Thursday, October 23, 2008

Desert bighorn sheep

Around Tucson in Arizona, desert bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis) can be seen in the rugged Santa Catalina Mountains or, easier accessible, at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, where the above picture was taken (also see terragalleria). As a panel explains, desert bighorn live in rough and rocky, low desert mountains. The precipitous mountain ridges provide refuge from coyotes and pumas. Rocky drainages contain rare water catchments in this arid environment. The gradual lower slopes and dry washes furnish the sheep with a sparse forage of jojoba, palo verde and mesquite.

More on desert bighorn sheep at Wikipedia, in Wildlife Water Water Developments and Desert Bighorn Sheep in the Southwesetern United States, and in The Southwestern Naturalist: Barrel Cacti Consumption by Desert Bighorn Sheep by Greg D. Warrick and Paul R. Krausman, 34(4):483-486, December 1989.

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