One of Colorado’s State Symbols

Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, our state animal, are more than a cool fixture on the walls of Colorado canyons.

Bighorn sheep are one of four native sheep species to inhabit the North American continent and the only one to reside in Colorado. Male sheep, called rams, start growing their iconic horns at birth, which continue to grow throughout their lifespan. Like a tree, a ram’s horn has rings that reflect each year of their life. They’re often referred to as “growth rings” or “annuli ridges.”

 

Excellent on steep surfaces, the bighorn sheep’s spongy hooves make them sure-footed on narrow, jagged ridges and out of reach of predators. At the turn of the 20th century, the bighorn sheep population began to suffer. But thanks to decades of careful conservation efforts, their population numbers have recovered, becoming a management success that helped solidify the value of wildlife to our state! Ewe herd it here − don’t be sheepish to celebrate this triumph!

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