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July 2021

Save the Date: 2021 Fall Fundraiser

The 2021 Annual Party and Golf Classic will take place on Sunday and Monday, November 21st and 22nd at Stone Eagle Golf Club. This is the Institute’s primary fundraiser and is an event you don’t want to miss! We’re excited to see you so mark your calendars and plan to join us! All proceeds benefit the endangered Peninsular bighorn.

Waterhole Count Results

In late July, Bighorn Institute and a team of dedicated volunteers successfully conducted our annual waterhole count in the northern Santa Rosa Mountains. Our participants braved two full days of extreme heat with temperatures reaching 111° and high humidity in an effort to count sheep coming in to drink. Desert bighorn can go up to three days in over 100° temperatures without drinking water, which is why we do the count in the heat of summer. We saw 65 sheep, including 21 lambs. Lamb survival is double compared to last year at this time which is encouraging for the population. We did the count a couple weeks later this year hoping to catch more rams, but that didn’t happen. However, timing was everything this year because Magnesia Pond would have been buried in sand from flash floods had we waited one more week (story below). Thanks to our amazing volunteers who helped make this year’s waterhole count a success!

Magnesia Pond

Rain can be a blessing or a curse in the desert. We desperately need it, but if it comes too hard too fast, it floods. This is exactly what happened in late July. We finally got some rain (1/3” at the Institute), but flash floods buried Magnesia Pond in sand, which was a surreal sight to see. This pond is a vital water source for the sheep and was one of the waterholes we surveyed during our waterhole count in July. We assessed the damage, did some digging and called for help. Porcupine Creek provides the water for this pond and they help maintain it. While they sustained rain damage on their property, the team at Porcupine Creek dropped everything to fix Magnesia Pond and make sure the sheep had water. They had the pond restored in just two days! Thanks, Porcupine Creek, for all you do for the sheep!

*Photo on the left pond covered in sand and photo on the right the pond restored

Wine Down Wednesday

We had a wonderful Wine Down Wednesday fundraiser on July 28th at Shogun Restaurant in Palm Desert! It was a packed house and everyone enjoyed great food, wine and raffle prizes! Thanks to all who came out to support the sheep! A special thank you to Meg and Todd Marker, Marker Broadcasting and KOOL 95.9 for hosting the event!

Outreach and Education

In early July, we gave a bighorn presentation to the residents at The Palms in La Quinta. This was the first in-person presentation we’ve given in over a year and it was great! It was nice to have personal interaction with the attendees. We look forward to speaking to more groups in the future. If you’d like a bighorn presentation for your group, give us a call at (760) 346-7334 or email us at

Remembering Val Geist

In early July, the community dedicated to the conservation of wild sheep lost a legend, Dr. Valerius Geist, at age 83. While best known for his mountain sheep writings, his seven guiding principles known as the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation helped to establish the early methods of ecology and his teachings have transformed the views of environmentalism. The mountain sheep community will always remember Val as an icon, an authority of biology, a renowned educator, author, devoted environmentalist and friend.

CARS Donation Program

Have a car, boat, rv, or other vehicle you don’t need? You can donate it to Bighorn Institute via CARS and it’s tax-deductible! This is a nationwide program so you don’t have to be in California to donate! Donating is easy and your vehicle doesn’t even have to run. Just click CARS donation program | bighorninstitute or call 855-500-7433 and CARS does all the work to make donating hassle-free! This is another great way to support the sheep so please spread the word!

Need a Cool Gift? Adopt-a-Bighorn!

Need a unique gift or just want to support the sheep? You can Adopt-a-Bighorn. Lambs are $100 and a ewe or ram is $150 each. Adoptions include a certificate, a 4x6 color photograph of your sheep, a bighorn sheep fact sheet, a year’s subscription to our e-newsletter, and a year’s membership with the Institute. All adoptions are 100% tax-deductible! Visit our website to adopt-a-bighorn:

Recent News:

Historic Fourth of July bighorn sheep count postponed after desert hiker's death. Click here to read.


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