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 .