Bighorn Institute’s 34th Annual Party and Golf Classic took place November 21st & 22nd and was a wonderful success! The two-day event was held at the exclusive Stone Eagle Golf Club and did not disappoint! With a sold-out crowd, Annual Party guests enjoyed a delightful dinner at The Aerie restaurant, unobstructed views of the valley and were treated to a golden full moon rise. Silent auction bidding kept many busy after a sheep update and the evening culminated with an exciting live auction.
On Monday morning, Dave Stockton and the other golf legends gave a professional’s clinic before sending the golfers out on the course. All of the golfers seemed to enjoy their day and we would like to congratulate this year’s winners.(L to R in photo: pro Al Geiberger, Marc Ostrofsky, John Beury, Kelle Simon, Bruce McPherson, host and pro Dave Stockton)
Thank you to all of the participants, golf pros, donors, and volunteers who helped make this year’s fundraiser a success! A special thanks to Stone Eagle Golf Club for having us and Dave Stockton for hosting the tournament.
On November 2nd, the California Department of Fish and Game captured and radio-collared three sheep in the San Jacinto Mountains near Palm Springs and five sheep in the central Santa Rosa’s south of La Quinta. There have been a number of mortalities in recent years so this collaring effort was to replace some of those collared sheep in an effort to maintain the Recovery Plan’s recommendation of collaring 30% of the ewe population. (Pictured: a ewe wearing a GPS collar.)
The California Department of Fish and Game (CDFW) is supposed to do range-wide helicopter surveys biennially to provide population estimates on the endangered Peninsular bighorn sheep found from Palm Springs to the Mexican border. The last range-wide survey was conducted in 2016 and CDFW has had issues with the helicopter contract or funding for most of the past decade. Since 2010, when CDFW took over the surveys they have only conducted two surveys, one in 2010 and one in 2016. Bighorn Institute paid for and conducted helicopter surveys annually from 1982-2009. These missed surveys are unfortunately providing mere bighorn population estimates at a point in time rather than allowing us to see potential patterns and trends in the population, which is necessary as the wildlife agencies consider downlisting the species in the future from endangered to threatened. We’ve been told and are hopeful that the survey will happen in 2022.
In mid-November, Oswit Land Trust threw a party to celebrate the community coming together and buying Oswit Canyon land slated for development. We took the opportunity to bestow a conservation award on Jane Garrison for her work in spearheading the effort. The canyon is located in Palm Springs near the South Lykken trail and is home to a variety of desert flora and fauna, including the endangered Peninsular bighorn sheep. We’re grateful for people like Jane and this conservation community who care so deeply for our desert and the plants and animals that call it home. (Photo from OLT Facebook page.)
The rut, or breeding season, for Peninsular bighorn has officially ended for this year, although you’ll have to tell that to the rams. They’ll continue to pursue ewes if opportunities present themselves, especially the young ones. While the rut typically extends from August through November, technically, ewes can be bred at any time if they’re in estrous (heat). This year, we had a few late lamb births so that goes to show the rams aren’t being run by a calendar. It’s been a decent year for lamb survival this year in much of the range, but we’re anxious to see what this breeding season produces. Stay tuned! (Pictured: a ram does a lip curl on a ewe to see if she's in estrous.)
Our next Member Hike will be Thursday, December 9th and we would love to have you join us. Space is limited, no dogs, and you must RSVP for this first come first served hike. To sign up or for more information, please call us at 760-346-7334 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Looking for a Christmas Gift?
Need a special gift for the person who has everything? Here are some ideas and the best part is that the proceeds go directly to helping the endangered bighorn sheep! It truly is a gift that keeps on giving. So, if you have been racking your brain, trying to think of something truly unique and memorable to get your loved one this Christmas, look no further, we’ve got you covered:
Give a gift membership to the Institute – memberships start at just $25/year, are tax-deductible & they can join our member hikes!
Adopt a Bighorn – $100 for a lamb, $150 for a ewe or ram: www.bighorninstitute.org/adopt-a-bighorn
Bighorn Sheep Canvas Prints - $100 plus shipping and handling with the choice of a ram or ewe and lamb print
Feed the captive herd for a week - $150 (donation only-not actual feeding)
Help track radio-collared bighorn for a month - $500 (donation only – not actual monitoring)
Contribute to the Field Jeep fund – our field Jeep was totaled in a fire in August and we need another one to help us conduct our fieldwork.
To donate, please email (email@example.com) or call us at 760-346-7334.