Endangered Spotlight: Bighorn Sheep

Bighorn sheep/ Ovis canadensis 
Current conservation status: Least concern (previously Endangered)
Population: 15,500-15,700

Jean Beaufort / Publicdomainpictures.net

The bighorn sheep was once endangered, but conservation efforts have brought them back to a stable population. Just as rugged and tough as the sheep, our Bighorn II and Bighorn 17 backpacks are built to last.

About

One look at a male bighorn sheep and one can guess how this species got its name. These huge curved horns can weigh up to 30 pounds in some adult sheep. As magnificent as they look, the horns are actually sought after by collectors and hunters as a prized head trophy.

The bighorn sheep was an endangered species native to North America. They were threatened by overhunting and diseases introduced by European livestock, but wildlife agencies successfully restored bighorn sheep population by relocating them to places they can repopulate. Now thriving, the bighorn sheep is off the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Threats

  • Overhunting – Bighorn sheep can be considered a prized hunting animal, making them targets for hunters and poachers.
  • Diseases – Livestock brought by European settlers introduced parasites and diseases that killed many bighorn sheep.
  • Habitat Loss – Human disturbance and development have caused bighorn sheep to leave their natural habitats of canyons and snowy alpines.

Conservation Efforts

  • Limited hunting quotas that are strictly enforced
  • Transplantation of bighorn sheep to other habitable areas
  • Habitat improvements

What Can You Do

Although they are not considered to be an endangered species anymore, the bighorn sheep still face threats that an dwindle their population. Some non-profit organizations are dedicated to the further protection of this species.

Philipp Haupt / Wikimedia Commons