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Article on Bighorn sheep in the Los Padres

"......The Sespe Wilderness lies within the Western Transverse Range, and is the westernmost range for desert bighorn sheep in the western U.S. Over the last century this mysterious bighorn herd endured a bit of everything in this arid environment.
How many desert bighorn sheep reside in this wilderness is anyone’s guess. For many years the situation appeared bleak; a reintroduced herd totaling 37 bighorn from the San Gabriel Mountains 60 miles east of the Sespe was supposed to re-establish desert bighorn in this region for the first time since 1914. That was in 1985 and 1987, the then-California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG, now California Department of Fish and Wildlife, CDFW) making it a priority to bring the desert bighorn back to its historic range.
After the release of the reintroduced herd, those transplanted animals ran into several obstacles immediately following their helicopter drops. Powerful wind storms scattered the bewildered bighorn. That region of the Sespe was also overgrown with vegetation 20 feet tall in some areas, forcing the bighorn to run blindly into awaiting predators, mainly mountain lions. The heavy vegetation also didn’t allow for new growth of grasses and sages vital for their browsing. The reintroduced bighorn were fitted with radio collars, but by 1995 those radio collars fell silent......
The burn has already enabled survey crews to get a better read on the existing population. A survey in November 2012 revealed the largest number of bighorn ever seen since the initial reintroduction in the 1980s. A total of 64 sheep looking healthy and thriving was benefiting from the wide-open terrain and new growth. The survey was conducted by two CDFW biologists, volunteers and Los Padres Outfitters who supplied the mule pack train..."
David R

I met the survey team last year in May by Mutau Flat and was surprised to learn that there were bighorn in the Los Padres.. They told me that the bighorn frequently congregate near the hot springs. I had just hiked San Rafael and they said that would be a prime viewing spot for the bighorns. They apparently didn't know that the peak was hiked and I gave them my map and beta how to get there for future recon. Forum Index -> Flora & Fauna & Fungi
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