* Threatened or Endangered
Bighorn Sheep *
: Ovis canadensis
: Rocky Mountains, from British Columbia to Arizona, also introduced to badlands of North Dakota
: Grasses and shrubs
: Weight up to 300 lbs.
: Once common across western North America and numbering in the millions, their numbers were drastically reduced to to unregulated hunting, competition from domestic sheep and disease. Thanks to proper management, they are making a comeback in many areas that they have been reintroduced to.
The impressive horns of the ram are well-known and are used to battle other males for breeding rights. These agile animals are well adapted for scrambling up and down mountains to elude predators and find food. Bighorn Sheep are considered good indicators of land health due to the species sensitivity to human caused problems. If sheep are thriving in an area the overall picture of the land is good. The land near Theodore Roosevelt National Park in western North Dakota is a good place to see these animals in the wild.