Nevada Fish & Wildlife Office
Pacific Southwest Region

Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep
(Ovis canadensis sierrae)

 
Click to enlarge: Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Bovidae
Genus: Ovis
Species: canadensis
Subspecies: sierrae
 

Official Status:

Endangered
 

Life History:

The Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep is a large mammal in the family Bovidae.   To avoid deep snow and to find forage during winter, the sheep either occupy high elevation windswept ridges or migrate to lower elevation sagebrush-steppe habitats.  Bighorn sheep are primarily grazers, consuming various plants such as needlegrasses, currant, sagebrush, bitterbrush, buckwheats, and sedges depending on season and location. Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep are diurnal and gregarious with group size and composition depending on gender and season. 

 

Distribution and Habitat:

The Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep occurs in Tuolumne, Mono, Fresno, Inyo, and Tulare counties in California. They inhabit open upland, montane, and alpine habitats with rocky areas along the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada from about 4,000 feet to approximately 14,500 feet.  Most of the sheep live at higher elevations in the subalpine and alpine areas during the summer.
 

Actions / Current Information:

 

09/30/2008
  • Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep 5-Year Review (2.36MB PDF)
    08/05/2008
  • Federal Register Notice: Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Designation of Critical Habitat for the Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep (Ovis canadensis sierrae) and Taxonomic Revision; Final Rule (1.5 MB PDF)
    08/04/2008
  • Economic Analysis of Critical Habitat Designation for the Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep (6.2 MB PDF)
    08/04/2008
  • News Release: Taxonomic Revision And Critical Habitat Designated For Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep
    08/04/2008
  • Frequently Asked Questions: Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep Designation of Critical Habitat and Taxonomic Revision
    02/13/2008
  • Final Recovery Plan for the Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep (Ovis canadensis californiana) (2MB PDF) - View Implementation Progress
    02/05/2008
  • Draft Economic Analysis: Draft Economic Analysis of Critical Habitat Designation for the Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep(4 MB PDF)
    02/05/2008
  • Federal Register Notice: Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Designation of Critical Habitat for the Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep and Proposed Taxonomic Revision and Draft Economic Analysis
    02/05/2008
  • News Release: Economic Analysis of Critical Habitat Proposal for Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep Available for Public Review and Comment
    10/15/2007
  • Updated: Questions and Answers: Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep Proposed Critical Habitat
    10/09/2007
  • Federal Register Notice: Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Designation of Critical Habitat for the Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep and Proposed Taxonomic Revision
    07/25/2007
  • Federal Register Notice: Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Designation of Critical Habitat for the Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep (Ovis canadensis californiana) and Proposed Taxonomic Revision
  • MAP 1 - Unit Index Critical Habitat for Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep (Ovis canadensis californiana) Fresno, Inyo, Mono, Tuolumne and Tulare Counties, California
    Last updated: April 16, 2014