According to biologist John Wehausen's estimates, there were "probably at least 1,000 bighorn" ranging in the Sierra Nevada prior to 1850. By 1995 there were 100. They made the federal Endangered Species List in 2000. By 2002, with a little help from human beings, the number had climbed to 250. Today there are an estimated 400 individuals, with sub-herds fragmented into five discrete regions.
A recently proposed multi-agency recovery plan now calls for the establishment of 417,577 acres of critical habitat across five California counties, off-limits for domestic sheep and hungry mountain lions alike. The plan would cost an estimated $26.7 million over the next 20 years.
"It looks like a fair amount of money," Bob Williams, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, told the Fresno Bee, "but compared to other species, this is relatively small, and the costs are in line with what the species needs."
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Bighorn Page.
Critical Habitat Map.
Sierra Nevada Bighorn Foundation
The documentary film.