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State wildlife team moving bighorn sheep from Garden of the Gods area

February 2, 2018 Updated: February 3, 2018 at 7:31 am
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photo - A ram eats Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2018, under a net installed earlier this week in Queens Canyon north of Garden of the Gods Park in Colorado Springs. Colorado Parks and Wildlife began Tuesday the week-long process of relocating some of the herd to a canyon near Salida. Next week the net will be dropped on the herd and about 20 ewes and rams will be moved to their new home near Salida.  (The Gazette, Christian Murdock)
A ram eats Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2018, under a net installed earlier this week in Queens Canyon north of Garden of the Gods Park in Colorado Springs. Colorado Parks and Wildlife began Tuesday the week-long process of relocating some of the herd to a canyon near Salida. Next week the net will be dropped on the herd and about 20 ewes and rams will be moved to their new home near Salida. (The Gazette, Christian Murdock) 

About 20 bighorn sheep living near Garden of the Gods soon will have a new home.

A Colorado Parks and Wildlife team in recent days hoisted a 50-by-50-foot net up on poles - part of the weeks-long process of moving the sheep to a canyon east of Salida, said spokesman Bill Vogrin.

Hay and apple pulp have been laid out for about a week to get the sheep accustomed to coming to the area, Vogrin said Tuesday. Now that the net is in place, the sheep likely will be captured and relocated early next week.

"This is the nitty-gritty work of conservation," Vogrin said. "Before the actual event, there's a lot of preparation that goes in."

The sheep will be driven to the canyon in cattle trailers and released.

The number of bighorn sheep being moved represents a small fraction of the herd living near Garden of the Gods, Vogrin said. While setting up the net, Parks and Wildlife staff counted 72 sheep nearby.

No sheep live in the canyon east of Salida, he said. The herd that previously lived there had become diseased.

"One of our missions is to protect the wildlife and to reestablish native animals in Colorado," Vogrin said.

Parks and Wildife routinely plans elaborate, long-term projects to revitalize native species, he said. Bighorn sheep are captured and released about once a year across the state.

"We go to great lengths on a regular basis for projects like these," Vogrin said.

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Contact Ellie Mulder: 636-0198

Twitter: @lemarie

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