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February 2024

Membership Meeting

Bighorn Institute’s Annual Membership Meeting took place February 3rd at the Institute and we had a great group of members join us! We reviewed our accomplishments in 2023, plans for 2024 and elected the Board of Directors. We want to welcome new board member, local veterinarian Dr. Jerry Bausman, and thank everyone that was able to join us!


*A ram eats ocotillo



Lambing Season Going Strong

We documented many new lambs this month in all three of our study herds.  There are now around 10 lambs in the San Jacinto Mountains herd near Palm Springs and nearly 20 lambs in the northern Santa Rosa Mountains herd near Palm Desert/Rancho Mirage and in the central Santa Rosa Mountains herd near La Quinta.  We hope to see many more lambs this season and will keep you posted.  Please let us know if you see lambs when you’re out hiking since most of the ewes are unmarked.  You can call 760-346-7334 or email us at bi@bighorninstitute.org. However, please don’t post on social media where you see lambs as it often attracts others and too many people can be stressful to the ewes with their newborns.

 





Update on the “Palm Springs” Ewe

Last month, we talked about a collared ewe that typically lives in the San Jacinto Mountains near Palm Springs bringing her one week old lamb over 10 miles to the Rancho Mirage area to join a nursery group.  They’re doing well and have been with the same nursery group all month traveling around with them and learning about their new habitat.  Her lamb is now 1 ½ months old and is growing quickly.  They’ve been in a nursery group that has 8 lambs.  The younger ewes or subordinate sheep often babysit while the older ewes browse farther away.  Earlier this month, many of the mothers were browsing very low near a wash bottom, but a couple of ewes were on top of the mountain above them babysitting the lambs.  We’ll keep you informed on this “Palm Springs” ewe and her lamb’s progress and see if and when they travel back to the San Jacinto’s.


*The "Palm Springs" ewe & her lamb stand center with other ewes and lambs bedded






Desert Learning Academy at BI

Early this month, we had a small group of 7th grade science students from Desert Learning Academy at the Institute for a bighorn presentation. It was a great group of students and we always enjoy teaching kids about the sheep.  We don’t usually host groups at our facility, but make occasional exceptions for small school groups. If you would like a bighorn sheep presentation for your group, give us a call (760-346-7334) or email us (bi@bighorninstitute.org); we’d love to come talk to you! 


*A group of students look for the captive herd




Upcoming Events

On Saturday, March 9th, we will be hosting our third annual Breakfast with the Bighorn fundraiser at the Institute! This casual morning mixer will include a catered breakfast and will be a great time to mingle with fellow members and hopefully, see the sheep!  Space is limited, but we have a few spots left.  RSVP by March 1st.


Save the date for our 2024 Spring Fling fundraiser to be held on Tuesday, April 16th at Stone Eagle Golf Club. Invitations will be mailed out in March, but please mark your calendars and we hope you’ll join us!





Member Hike

Our February Member Hike was a success and we saw 11 sheep up close as well as a large group of ewes and lambs through the spotting scope!  Our next Member Hike will be held on Friday, March 22nd and will likely be moderately strenuous (up to 1,000 ft. elevation gain). 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 bi@bighorninstitute.org.


*A few ewes on the Member Hike




Wish List

2 pairs of binoculars - $500 - for Conservation Assistants and volunteers

Reupholster golf cart seat - $400 –we only use electric golf carts on our property to minimize  

             disturbance to our captive herd of sheep and they take a beating from the weather             

             and our dirt roads.

 

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