New Mexico bighorn sheep historically speaking have never been widespread in the Northern part of the Land of Enchantment. There’s documented evidence of New Mexico bighorn sheep in White Rock Canyon, the Monzano Mountains and the Pecos and Wheeler Peak Wilderness areas. By the early 20th century, the bighorn had been essentially wiped out due to hunting and diseases brought in state by domestic livestock.
In 2006, 25 sheep were captured in the Pecos Wilderness and transported to public land on the West Rim of the Rio Grande Gorge, thus joining 23 bighorn sheep already in place across the Rio Grande on Taos Pueblo Tribal Lands. According to Pam Herrera-Olivas, in 2007, a wildlife biologist for the BLM’s Taos Field Office, “the new herd produced 12 lambs this spring, and they’re in excellent health.”
Their numbers have continued to increase in the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument. On this day I came upon the East Rim Group on Taos Pueblo land. My count was 92 in all, rams, ewes and babies. Wow.
(click on image to enlarge)
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