In early July, we conducted a waterhole count in the northern Santa Rosa Mountains (NSRM) along with the help of a great group of volunteers! While this year’s high temperatures of 101 degrees paled in comparison to last year’s whopping 117, it’s no easy feat sitting out in the heat all day so we’re extremely grateful to all who came out! Now for the numbers, we saw a total of 72 sheep resulting in a population estimate of 74 + 20 adult bighorn, which correlates well with our fieldwork estimate of 80 adult bighorn. There are at least 19 lambs still running around, which is fantastic for mid-summer and most looked healthy. A few interesting highlights included a ram with a healed broken ankle who’s getting around well, a ewe that recently lost a horn and a new young lamb. So, things are looking good in the NSRM and the waterhole count proved a valuable tool to confirm what we’ve been seeing in the field. If you’d like to participate in next year’s waterhole count in July, let us know!
SMaRT Class at BI
Students from the SMaRT (Science Math and Robotic Technology) education class came to visit the Institute in early July to learn about the bighorn sheep. It was a small, but inquisitive group that was anxious to learn about our desert’s largest endangered mammal. Education is an important part of our mission so we welcome opportunities to teach up-and-coming scientists and environmentalists!
In mid-July, at the request of Councilman Richard Kite the Institute gave a brief
presentation at the Rancho Mirage council meeting. The city supports a number of nonprofits and they are taking time to highlight one during certain meetings and Bighorn Institute was fortunate to be able to participate and further spread the word about our work. Rancho Mirage is one of the most conservation-minded cities in the valley. We’ve had a great partnership with them for 30 years. They take their ram logo seriously and work hard to ensure a future for the sheep. Thank you, Rancho Mirage!
The two rams with “issues,” a ram with a rope around his hind leg and a ram with significantly enlarged testes are back at PGA West and still doing well, despite their
outward appearances. The ram with the rope eluded capture multiple times last summer and has obviously done fine in the past year, although if CA Fish and Wildlife were able to capture him to remove the rope, they certainly would. This past fall, we saw the ram with enlarged testes on top of a mountain maneuvering amazingly well over the terrain. And, as we mentioned in our Waterhole Count story, there is a ram who sustained a broken foot that has since healed and he is doing well. These animals are incredibly resilient and can overcome significant odds to survive.
Join Us August 21
Marker Broadcasting, Kool 95.9 and Solano’s Bar and Grill are hosting Bighorn Institute
for the August 21st Wine Down Wednesday event! Join us from 5-7pm for wine tastings and appetizers and your $12 fee will benefit the bighorn! Solano’s address is 37029 Cook Street in Palm Desert so tell your friends, family, coworkers and anyone else who loves the sheep to come join us! We’re excited to be the recipient of this fundraiser; hope to see you there!