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Bighorn Sheep Relocation

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Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
A curious mother bighorn sheep approaches the open window of the photographer’s car on Mt. Evans Road near Summit Lake, surrounded by clouds, Sept. 11, 2023.
Bighorn sheep

The Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep springs up near-vertical cliff faces with ease. Special hooves help them snag little protrusions in the rocks and give them grip. Coming down, the bighorn can leap as much as 20 feet, spreading its toes to use as brakes on dizzying descents.

Bighorns were once plentiful, before disease and hunting brought them to the brink of extinction in the 1880s. Just a few hundred remained in 1944 when biologists lured about two dozen into a corral at Tarryall Reservoir in South Park to grow their numbers once again across the state. One little band, on the way to relocation on Pikes Peak, got stuck in Green Mountain Falls when the truck broke down. The driver released the animals, they headed east, and ended up in the Garden of the Gods. Their descendants now draw thousands of visitors each year to see the most famous herd of the Colorado state mammal, the Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep.

About Colorado Postcards

Colorado Postcards

Colorado Postcards are snapshots of our colorful state in sound. They give brief insights into our people and places, our flora and fauna, and our past and present, from every corner of Colorado.