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Utah DWR Releases Bighorn Sheep, Aims To Restore Wild Habitats

Oct 28, 2019, 3:33 PM | Updated: Nov 8, 2019, 2:59 pm
Over 50 desert bighorn sheep were released near Beaver last week as part of an effort to restore ha...
Over 50 desert bighorn sheep were released near Beaver last week as part of an effort to restore habitats in Utah. (Courtesy Utah DWR)
(Courtesy Utah DWR)

BEAVER, Utah — The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources relocated a small herd of desert bighorn sheep from Nevada to the Mineral Mountains west of Beaver as part of a long-term effort to fill vacant wild sheep habitats.

Wildlife officials said the 51 sheep were captured from a healthy herd in Nevada via helicopter and brought to Utah, where they were released into an ideal location.

“Habitat in the project area, largely composed of granite, rocky spires and cliffs, is ideal but previously vacant sheep habitat,” said DWR wildlife program manager Teresa Griffin. “Bighorn sheep are uniquely adapted to inhabit some of the most rugged areas on earth.”

The Nevada herd was nearing carrying capacity, according to officials, which made it possible to bring the sheep to Utah.

Bighorn sheep were first translocated into Utah in 1973 in Zion National Park, according to the DWR, and over 1,000 sheep have been released into historical habitats across the state.

“Our translocation efforts are an attempt to restore bighorn sheep within their native range,” said DWR regional supervisor Kevin Bunnell.

For more information on bighorn sheep management in Utah, read the Utah Bighorn Sheep Statewide Management Plan on the DWR website.

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Utah DWR Releases Bighorn Sheep, Aims To Restore Wild Habitats