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Nevada bighorn sheep now in Utah

Kanab — Twenty bighorn sheep from Nevada have a new home in Utah.

Bighorn sheep
Wearing orange ear tags, the sheep wait for their trip to Utah.

Photo by Teresa Bonzo

Earlier this month, biologists with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) released 20 desert bighorn sheep into the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in southern Utah.

The sheep were captured by Nevada Department of Wildlife biologists near Lake Mead in southern Nevada.

"We released a total of 19 ewes and one young ram into the desert near Croton and Little Valley on the Kaparowitz sheep unit," says Teresa Bonzo, regional wildlife manager for the DWR. "Several of the ewes are pregnant. Releasing these sheep will really bolster the population in this area over the next few years."

Bonzo says the Kaparowitz bighorn sheep herd is doing well. The sheep that were added to the herd will help it do even better. "This transplant will ensure genetic stability in the herd," she says. "And we've also brought more sheep into an area that can handle more animals."

Capture

The sheep were captured in Nevada using nets fired from a helicopter. After the sheep became entangled in the nets, wildlife capture specialists placed the animals in slings and then transported them by helicopter to a staging area. After being gently lowered to the ground, biologists quickly checked the sheep for injuries and disease. Then the animals were loaded into horse trailers for their trip to Utah.

Once they arrived at the release site, DWR biologists opened the doors to the trailer. The sheep leaped from the trailer and ran into the hills.

Bonzo says all of the sheep made the trip without injury, and they're doing well in their new home.

Working together

Nevada and Utah have a long history of cooperating on various wildlife projects. Last year, several pronghorn were captured in Utah and sent to Nevada.

The Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Forest Service, the Nevada Department of Wildlife, Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife, the Foundation for North American Wild Sheep and the DWR worked together to make the recent Utah sheep transplant happen.

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