Monthly Update October 2022


It’s Almost Time!

We’re less than a month away from celebrating our 40th Anniversary Annual Party and Golf Classic with you! You should have received your invitation for this not-to-be-missed event taking place Sunday and Monday, November 20th and 21st. If you’re unable to join us for either event, but would like to support the sheep, sponsorships are available or you can make a donation. Your gift would be tremendously appreciated! This is the Institute’s primary fundraiser so we hope you will participate in some capacity! If you didn’t receive an invitation, you can click the photo for a printable copy. For more information, please call the office 760-346-7334. Thank you and we can’t wait to see you!




La Quinta Fence Underway

In late October, fence construction FINALLY began at PGA West! This section of the fence starts at the terminus of the SilverRock fence to the north and will extend south around Lake Cahuilla. We’ve been told this section may take 1 ½ years to build. We’re just happy it’s finally started, albeit 6 ½ years after the state and federal wildlife agencies mandated it should be completed. We don’t expect immediate results for the sheep since the fence construction is a process, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction!

(Fence construction along the canal at PGA West and starting uphill. Look closely above the sand, it blends in. Photo: Anne Cheung)


Ewes Cross Ranges First Time

At the end October, for the first time, we have documented a ewe traveling north at least 15 miles, as the crow flies, from Carrizo Canyon in the northern Santa Rosa Mountains near Palm Desert to Tachevah Canyon in the San Jacinto Mountains near Palm Springs! This is incredible on many levels, mainly because it opens up possibilities for herd expansion and interaction,

particularly if she brings other sheep with her in the future.

This ewe has been known to travel beyond her “normal” area, but this was unprecedented since she went from the southern tip of her range in Palm Desert to nearly the northern tip of the other range in Palm Springs. It’s possible unmarked ewes have made this voyage before, but this is the first a radio-collared ewe has done it so we now have the data to prove it!


Not to be outdone, this ewe’s herd mate also made a first-time trip to an adjacent range. The other radio-collared ewe from Carrizo Canyon crossed Highway 74 over to Deep Canyon. Many sheep have crossed back and forth across Highway 74 in recent years, but for some reason, this ewe hadn’t in the two years since she’s been collared. While interesting, it’s also dangerous as sheep have succumb to auto collisions on this treacherous road. She’s back safe in the Carrizo area now while the other ewe continues to frolic with the sheep in the San Jacinto’s. Exciting stuff!


Sudden Deaths

There were four sheep deaths in La Quinta at PGA West and Lake Cahuilla within a two week period from the end of September into mid October, one ram and three ewes. The ram may have succumbed to a toxin as he stumbled around then died suddenly and appeared healthy otherwise. We observed a radio-collared ewe alive and well and the next day she was dead from unknown causes. CA Fish and Wildlife collected the carcasses so hopefully, we’ll learn more from tissue samples sent to the lab for testing. We’re concerned with the number of mortalities in the short time period so we’ll let you know when we learn more.




Presentation at CSUSB

In early October, we gave a talk for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at the Cal State University San Bernardino campus in Palm Desert (CSUSB). Thank you to all who attended and to CSUSB for having us! If you would like a bighorn sheep presentation for a group meeting, give us a call (760-346-7334) or email us (bi@bighorninstitute.org); we’d love to come talk to you!






Disease Paper Published-BI Coauthor

Over the past couple of years, we’ve been working collaboratively with UC Davis and the CA Fish and Wildlife to publish a paper on disease prevalence and monitoring in Peninsular bighorn sheep. The paper was recently published in the Conservation Science and Practice journal with Jim and Aimee as co-authors and is titled “Pathogen surveillance and epidemiology in endangered peninsular bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis nelsoni).” You can read the article here: https://conbio.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/csp2.12820







Are You Shopping for the Sheep?


Did you know you can support the sheep while you shop? Most of us shop on Amazon and if you shop at smile.amazon.com and choose Bighorn Institute as your charity of choice we get a percentage of your purchases! Get your groceries at Ralph’s? Simply create a digital account then link your shoppers card to Bighorn Institute in their Community Contribution Program and earn money for the sheep every time you shop! To enroll with Ralph’s visit https://www.ralphs.com/i/community/community-contribution-program



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