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The California Department of Fish and Wildlife, along with volunteers from around the state, has established a new herd of federally endangered Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep.
Historically, Sierra bighorn were abundant throughout the Sierra Nevada; however, by the 1970s, only two herds remained. Disease spread by domestic sheep and unregulated commercial hunting are believed to have caused their demise.
In March 2013, 10 female and four male bighorn sheep were captured from two of the largest existing herds in the Sierra Nevada and reintroduced to the vacant herd unit of Olancha Peak at the southern end of the range in Inyo County. Six additional females were moved to two small northern herds, Convict Creek and Mount Gibbs, for augmentation of those herds.
Following this recent effort, there are now 10 herds of Sierra bighorn between Owens Lake and Mono Lake. Three additional herds are needed to meet recovery goals. The population currently numbers around 500 animals and is up considerably from a low of just over 100 animals.