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1 Bighorn Sheep, 2 Bighorn Sheep... The Count Is Coming Soon

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Did you know the San Gabriel Mountains are home to hundreds of bighorn sheep?

The native, hooved mammals live in pockets of rugged and steep terrain. They’re related to the desert bighorn that live in the Mojave Desert.

Next month, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife — along with 250 volunteers — will be conducting an annual count of the sheep.

Senior Wildlife Biologist Jeff Villepique has been running the count for the last twelve years or so.

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“It is one of our iconic, native species in California. Just in their natural distribution, there aren’t a whole lot of them. Somewhere less than 5,000 Bighorn Sheep in California,” said Villepique.

Villepique said the population of sheep has significance: studies suggest these animals are bellwethers to climate change.

The count happens March 1st, but signups for volunteers are now closed due to an “overwhelming response.” Results are expected in mid-March.