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Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep In Sequoia Kings Canyon - Wheeler Ridge

Wheeler Ridge herd movement data

 

Recent Events

  • 06/06/2019 Many Wheeler Ridge sheep have started to move higher into the mountains for the summer making spotting the endangered ungulates more difficult.
  • 04/03/2019 An older ewe tagged as S143 was seen for the first time in about two years. Staff was unaware of her condition during that time span.
  • 02/13/2019 On January 30th a survey was conducted by staff in order to obtain a minimum count of the population for the year.
  • 10/20/2018 New collars were put out in this herd unit in order to continue with important data collection for lambing habitat.
  • 02/14/2018 Most sheep ranged from the front of Wheeler Crest to upper Pine Creek Canyon near the Mill.
  • 02/14/2017 On our annual winter survey we spotted 78 Sierra bighorn, many of which were on the east face of the Wheeler Ridge.

Early winter snows requires migration in deep snow for bighorn
Early winter snows requires migration in deep snow for bighorn

A group of ewes at the metamorphic - granitic boundary common in Pine Creek
A group of ewes at the metamorphic - granitic boundary common in Pine Creek

 

Wheeler Ridge is a population that was intially reestablished in 1982 with 15 ewes. Over the past 35 years the population has grown to over 100 individuals. The Wheeler herd was productive enough to provide source stock for a natural colonization of the Convict Creek herd to the north in about 2009 as well as 11 ewes for translaction to start the Cathedral herd in 2016.

Since the low-elevation winter range is relatively easy to access it is a good place to see bighorn from December to early April. When there is less snow, Pine Creek can be a good viewing area from the paved road, while rougher dirt roads and hiking provide access to the east-side canyons (Wells, Mayfield and Levergate) for years of higher snowfall.



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