They addressed issues related to the conservation of sheep and their habitat with the goal of raising environmental awareness.
– December 7, 2023 –


The UABC Foundation presented the conference “Population Trend of the Bighorn Sheep in Baja California (1992-2021)”. This lecture was part of the 2023 edition of the Alberto Tapia Landeros Conference Cycle, which is the main environmental education initiative of the Bighorn Sheep Sanctuary. In this cycle of conferences, high-level specialists are presented who address topics related to the conservation of the bighorn sheep and its habitat, with the goal of creating environmental awareness among volunteers and providing relevant and new information on the topics presented.


The speaker was Dr. Guillermo Romero Figueroa, an outstanding researcher with more than thirty years of experience in wildlife management in both Mexico and the United States. He is a research professor at the UABC School of Sciences, where he directs the Wildlife Management and Conservation Laboratory, and a key member of the Comité del Santuario Cimarrón.


According to the presenter, five aerial surveys have been conducted in Baja California to estimate the number of bighorn sheep living in the state: 1992, 1995, 1999, 2010, and 2021. Regarding the results of the flights, he pointed out that from 1992 to 1995 there was an increase in the number of males in the population, which could be due to the ban on sheep hunting that went into effect in 1990; that in 2021 the lowest number of fawns and juveniles was recorded, which could be due to drought and disease; that the population has remained stable since 1992; that it is not possible to determine the trend of sheep populations in Baja California in each area of distribution because each flight was conducted differently.


Details of the results of the 2021 aerial monitoring included the number of sheep observed and estimated in each area of the species’ distribution, as well as the geographic location of the animals’ sightings. Dr. Romero Figueroa mentioned that the areas with the most numerous sheep populations are the mountain ranges of Santa Isabel, La Libertad, Juárez and San Felipe. However, the sierras of Agua de Soda, Las Animas and La Asamblea also have important populations of the species.


The conference concluded by putting the conservation status of bighorn sheep in Baja California into perspective by comparing it to the status of the species in other places. In this regard, the speaker pointed out that while it is true that populations in Baja California have remained stable between 1992 and 2021, in places such as Colorado, Nevada, and New Mexico, bighorn sheep populations have doubled or tripled during the same period. Therefore, according to Dr. Guillermo, it is important to rethink the conservation strategy for Baja California’s bighorn sheep, as the current one has not fulfilled its purpose of increasing the species’ population in the state.

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