Bighorn Sheep (Ovis Canadensis) - An endangered Population


Bighorn Sheep are listed as an endangered species in the state of California and many efforts are being undertaken to ensure that these magnificent creatures do not become extinct. Bighorn Sheep vulnerability to mountain lion predation is greatest as they attempt to use low elevation winter ranges at the end of gestation and the mountain lions have been taking advantage of the Bighorn Sheep's weakness and preying on the fragile population. Although problems for this species of Bighorn Sheep began with the settling of the west, more recent problems include the above mountain lion problem as well as the contraction of diseases, like pneumonia, from domestic sheep, as well as loss of habitat from creation of roads and development of their natural habitat. These sheep were excessively hunted for their meat, hides, and horns in the 1920's by European hunters. In the Mojave National Preserve, the current estimate for Bighorn Sheep is between 680 and 1075.

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