Volunteers Needed for Bighorn Sheep Survey

Three agencies working to survey bighorn sheep in the San Gabriel Mountains are seeking volunteers to assist in the annual sheep count.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), and the Society for Conservation of Bighorn Sheep are seeking individuals to assist biologists March 1-2, 2014 (Saturday evening and all day Sunday).

No survey experience is necessary to participate but volunteers must attend a mandatory orientation on Saturday, March 1 at 6 p.m. at the Angeles National Forest Supervisor’s Office in Arcadia.

Volunteers will hike to designated observation sites in the San Gabriel Mountains early Sunday morning to count and record bighorn sheep. Volunteer groups will be led by a representative from either CDFW, USFS or the Society. Participants must be at least 16 years old and capable of hiking one mile in rugged terrain, although some survey routes are longer. In general, hikes will not be along trails and accessing survey points will involve scrambling over boulders, climbing up steep slopes and/or bush-whacking through chaparral.

Volunteers are encouraged to bring binoculars or spotting scopes in addition to hiking gear. Mountain weather can be unpredictable and participants should be prepared to spend several hours hiking and additional time making observations in cold and windy weather. Volunteers will need to start hiking early Sunday morning.

For volunteers who wish to camp, complimentary campsites will be available on a first-come, first-served basis at the Applewhite Campground in Lytle Creek on the night of March 1, 2014.

Surveys for bighorn sheep in the San Gabriel range have been conducted annually since 1979. The mountain range once held an estimated 740 sheep, which made the San Gabriel population the largest population of desert bighorn sheep in California. The bighorn population declined more than 80 percent through the 1980s but appears to be on the increase with recent estimates yielding approximately 400 animals.

Please sign up online at http://www.sangabrielbighorn.org/San_Gabriel_Bighorn_Sheep_Home.html . If you do not have access to the internet, you may call either (909) 627-1613 or (909) 584-9012 to receive a volunteer packet.

Media Contacts:
Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8944
John Miller, USFS Communications, (909) 382-2788
Norm Lopez, Society for Conservation (805) 431-2824

A bighorn sheep ram on a hill overlooking desert

Bighorn sheep

Scientists Search for Clues to Disease Outbreak in Bighorn Sheep

A National Park Service employee who was inspecting wildlife guzzlers found four desert bighorn dead on Old Dad Mountain, 15 miles southeast of Baker, California, during the week of May 20. The employee also observed other sick animals that appeared to be weak and unsteady with labored breathing. Laboratory   analysis of blood and tissue samples taken from one animal indicated that it had pneumonia. This disease may be acquired in desert bighorn populations from domestic sheep or goats and is usually fatal to bighorn.

Biologists from the National Park Service and California Department of Fish and Wildlife are conducting a field survey to determine the scope of this wildlife disease outbreak. Using volunteers from the Society for the Conservation of Bighorn Sheep and the Sierra Club to expand their capacity, biologists are visiting springs and guzzlers where bighorn congregate on Old Dad Mountain and in nearby areas to determine the extent and seriousness of the problem.

“While we do not yet know the full extent of this disease event, we are taking this situation seriously. Bighorn sheep are highly susceptible to pneumonia,” said Ben Gonzales, Senior Wildlife Veterinarian with CDFW’s Wildlife Investigations Laboratory.

Scientists believe there are 200 to 300 desert bighorn in this particular population.

“The herd of desert bighorn sheep in the Old Dad Mountain area is one of the largest native populations in the Mojave Desert,” said Mojave National Preserve Superintendent Stephanie Dubois. “Scientists from the National Park Service and  California Department of Fish and Wildlife and working together to learn all they can about this disease outbreak so that we can do everything possible to reduce its impact.”

Media Contacts:
Mike Taugher, CDFW Communications, (916) 591-0140
Linda Slater, National Park Service, (760) 252-6122

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CDFW Creates First Bighorn Sheep Herd in 25 Years

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), along with volunteers from around the state, has established a new herd of federally endangered Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep.

“This is the first reintroduction effort of a new herd of Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep since 1988,” said Tom Stephenson, CDFW bighorn recovery program leader.

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Historically, Sierra bighorn were abundant throughout the Sierra Nevada; however, by the 1970s, only two herds remained. Disease spread by domestic sheep and unregulated commercial hunting are believed to have caused their demise.

“Many endangered species remain on the brink of extinction with poor prospects for recovery after they receive federal protection,” said Stephenson. “Through our conservation efforts, we have a unique opportunity to reach recovery goals for an alpine specialist that is native only to California.”

During the week of March 25, 2013 10 female and four male bighorn sheep were captured from two of the largest existing herds in the Sierra Nevada and reintroduced to the vacant herd unit of Olancha Peak at the southern end of the range in Inyo County.  Six additional females were moved to two small northern herds, Convict Creek and Mount Gibbs, for augmentation of those herds.

Following this recent effort, there are now 10 herds of Sierra bighorn between Owens Lake and Mono Lake. Three additional herds are needed to meet recovery goals. The population currently numbers around 500 animals and is up considerably from a low of just over 100 animals.

A video news story is available at http://youtu.be/5KOMCxxTL6U

Note: High-resolution photos and video are available for use at ftp://ftp.dfg.ca.gov/oceo

Media Contacts:
Tom Stephenson, CDFW Wildlife Supervisor, (760) 873-4305
Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8944

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Volunteers Needed for Bighorn Sheep Survey

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and the Society for Conservation of Bighorn Sheep (SCBS) are seeking volunteers to assist biologists on March 9 and 10 (Saturday evening and all day Sunday).

No survey experience is necessary to participate but volunteers must attend an orientation on Saturday, March 9, at 6:00 p.m. at the Angeles National Forest Supervisor’s Office in Arcadia.

Volunteers will hike to designated observation sites in the San Gabriel Mountains early Sunday morning to count and record bighorn sheep. A representative from CDFW, USFS or the Society will lead volunteer groups. Participants must be at least 16 years old and capable of hiking one mile in rugged terrain, although most survey routes are longer. In general, hikes will not be along trails. Accessing survey points will involve scrambling over boulders, climbing up steep slopes, and bush-whacking through chaparral.

Volunteers are encouraged to bring binoculars or spotting scopes in addition to hiking gear. Mountain weather can be unpredictable and participants should be prepared to spend several hours hiking and additional time making observations in cold and windy weather. Volunteers will need to start hiking early Sunday morning. For volunteers who wish to camp, complimentary campsites will be available to volunteers on a first-come, first-served basis at the Applewhite Campground in Lytle Creek on the night of March 9.

Surveys for bighorn sheep in the San Gabriel range have been conducted annually since 1979. The mountain range once held an estimated 740 sheep, which made the San Gabriel population the largest population of desert bighorn sheep in California. The bighorn population declined by more than 80 percent during the 1980s but appears to be increasing now. Recent estimates have put the population at about 400 animals.

Please sign up online at http://www.sangabrielbighorn.org. If you do not have access to the Internet, you may call either (626) 574-5287 or (909) 584-9012 to receive a volunteer packet.

Media Contacts:
Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8944
John Miller, USFS Communications, (909) 382-2788
Norm Lopez, Society for Conservation of Bighorn Sheep,(805) 431-2824

California Desert Bighorn Sheep Tag Sells for $45,000

A California Desert Bighorn Sheep tag sold for $45,000 at the 41st Safari Club International Convention in Reno, Nevada.   The tag was sold through the Safari Club International Foundation (SCI Foundation). Each year the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) authorizes the sale of a limited number of big game permits through various conservation organizations to support wildlife programs in the state. All proceeds from the sale will be used to fund conservation efforts in California.

The tag was sold to Jim Craig of Indiana to hunt Zone 2, the Kelso Peak and Old Dad Mountains in San Bernardino County. The season for this tag will run from Nov. 2, 2013 to Feb. 2, 2014. Craig has purchased a California Desert Bighorn Auction tag for three years running. He is an ardent sheep hunter and donates to bighorn sheep conservation projects along with buying auction tags. He cites California’s wildlife management and personnel as some of the best in the West.

“California Fish and Wildlife biologists have done an excellent job at managing their desert bighorn sheep population,” said Craig. “We all have to chip in and help with conservation efforts.”

Most of the sheep tags issued each year are allotted through a randomized drawing; two are available for auction and one through a fund raising randomized drawing. In 2012, CDFW issued 27 California Desert Bighorn sheep tags for specific units from Imperial County to the White Mountain Units. To date 23 hunters harvested sheep. The number of rams to be harvested each year is based on biological surveys and herd health.

California Desert Bighorn Sheep tags are one of the most coveted and prized tags. Each year more than $200,000 is raised by the three Desert Bighorn Sheep tags at auction and the fundraising randomized drawing. By law, revenue from sales of fundraising tags is deposited into a Big Game Account and used in the CDFW respective species management program. Generally, three bighorn sheep, 10 deer, three elk and two pronghorn antelope tags are available for auction annually.

“Non-profit conservation organizations, like SCI Foundation, that auction conservation tags provided by CDFW play a vital role in helping obtain funding for conservation projects,” said Eric Loft, Wildlife Branch Chief. “In 2012 CDFW received a record $546,010 for research and management from auction and randomized drawing tags.”

This year’s second Desert Bighorn Sheep auction tag, the open zone tag, will be auctioned at the California Wild Sheep Foundation Banquet in Carmichael, Calif. on April 27. For more information on this tag go to: www.cawsf.org.

Media Contacts:
Regina Abella, Desert Bighorn Sheep Coordinator, (916) 445-3728
Harry Morse, CDFW Communications, (916) 323-1478

Volunteers Needed for Bighorn Sheep Survey

Media Contacts:
Andrew Hughan, DFG Communications, (916) 322-8944
John Miller, USFS Communications, (909) 382-2788

Three agencies working to survey the bighorn sheep are seeking volunteers to assist in the annual sheep count in the San Gabriel Mountains.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The California Department of Fish and Game (DFG), the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), and the Society for Conservation of Bighorn Sheep are seeking individuals to assist biologists on March 3 and 4, 2012 (Saturday evening and all day Sunday).

No survey experience is necessary to participate but volunteers must attend a mandatory orientation on Saturday, March 3, at 6 p.m. at Verdemont Community Center and Library in San Bernardino.

Volunteers will hike to designated observation sites in the San Gabriel Mountains early Sunday morning to count and record bighorn sheep. Volunteer groups will be led by a representative from either DFG, USFS or the Society. Participants must be at least 16 years old and capable of hiking one mile in rugged terrain, although some survey routes are longer. In general, hikes will not be along trails and accessing survey points will involve scrambling over boulders, climbing up steep slopes and/or bush-whacking through chaparral.

Volunteers are encouraged to bring binoculars or spotting scopes in addition to hiking gear. Mountain weather can be unpredictable and participants should be prepared to spend several hours hiking and additional time making observations in cold and windy weather. Volunteers will need to start hiking early Sunday morning.

For volunteers who wish to camp, complimentary campsites will be available on a first-come, first-served basis at the Applewhite Campground in Lytle Creek on the night of March 3, 2012.

Surveys for bighorn sheep in the San Gabriel range have been conducted annually since 1979. The mountain range once held an estimated 740 sheep, which made the San Gabriel population the largest population of desert bighorn sheep in California. The bighorn population declined more than 80 percent through the 1980s but appears to be on the increase with recent estimates yielding approximately 400 animals.

Please sign up online at www.sangabrielbighorn.org. If you do not have access to the Internet, you may call either (626) 574-5287 or (909) 382-2870 to have a volunteer packet mailed to you.

Nonprofit Groups Raise Funds With California Hunting Tags

Media Contact:
Victoria Barr, DFG Wildlife Branch, (916) 445-4034

Application deadline is October 5 at 3 p.m.

The Department of Fish and Game (DFG) invites nonprofit organizations to help wildlife by auctioning big game hunting license tags for the 2012-13 season. These tags will allow the highest bidder to hunt bighorn sheep, deer, elk and pronghorn antelope in California. There are only 13 of these special fund-raising tags reserved for 501(c)(3) nonprofit groups to sell and they’re sure to draw many participants to any fund-raising event.

Nonprofit organizations compete for a chance to auction these special fund-raising tags, which hunters can only buy through such auctions. The possibility of winning such a rare prize attracts bidders to the groups’ fund-raising events, which helps them raise more money for their organizations.

A call for applications and all required application forms are on the DFG website at www.dfg.ca.gov/wildlife/hunting/fundraising/index.html. Applications must be submitted by 3 p.m. October 5, 2011.

Fish and Game Code section 4334 requires the proceeds from the sale of these few tags to be returned to DFG to fund programs that benefit bighorn sheep, deer, elk and pronghorn antelope. In last year’s auctions, tags for hunting three bighorn sheep, two pronghorn antelope, two elk and eight deer raised more than $402,000 for the research and management of these native wildlife species.

Organizations that have previously applied or expressed interest in future opportunities to sell these tags have been notified by e-mail.

Representatives of nonprofit groups without Internet access may request a printed application package by calling the DFG Wildlife Branch at (916) 445-4034, sending a FAX to (916) 445-4048, or writing to:

Ms. Victoria Barr
DFG Wildlife Branch
1812 Ninth Street
Sacramento, CA  95811

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