Species / International Ovis

South Baja Desert Bighorn



Confined to the southern portion of the Baja California peninsula in the state of Baja California Sur. More specifically, they can be found south of the 28th parallel line. Specifically, south of a straight line down through Isla Navidad and through Guerrero Negro and continued across the Baja to the Gulf of California. There is a well-managed, healthy population of these desert sheep on Carmen Island (Isla Carmen) as well as several of the South Baja Ejidos.


Desert sheep from Baja California can be differentiated from other desert bighorn sheep in North America, because of their larger size. Anatomical differences extend beyond the horns. For example, desert bighorn of the weemsi subspecies are darker than other desert bighorn and the ewes have the longest horns of all North America desert wild sheep.


A 650 mile portion of the South Baja California peninsula is occupied by the weemsi subspecies. The habitat consists of irregular, sometimes discontinuous escarpment running north and south of the length of the peninsula, falling off the eastern side. The varied topography includes mountain ridges, hills and tablelands, canyons and outwash plains, largely granitic or lava. Bighorns are found chiefly on the eastern side of this long elevated tract.


The population of desert sheep in South Baja is cared for, conserved and harvested by the Mexican government and private land owners very rigorously. Thus there is a huntable population, although small.

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