The Desert Bighorn Sheep is a subspecies only found in the desert regions of the southwestern United States. Listed as a federal endangered species in March of 1998. With the combination of loss of habitat due to urban development drought and disease their numbers and areas of distribution have plummeted in the past 50 years.
The Borrego Desert bighorn sheep reached a low of only 280 animals in 1996. Since being inluded on the federal endangered species list , their numbers have recovered to about 600.
Their coloration allows them to blend almost perfectly into their desert habitat.
During the heat of mid day Bighorns often retire to shaded areas or high spots to lie down and chew their cud.
In heavy drought years these very reclusive animals can be forced into lower elevation areas in search of food and water. This group was foraging just off the established trail in Borrego Palm Canyon.
Desert Bighorns thrive in an environment that is almost waterless and relatively barren of vegetation.
Males are called rams. When mature they fully develop their distinctive spiraled horns.
Females are called ewes. They have horns but don't develop the heavy spiraled shape of a mature ram.
Range: Southwestern United States
Species: Ovis canadensis nelsoni
- Image Size
- 2723x4100 / 2.3MB
- Contained in galleries
- Southern California Inland