In 2007 crews with the state Department of Game and Fish, the U.S. Forest Service and Taos Pueblo used drop nets baited with salt blocks to capture 25 sheep in the Pecos Wilderness. The animals were examined, given shots, outfitted with radio collars and trucked to the release site along the Rio Grande Gorge just south of Taos.
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It marked the first time Rocky Mountain bighorn have been released on land managed by the BLM.
The sheep were released midway along the 82-mile Rio Grande Gorge, which in areas is 800 feet deep, with the Rio Grande river, the nation’s third-longest, below.
The gorge has unlimited rock outcroppings where sheep can keep an eye out for those predators that dare to navigate the steep cliffs. It also has water and enough native grub to sustain a sizable herd. In November of 2010 the population estimate was 112-120.