NEW MEXICO’S DESERT BIGHORNS
TRUTH OR CONSEQUENCES — The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish will conduct a public meeting Nov. 13 in Truth or Consequences to discuss the history, status and future of desert bighorn sheep recovery efforts in New Mexico.
The meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 13 at the City Commission Chambers in the Civic Center Complex, 405 W. Third, in T or C.
Desert bighorns were placed on the New Mexico endangered species list in 1980, and by 2001 there were fewer than 170 bighorns in herds statewide. Transplants, cougar control and monitoring helped increase the population to more than 400 this year, prompting a proposal to downlist the bighorns’ status from endangered to threatened.
The first bighorn sightings in the Caballo Mountains were in 2003 when sheep apparently migrated south from the Fra Cristobal Mountains east of Elephant Butte Lake. A 2008 survey counted 24 bighorns in the Caballos, but the survey covered only part of the mountains, so there could be more.
To further efforts to eventually delist the species, the Department is considering options to augment the existing Caballo bighorn herd with future transplants. Department biologists will be available at the meeting to discuss the possibility and how it may benefit surrounding communities.
For more information about desert bighorns in New Mexico, please visit the Department website, www.wildlife.state.nm.us and click on the conservation tab. Information also is available by calling Bighorn Sheep Biologist Elise Goldstein, (505) 476-8041.