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NPS - National Park Service

10/22/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 10/22/2021 10:22

Desert Bighorn Sheep Survey to Begin

News Release Date:
October 22, 2021

Contact:Tom VandenBerg, 432-477-1107

Contact:Thomas Athens, 432-477-1145

BIG BEND NATIONAL PARK, TX - During the week of October 24th, Texas Parks and Wildlife (TPWD) will be surveying bighorn sheep and aoudads (barbary sheep) in Big Bend National Park. TPWD staff will be using a helicopter in the park to survey bighorn and aoudad. This year there will be no lethal control of aoudad and all areas of the park will remain open.The surveys will be conducted in the Persimmon Gap area, the Deadhorse Mountains, Boquillas Canyon, and the Mesa de Anguilla. These surveys will be split into two days. There will be no park closures during these aerial surveys.

Barbary sheep have been in the park for the past three decades and have increased significantly in recent years. Hundreds of Barbary sheep inhabit the park, but the park has only one very small known population of native desert bighorn sheep. Barbary sheep are non-native and control is necessary as they compete with native species including preventing desert bighorn from accessing water, threaten biodiversity, and impair park visitor's ability to experience natural conditions and scenery. Although there will be no lethal control this year, the information gained from these surveys will help direct future control efforts.

This effort is part of Big Bend's long-term, integrated approach to control exotic animals and protect park resources. Management of aoudad is in keeping with the Big Bend Exotic Animal Management Plan and Environmental Assessment, finalized in June, 2018.

To see this plan, visit www.parkplanning.nps.gov/bibe.