Utah creates first desert bighorn nursery

SkyRider Wilderness Ranch will serve as a nursery for desert bighorn sheep in Utah.
Credit: Courtesy Young Living

The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources is partnering with the organization Young Living to create the state’s first “nursery” for desert bighorn sheep an effort to help grow the population. The nursery will be located on about 1,800 acres on the SkyRider Wilderness Ranch in Duchesne County, in northeastern Utah. Antelope Island has served as a nursery herd for Rocky Mountain bighorns, but this will be the state’s first desert bighorn nursery. The DWR is partnering with the Nevada Department of Wildlife to get the initial desert bighorn sheep for the nursery herd. The nursery area can support roughly 150 bighorn sheep. There are currently around 1,500 Rocky Mountain bighorns (Ovis canadensis) and 2,800 desert bighorns (O.c. nelsoni) in Utah.