Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep Foundation

Dale Matson

I am not normally a “joiner” but I am a member of the Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep Foundation. These endangered and elusive sheep are strung out along the Sierra Crest from Yosemite to Whitney in small herds. Most folks would not know that Fresno County is home to many of these sheep.

I was fortunate to get a brief glimpse of two sheep two years ago on the 60 Lake Basin trail out of Rae Lakes. They were gone faster than I could get my camera out from the case on my belt. Much of the hiking I have done in the Central Sierras has included long gazes at rock faces in an attempt to spot “boulders with legs” as Elizabeth Wenk described them in her book on the John Muir Trail.

Arguably the most important individual in the Foundation is Dr. John Wehausen, a member of the board of directors. He has been involved in sheep research and relocation for many years. I have had an opportunity to talk with him on the phone and communicate through emails. There are YouTube videos here: and here:

John has always been willing to offer me tips on where I might have the best luck finding a particular herd. The overall growth of the herds has been encouraging with an increase from 500 to 600 sheep in the last two years and the population of all 12 planned herd units. The hope is to continue to expand the populations and habitat.

I received my annual newsletter yesterday and read it twice because of the encouraging progress and dedicated individuals doing this work of restoration of a magnificent and noble species. Thank you all. The organization website is here:
There is a considerable information available on the website and an opportunity to join/donate to this wonderful organization.

The Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep Foundation is dedicated to the future of Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep. P.O. Box 1183, Bishop, CA 93515 (760) 872-2928.

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