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Topics: Ovis, Bighorn Sheep, Mammals of the United States Pages: 2 (527 words) Published: July 15, 2013
“ Bighorn Sheep ”
Facts about the bighorn sheep :

~ The bighorn sheep is a species of sheep in North America named for it‘s large horns.

~ Their horns can weigh up to 30 pounds , while the sheep themselves weigh up to 300 pounds.

~ Ovis Canadensis is the scientific name of the bighorn sheep.

~ Male bighorn sheep or "rams" are easily identified by their large spiral horns which grow throughout their lives. An adult ram's horns may measure over 30 inches each in length and reach 15 inches in circumference at the base. Female bighorn or "ewes" have slender, straighter horns that grow throughout their lives to lengths of 8-10" for Rocky Mountain bighorn ewes and 12-17" for desert bighorn ewes. Young bighorn that are less than 1 year of age are referred to as lambs.

~ At the beginning of the nineteenth century, bighorn sheep in North America were estimated to number between 1.5 and 2 million, but today less than 70,000 remain. In the late 1800's, hunting, competition from livestock grazing, and diseases introduced by domestic livestock devastated bighorn populations. Although problems with domestic livestock are subsiding, they still exist and are now accompanied by accelerating habitat loss and human disturbance. Habitat loss and fragmentation are recognized as the most significant threats facing bighorn sheep today. Natural predation from mountain lions, coyotes and bobcats also pose a risk to bighorn populations that have dwindled to low numbers.

~ An entire subspecies of bighorn sheep, the Audubon bighorn, which inhabited parts of Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming and Nebraska was extirpated by 1925. At various times in the early 1900's, bighorn sheep were extirpated from the states of Washington, Oregon, Texas, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, and the Mexican states of Chihuahua and Coahuila. Fortunately, many populations have been re-established through transplanting bighorn sheep from healthy populations to vacant...
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