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May 2023

Palm Springs Ram Goes North

In early May, we documented a very exciting sheep movement; one of the collared rams travelled over 4 miles north of Chino Canyon (northern extent of current sheep use) to Blaisdell Canyon! This is historic sheep habitat that we attempted to repopulate with three young rams back in 2006 and were successful until they ultimately perished after a couple of years. It’s been 15 years since we’ve seen sheep in Blaisdell Canyon and we’re encouraged that rams are expanding their range into this area. We will continue to monitor this ram to see how long he stays in this area and if he has other rams with him in the future.


Urban Lamb Deaths

Unfortunately, two lambs died this month in La Quinta at PGA West. In early May, a lamb was found dead next to a pool in PGA West, having possibly drowned and been removed from the pool. Lab results showed active pneumonia as the primary cause of death, despite its likely drowning. In mid-May, a lamb was found struggling to get up and it passed away by early morning. Unfortunately, someone disposed of the carcass before CA Fish and Wildlife could collect it so we don’t know the cause of death. Forty-nine known sheep have now died in the La Quinta urban area since a bighorn exclusion fence was mandated in 2014. There are a number of sick lambs in La Quinta again this year, many of which could perish. Fence construction was halted during lambing season and is scheduled to continue in the fall, none too soon.

*A sick lamb in La Quinta



Sheep in the Streets

In the past few years, bighorn sheep in the San Jacinto Mountains near Palm Springs have begun using the urban area like never before. Drought may have played a role previously, but not this year. Vegetation is abundant and water is plentiful, but the sheep have been coming down to O’Donnell Golf Course on occasion and at the end of the month, they were running in the streets just west of Palm Canyon, the major roadway through Palm Springs. This behavior compromises their fitness and is a danger to themselves and to motorists. We’ve finally made progress to recover this herd, but their use of the urban fringe could be their downfall. Hopefully, the wildlife agencies will get ahead of this issue soon.


*Two of a group of around 15 sheep that crossed the street in Palm Springs at the end of May (photo from Facebook - Jason Corbin)



Wine Down Wednesday

Join us for a Wine Down Wednesday FUNdraiser June 7th from 5-7 PM at Wildest on El Paseo to support the sheep! Hosted by Marker Broadcasting, KOOL 95.9 and Q102.3, this fun mixer features wine tasting and appetizers for just $15 (cash only)! We’ll also have a raffle with great prizes so hope to see you there! All proceeds benefit the bighorn!




Waterhole Count Volunteers Wanted

We’re gearing up for our annual waterhole count in early 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 bi@bighorninstitute.org.



*sheep drink from a waterhole in the range


Outreach and Education

We gave two bighorn sheep presentations in May; one for Sensei Porcupine Creek and another for the American Association of University Women. We would like to thank them for inviting us and for their interest in our local bighorn! If you would like a bighorn sheep presentation for your group, give us a call at 760-346-7334 or email us at bi@bighorninstitute.org ; we’d love to come talk to you!




Adopt-a-Bighorn

Need a unique Father’s day gift or just want to support the sheep? You can Adopt-a-Bighorn! Lambs are $100, ewes and rams are $150 each. Adoptions include a certificate, a 4x6 color photograph of your endangered Peninsular bighorn 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: https://www.bighorninstitute.org/adopt-a-bighorn

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