By Miriam Raftery
Photo by Daren Sefcik
June 1, 2017 (Borrego Springs) – The 47th annual Anza Borrego bighorn sheep count is set for June 29th through July 1st, with a mandatory orientation on June 17th for all new counters and recommended for those who participated in the past. The count will go on despite the death of its long-time leader, Ranger Steve Bier.
“We were unable to find the master sheep count mailing list,” states a letter from Anza Borrego Desert State Park Superintendent Kathy Dice and volunteer Sheep County Coordinator Mark Jorgensen, who are organizing a new sheep counting team. If you know of counters, please forward their contact information to AB.Sheepcount@parks.ca.gov.
Sheep population in the park are estimated at 500 and totals for the entire Peninsular Desert Bighorn ranges are estimated at only about 900 sheep.
In addition to volunteer sheep counters, backpackers and four-wheel drive vehicles are needed to help get volunteers into some count sites.
For those willing to brave triple-digit heat, the count not only helps document bighorn populations locally, but also provides a unique opportunity to see and photograph these elusive and amazing desert bighorns.
For more information and applications, see http://theabf.org/calling-all-sheep-counters .