Toggle Header

Desert Bighorn Sheep


Desert Bighorn Sheep (Ovis canadensis mexicana)

Principal Biologist(s)

Mike Philips

Project Location

Armendaris Ranch, NM

Conservation Problem

Range-wide declines of desert bighorn sheep caused by:

  • Overhunting (especially in the late 1800s and early 1900s)
  • Disease
  • Predation

Conservation Status

  • Previous status: New Mexico state listed as endangered in 1980
  • Removed from state list in 2011

Project Goals & Objectives

Contribute to desert bighorn sheep recovery by establishing a viable, self-sustaining herd of desert bighorn sheep in the Fra Cristobal Mountains that also can serve as a donor population to support the species throughout New Mexico. To this end, our desert bighorn sheep project incorporated three core objectives:

  1. Increase population numbers to the point where the herd is large enough to serve as a source herd for transplants to other areas in New Mexico.
  2. Advance research when compatible with population establishment.
  3. Permit a limited recreational hunt at some time in the future.


Project Background