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January 2021

Reminder: Membership Meeting on Feb. 6th

Bighorn Institute’s Annual Membership Meeting will take place Saturday, February 6th from 8:30am-9:30am. This year our annual meeting will be held virtually over zoom. The link will be provided prior to the meeting. We’ll talk about our accomplishments in 2020 and plans for 2021. We will also elect the Institute’s 2021 Board of Directors. All current members are welcome, but please RSVP at 760-346-7334. We hope you can join us!

Local Population Update

This past year was interesting, to say the least, but the good news is, the sheep carried on oblivious to our pandemic. All of the herds in our study area from Palm Spring to La Quinta increased at least slightly from last year. With the surviving lambs counted as yearlings as of the first of January, there are now approximately 77 adult bighorn in the San Jacinto’s near Palm Springs, approximately 95 adult bighorn in the northern Santa Rosas’s near Rancho Mirage, and around 120 adult bighorn in the central Santa Rosa’s near La Quinta.

Lambs are Here!

The 2021 lambs have arrived!! We are optimistic for a better lambing season this year and have observed newborn lambs in all three study herds from Palm Springs to La Quinta. Lambing season extends from January to June for Peninsular bighorn with most lambs usually born between February and April. We’re in the field daily so we try not to miss documenting any lambs being born. So far, there are just a few lambs in each herd, but lots of pregnant ewes that could give birth any day. If you’re out hiking and see lambs, please give us a call 760-346-7334 or email us at Pictures are always helpful if you have them. Here’s hoping for lots of lambs this year!

Recent Rain

After nine months of no significant rain, we finally got some measurable rainfall in January, but still less than an inch. Fortunately, our incredible desert will produce plentiful vegetation from this small, but important rainfall that will feed the bighorn sheep and other herbivorous critters at least for awhile. Bighorn sheep adapt readily to the dry desert and have been dealing with the months-long lack of moisture most recently by eating barrel cacti. They break open the cacti and eat the succulent center. It will be good for them to have some fresh green-up in the coming weeks, especially as the ewes rear their lambs.

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

It’s not too late to register for the 2021 Tour de Palm Springs! This year is virtual 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:

Are You a Member?

Did you know that Bighorn Institute is a privately-funded nonprofit and we receive no state or federal funding? We have released over 125 captive-reared bighorn into the wild over the past 35 years, kept 2 local bighorn herds from disappearing and monitored the local herds daily, all with private dollars. We also provide vital data to the wildlife agencies to help with the management of the endangered Peninsular bighorn sheep. We rely on the generosity of our members; membership donations are completely tax-deductible and start at just $25/year. If you enjoy this newsletter and learning about the sheep, would you consider becoming a member? Thank you for your support!


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