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May 2021

Sheep Expanding Habitat

While the pandemic has been a nightmare for most, some positive has possibly come of it from a wildlife perspective. Bighorn sheep in the San Jacinto Mountains near Palm Springs historically used habitat north of Chino Canyon where the Palm Springs

Aerial Tram is located. There’s a long road leading up the canyon to the tram station. However, when the Peninsular bighorn population drastically dropped in 1996, we didn’t document bighorn movement north of Chino Canyon for years. In 2006, we released three rams north of Chino into Blaisdell Canyon and they were successful utilizing this historic habitat and even mixed with the main herd during the rut. Those rams perished and it wasn’t until a few years ago we received reports of rams north of Chino Canyon, which we confirmed. This was exciting news as the population was on the rise and the sheep were expanding their habitat use. We’ve been wondering if/when ewes might cross Tram Road and move north again and this year, it happened. Several ewes spent some time north of Chino and the reason may have been because Tram Road was closed during this time from the pandemic. Pretty exciting! Although, with the great news that the pandemic is coming to an end, the Tram Road is fully open again so we’ll see if these sheep movements continue. (Pictured: Chino Canyon photo, Tom Brewster)

Lamb Hit Hwy 74

At the beginning of May, a bighorn lamb was hit and killed on Hwy 74 near Vista Point. This is incredibly sad news and we implore everyone to be on the lookout for bighorn as you drive Hwy 74. They are active during the day. This is the third known bighorn to be hit and killed on Hwy 74 so far this year. (Pictured: Bighorn browsing adjacent to Hwy

Public Outreach

This month we gave a bighorn presentation via Zoom to the Rotary Club of La Habra. The virtual presentation was effective in educating the group on our local bighorn sheep population as well as outreach opportunities. We look forward to being able to present in person in the near future! If you’d like a bighorn presentation for your group, give us a call at (760) 346-7334 or email us at

2020 Recovery Champion

On Endangered Species Day, May 21st this year, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) recognized and celebrated our director, Jim DeForge, as a nationally recognized 2020 Recovery Champion! His and the Institute’s contributions and achievements in recovering and conserving Peninsular bighorn sheep were acknowledged as having a significant impact on this endangered species. The USFWS only recognizes one individual and one team in each of its eight regions per year so this is quite an honor. Congratulations, Jim and thank you for personifying passion and dedication!

Waterhole Count Volunteers Wanted

We’re gearing up for our annual waterhole count in late July and are looking for a few local volunteers to brave the desert heat by sitting on waterholes for a couple of days and helping us count sheep. If you’d like more information, please call 760-346-7334 or email

You Can Help

There are plenty of easy and rewarding ways of helping out Bighorn Institute:

*Become a member - Renew your membership - Give a gift membership – it’s all tax-deductible!

*Adopt a bighorn: a unique gift for the person who has everything

*BI Resale Store – donate your small, high-quality items for a tax donation. BI gets 100% of sales at Antique Galleries of Palm Springs.

*CARS Donation Program: Donate a vehicle (car, boat, rv, etc.) to Bighorn Institute via CARS – it’s tax-deductible! CARS donation program | bighorninstitute

*Shop Amazon Smile for Bighorn Institute: we’re all shopping online more so shop for the sheep!

We get a percentage of everything you buy when shopping and choose Bighorn Institute as your charity of choice

*“Like” Bighorn Institute on social media to stay informed and support and promote our work

*Log your sheep sightings in our Bighorn Institute iNaturalist project: instructions here

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