The sheep suffered two more losses in La Quinta at the end of July and early August. A ram drowned in Lake Cahuilla and a ewe was found expired on a homeowner’s patio in PGA West. Both animals were collected by CA Fish and Wildlife and taken to the state lab for necropsy. We’re especially curious about the cause of death for the ewe so we’ll keep you posted when we receive the results. Both of these deaths likely would have been prevented with a fence in place to keep the sheep away from urban perils. While the fence around PGA West and Lake Cahuilla has finally been approved, we don’t know when construction might start. It can’t come soon enough. Twenty-two sheep have now died in the La Quinta urban areas since the fence was required by the wildlife agencies in February 2014 and was supposed to be built within two years.
Sheep in Rancho Mirage
Mid-August was a crazy time for sheep in Rancho Mirage. There were two separate incidents of bighorn sheep on the urban-side of the fence just days apart. There is a flood panel on the fence in Cathedral Canyon that is being illegally propped open daily allowing sheep access to the urban areas of Rancho Mirage. This has been an ongoing issue for years so we’re working with the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and Cathedral City to install a pedestrian gate that will allow hiker access while keeping the sheep in the mountains. As usual, there is some red tape, but the USFWS and city are ready and willing to move forward as quickly as possible to remedy the situation. We’re grateful to Mirage Cove residents, Rancho Mirage Animal Control and Porcupine Creek staff for their invaluable assistance in getting the sheep back to the habitat-side of the fence.
Wine Down Wednesday a Success
Bighorn Institute was the charity recipient of Kool 95.9’s Wine Down Wednesday fundraiser August 21st at Solano’s Bar and Grill in Palm Desert. We had a great turnout with around 80 people enjoying good company, wine and appetizers. Thanks to all who came out to support the sheep!
New Trail Restrictions for Dogs in PS
Palm Springs has finally become compliant with the 2008 Coachella Valley Multiple-Species Habitat Conservation Plan (CVMSHCP) by restricting dogs from bighorn sheep habitat. All of the valley cities signed off on the CVMSHCP, which includes a Trails Plan that prohibits dogs on trails in sheep habitat for the protection of the endangered Peninsular bighorn sheep. Other valley cities have changed their trail regulations accordingly, but Palm Springs hadn’t addressed the issue until now. Dogs are no longer allowed on four hiking trails: South Lykken, North Lyyken, Museum or Araby Trails. There were more hikers and dogs than ever this winter and spring on the Palm Springs trails. We’re pleased that Palm Springs has revised their trail policies to align with the Trails Plan and believe this restriction will help the sheep herd in the San Jacinto Mountains adjacent to Palm Springs. There are no lambs in the San Jacinto’s this year and this is the first year in nearly 30 years of monitoring that we have seen a complete lack of lambing success. We don’t know why, but we do know that dogs are an added stress to bighorn sheep in an already harsh environment.
Save the Date: Annual Party and Golf Classic
The 2019 Annual Party and Golf Classic fundraiser will take place November 17 & 18 at Stone Eagle Golf Club! This is the Institute’s primary fundraiser and it’s an event not to be missed! We’re starting to collect auction items so if you have anything to donate please give us a call 760-346-7334, nothing is too small! Invitations will be mailed by early October so mark your calendars for this fabulously fun event supporting the endangered Peninsular bighorn!
More fencing possible in La Quinta to protect bighorn sheep
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.