Counting Sheep


The results of the 41st Annual Anza-Borrego Desert State Park bighorn sheep count are in and the news is good: 329 Peninsular bighorns were tallied, up from 255 last year, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.

 In what has been called a weekend of “citizen science”, volunteers from all over the Southland and as far away as Maryland gathered in Anza-Borrego, east of San Diego, from July 1 to 3 to help rangers and wildlife experts get an idea of the health of the park’s sheep population. While the searing 100+ degree temperatures were not ideal for the sheep counters, the summer is the best time to count sheep in the desert because the extreme heat forces them to watering holes where they can be more easily be observed.

Combined with data from helicopter surveys, the count suggests the sheep population continues to rebound from lows in the mid 1990s, said Mark Jorgensen, a former superintendent of the state park who has attended all but a handful of the surveys.

“We’re very satisfied,” he said. “There are healthy numbers of animals out there.”

For more information, and to find out how to volunteer for next years count, visit the Anza-Borrego Foundation’s website.