Exit78 Photo of the Day #3
Bronze Sculpture of Desert Bighorn Sheep Ram, Visitor Center, Arches National Park, Utah, September 21, 2011 (Pentax K-r)
Desert Bighorn Sheep1
Desert bighorn sheep are some of the most intriguing mammals of canyon country. They are wary of human contact, and blend so well into the terrain they inhabit, that sightings are a special event. Once feared of becoming extinct, the desert bighorn are making a tentative comeback in southeast Utah due to a comprehensive reintroduction effort by the National Park Service.
Desert or Nelson’s bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis nelsoni) are considered by most biologists to be a unique subspecies. Desert bighorns have adapted to hot, dry climates, unlike their Rocky Mountain cousins, and have longer legs, lighter coats and smaller bodies. Bighorn sheep are common in ancestral Puebloan and Fremont pictographs, an indication of their presence and prominence in indigenous cultures. Explorers in the late 1600s estimated that more than two million desert bighorn once roamed the southwest.
- Bighorn Sheep – National Park Service, Arches National Park