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December 2020

The Rut

The rut, or breeding season, typically lasts from July – November for Peninsular bighorn sheep and has come to a close. That said, if the rams and ewes are together during December, there’s nothing stopping the males from going through breeding behavior with the now pregnant females. There have been several groups of rams and ewes together in Palm Springs lately and the rams are still displaying rutting behavior such as chasing, lip-curling and mounting. Regardless, it’s exciting to watch the rams with their powerful presence as they will soon disperse into bachelor groups while the ewes give birth this coming spring. Picture: ram in the middle rears up ready to challenge another ram as a group surrounds a single female facing away.

Drones Stress Sheep

In mid-December, a guy flew his drone around the South Lykken Trail in Palm Springs and chased the sheep (pictured: sheep running from circled drone). This is wrong on multiple levels, but for starters, it’s illegal to harass an endangered species AND it’s illegal to fly drones in the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument. Bighorn sheep like to be above any possible threats so they don’t like low-flying aircraft. Drones are not allowed on most public lands in the valley so make sure you know the rules before taking one out. If you see an incident like this, please report it and help educate others. And please, don’t chase wildlife. We are guests in their homes when we’re out in nature so please act respectfully and responsibly.

Member Hike Hiatus Continues

We are continuing our Member Hike hiatus for the health and safety of all involved. The purpose of our hikes is to look for bighorn sheep and when we spot them, we share spotting scopes to view them. This is not a safe practice right now to have multiple people using the same spotting scopes. Unless something significantly changes with the status of the virus, we likely won’t resume our hikes until next season. We appreciate your understanding and look forward to hiking with you again when it’s safe!

Walk or Ride for the Sheep – VIRTUAL 2021 Tour de Palm Springs

The 2021 Tour de Palm Springs will be virtual this year meaning EVERYONE can participate! YOU can walk or ride for the sheep! The event will take place the entire month of February and you can ride or walk any distance you choose. Registration is $40 and includes a t-shirt and mask. Be sure to enter Bighorn Institute’s charity code BHI21 as we get $10 for each registration! You can also purchase raffle tickets for $1 each for fun prizes or for a $25 raffle ticket you have the chance to win an electric bike valued at $2300! We get 100% of raffle sales. Sign up online or buy raffle tickets:

If you’d rather just donate to the Tour de Palm Springs to support the sheep, you can do that too! To make a donation, visit our pledge page:

Bighorn Sheep Canvas Prints

Want a beautiful bighorn sheep canvas print?! Get yours now for just $100 plus shipping and handling (or pick up at BI for no additional cost). To order a 16” x 20” print, call the office 760-346-7334 or email us at: Your choices are to the left. Please allow for two weeks for processing plus shipping.

Year-End Gift

It’s not too late to make an end-of-the-year contribution! You can donate online at or mail us a check as long as it’s post-marked by December 31st. Bighorn Institute is privately-funded and we strive hard to keep our expenses as low as possible so that your generous gift can go to Peninsular bighorn sheep conservation. Thank you!

Happy New Year!

This year has been an interesting one, to say the least. We’re grateful for our health and safety, the ability to do our jobs this year and the health of the bighorn herds in the valley. Overall, it wasn’t such a bad year as far as the sheep are concerned, although a few more surviving lambs would have been nice. Here’s to a better 2021 and wishing you and yours a safe and healthy Happy New Year!


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