November 29th, 2020
Moving on from our afternoon at Zion, we meet one of the park’s endangered residents. A mature desert bighorn sheep walks against traffic on the side of the road.
Declared locally extinct (extirpated) in the 1960s, a herd of 14 desert bighorn were reintroduced in Zion in 1978. In the years since, the herd has grown to more than 500 — a healthy number but currently categorized as endangered.
Desert bighorn sheep can go days without drinking water and sometimes protect themselves by hanging out in dry areas where predators (like mountain lions) can’t survive for lack of water. Desert bighorn live 10 to 20 years and thrive on slickrock terrain where their unique hooves and climbing ability allow them to access areas unreachable by other animals.
With eyes like marbles and horns like cashews, this sheep was a rare and beautiful sight to see.
Photos of the Day: Adding a bit of light to the darkness as we get through the pandemic together. This series features travel photos from my archives, shared with you while staying close to home.