rocky mountain bighorn sheep


Bighorn Sheep near Golden, BC

The rocky mountain bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis), is blue listed (at risk) in British Columbia. In winter, these animals spend as much as 86% of their time within 100 metres of "escape terrain" which enables them to evade predators.

Map

Biodiversity Interactive Map - Bighorn Sheep

Range

Distributed discontinuously in the Rocky Mountains from the Narraway and Kakwa drainages south to Golden, then continuously south through the Rockies to the U.S. border; and from the Chilcotin Plateau (north of Anahim Lake) south to the U.S. border. Wildlife managers have translocated Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep to  several locations in B.C.; in the Columbia Basin, the Lower Arrow and Salmo herds are both introduced populations.

Most numerous in the Rocky Mountains from Golden south to the U.S. border. Discontinuous in the northern portion of the Columbia Basin Rockies.

Habitat

Bighorn sheep occur in mesic to xeric, alpine to desert grasslands or shrub-steppe in mountains, foothills, or river canyons.

Reproduction

  • Gestation lasts about 175 days.
  • Lambing generally peaks in March in desert populations, May (occasionally April or June) in the remainder of range. 
  • Litter size is usually 1, rarely 2.

Listing and Date

Listing Date
B.C. List Blue
COSEWIC
SARA

Threats to Species

  • Habitat loss (degradation and fragmentation)
  • Livestock ranching (disease transmission mainly domestic sheep), range depletion and resource competition
  • Predation by coyotes and cougars
  • Harassment by the public
  • Fire suppression (forest ingrowth and encroachment into grasslands).

Select Reports

Full Report Listing (most recent on top):

For more information on this species, visit The BC Species and Ecosystem Explorer and enter "bighorn sheep" in the species Name field.

 

SPECIES

Amphibians
Columbia Spotted Frog
Long-toed Salamander
Northern Leopard Frog
Western Toad

Birds
Common Nighthawk
Great Blue Heron
Harlequin Duck
Lewis’s Woodpecker
Northern Goshawk
Sharp-tailed Grouse
Vaux’s Swift
Western Screech Owl
Yellow Warbler
Yellow-breasted Chat

Fish
Bull Trout
White Sturgeon

Flora
Common Camas
Whitebark Pine

Mammals
Badger
Big Brown Bat
Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep
Elk
Grizzly Bear
Selkirk Least Chipmunk
Moose
Mountain Caribou
Mountain Goat
Mule Deer
California Myotis
Fringed Myotis
Little Brown Myotis
Long-eared Myotis
Long-legged Myotis
Northern Myotis
Yuma Myotis
Silver-Haired Myotis
Townsend's Big-eared Bat
White-tailed Deer
Wolverine
Yellow-pine Chipmunk

Reptiles
Western Painted Turtle
Western Yellow-bellied Racer
Western Skink

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