsletter so stay tuned!
Please Don’t Interfere with Wildlife
We had a most unfortunate incident in June that involved a PGA West family taking a newborn lamb into their home overnight because they believed it had been abandoned by its mother. They then tried to bring it to the Living Desert the next morning, but the state and federal wildlife agencies intervened and we were able to reunite this baby with its mother. Many well-meaning people collect wildlife not knowing what else to do, but these residents called the Institute after taking the lamb and were told to put it back where they found it so its mother could find it. Ewes and lambs vocalize (call) to one another when they become separated and inevitably find each other. If you’re not sure what to do, call an expert, but more importantly, follow their advice if they tell you to leave the animal alone and let nature take its course, especially if the animal is a federally protected endangered species.
Last of the Lambs
With the close of June, lambing season has ended for Peninsular bighorn sheep in the valley. We have not seen any new lambs in the mountains near Palm Springs and the few that were born there this year are gone. We have never had a total lack of lamb recruitment in that range since we began been monitoring this herd in 1992. There haven’t been any additional new lambs in the northern Santa Rosa Mountains near Rancho Mirage/Palm Desert, but there are a few youngsters born in May on the La Quinta golf courses. Now that lambing season is over, the true test is how many will survive. We’ll keep tracking the herds closely to see how this year’s lambs fare.
iNaturalist a Helpful Tool
We’ve been asking folks to log their sheep sightings in our Bighorn Institute project in the iNaturalist database to help us keep track of the herds and to show others where there are sheep. Well, sometimes this tool can prove very helpful as we try to track a predominantly uncollared herd. In mid-June, a hiker saw bighorn sheep in Palm Canyon in Palm Springs, which in and of itself is a very interesting documentation since sheep used the canyon historically, but now more seasonally. However, even more exciting was the fact that a ewe that no longer wears a collar (it dropped off as scheduled), but still has her eartags was with the other unmarked sheep, so we were able to see that she is alive and well. We hadn’t seen her since late March so it’s sightings like these that are really helpful! The iNaturalist tool is free to use on your phone or your computer. Click the flyer for more details on how to log a sheep sighting and thank you, in advance for your help!
BI Books Available!
Available at Bighorn Institute, The Living Desert and the Santa Rosa & San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Visitor Center. All proceeds benefit the Institute. Contact 760-346-7334 to pick up your copy for $20.