Off the List, Good News for Desert Bighorn Sheep

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New Mexico was able to add a new accomplishment to their endangered species program. They took an animal off the endangered species list, not due to extinction but due to a wonderful recovery.

Desert bighorn sheep were near extinction in New Mexico thirty years ago when the recovery program started. There were maybe 50 bighorn sheep and now numbers are around 600. With these numbers the state game commission voted unanimously to remove the desert bighorn sheep from the endangered species list.

In the 80s and 90s the sheep were dying faster than they were being brought into the state. After research they realized the culprit was mountain lions. They increased the mountain lion management in the bighorn areas, and were able to get a successful recovery going.

To raise money for the bighorns tags were auctioned, which would bring in anywhere from $75k to $250k for the desert bighorn program.

The desert bighorn sheep will remain a protected animal for now, with hopefully a growing and healthy population. From The Daily Times.


hunter25's picture

It's great to see such a

It's great to see such a great success story such as this one. Plus it's an animal that you might be able to see and someday hunt si it definately adds to the value in my opinion. Some of the other introduction programs I have no interest in such as the lynx here in Colorado. Tons of money spent in a struggling economy with no real benefit to anyone in my mind. It's good to see they were able to figure out the problems and react to them to achieve this success. Many times it looks like just a guess or there are reasons that they can do little about. Sheep seem to be very easily brought down by many different diseases and are always haveing problems. ANd they can't say they are really still protected totally if they have already ayctioned tags off for them, must be some hunting going on already. My only question with the success story is why did we read about them trading for more from Mexico if they are doing so well already? Unless I got my state wrong but I don't think so.

Retired2hunt's picture

  It is great to read


It is great to read of another state being able to delist an animal from the threatened and endangered list. Great for New Mexico!  Other states are having Bighorn population issues such that they are removing the season totally. These states could enhance their management by taking a look at NM's program and the amount of releases and type of locations involved.  These things are able to be accomplished through the various wildlife programs and sportman's dollars.  Great to see that the management identified the issue(s) and made the appropriate changes - especially the additional opportunity with culling the mountain lion population within the area.


Ca_Vermonster's picture

Very nice! Always good to

Very nice! Always good to hear about an animal, in this case the desert bighorn, recovering from near extinction.  50 to 600 is a tremendous success.  Another great example of how sportsmen, in this case through the tag raffles and donations, were able to affect positive change in regards to a species.  Too many times, people think all we do is Kill, Kill, Kill.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

Good news for New Mexico!  Great success story!

COMeatHunter's picture

Great job New Mexico!

I would agree, that's great news!  Too often we hear about the listing of animals as endangered but it seems rarely we get the news of de-listing.  I hope New Mexico sees this as a huge victory for their management programs and those responsible get some well deserved coudos!

Great job New Mexico!

JSmitty's picture

This is great for the state

This is great for the state and us hunters as well. Maby some day  I can draw one of these tags!!!