Watch: Boosting bighorn numbers in Oregon

Biologists are monitoring an important California bighorn sheep population

In southeastern Oregon, biologists are monitoring an important California bighorn sheep population. The Hart Mountain bighorn herd was the first successful reintroduction of California bighorns (Ovis canadensis californiana) in the state. Some 20 sheep were introduced in the 1950s, and they have since become the source for California bighorn reintroduction throughout Oregon, but in recent years it faced precipitous declines. In January, biologists conducted capture-and-release work on Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge as part of ongoing efforts with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to increase the bighorn population there. The sheep are coping with encroachment of juniper and other invasive plants, which limit the availability of nutrients for them. The effort is part of an initiative spanning Idaho, Oregon and Nevada among state and federal agencies, Tribes, Oregon State University and wild sheep nonprofits.

Watch the video below.

Header Image: Biologists are monitoring the Hart Mountain bighorn herd, which faces threats from invasive plants. Credit: Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife