Safety concerns raised for Bighorn sheep in Palm Springs

Safety concerns raised for Bighorn sheep in Palm Springs

Claudia Buccio

Bighorn sheep are a staple of desert wildlife, but their appearance in rocky hills around the Coachella Valley still surprises locals.

Back in April, several neighbors near Crescent Drive spotted some Bighorn Sheep. One of those neighbors is Peter Potente, who is hoping more research is done in the are to ensure that this species is safe especially when there is construction.

“If you wanted to see a sheep, you’d go over to the living desert and see them there, but all of a sudden we start seeing this,” he said. “I never saw that many so it leads me to think maybe this is going to be a migration pattern here.”

Road construction is underway near a rocky hill, which made these residents worry about the preservation of this species.

“It’s a desert animal, indigenous to this area, they are a protected species, and I don’t know how well we are protecting by doing this,” Potente said.

According to the Bighorn Institute, natural habitat loss and fragmentation are some of the major threats for bighorn sheep.However, in this case the sheep might not be in danger.

In a statement, the Bighorn Institute said “Bighorn sheep don’t migrate so this development should not impede their movement since they shouldn’t be moving across the urban area.”

Constructions workers said they have not seen any bighorn sheep, only coyotes.

The Bighorn Institute recommends for developers to “put up a fence or a wall to prevent attracting the bighorn sheep down to the homes since the lots abut the mountains.” 

They added, “we also recommend against planting poisonous, non-native oleander in new developments.”

Neighbors would still like to see more research done in this area to make sure these wild animals are safe and sound.