Last year only Tiburon Island was surveyed from the air, but this year all the sheep habitat of Baja, Sonora and Coahuila were surveyed. Biologists from Mexican wildlife agencies and from FNAWS looked at sheep population levels as well as age and sex structure. Lee was still analyzing the report but says one of the highlights is that Tiburon Island's sheep population shows a record number of sheep overall, and more older-class rams than ever.
Last year, Mexican wildlife officials counted 306 sheep during the aerial survey of Tiburon Island, which lies just off the coast of Sonora. This year, they counted 366 sheep. Lee was quick to point out that these are only the sheep they actually saw, so real numbers should be even higher. The increased population means wildlife authorities will be able to expand their transplanting program this coming year.
As for the reports elsewhere in Mexico, Lee was still crunching numbers when I called, but he said sheep numbers overall were in good shape in Mexico. Another good development is that the Seri Indian Community on Tiburon Island has revamped their guiding and outfitting program. They have hired two people with a tourism background to upgrade their services. Hunters going to Tiburon now will be met at the airport by English-speaking representatives who will escort them through the gun permit process and transport them to the island. Other changes are designed to increase the efficiency of the guiding and outfitting parts of the operation.
Over in Baja California Norte, hunting of desert bighorns is going to remain closed this coming season, but in a surprising move, the governor of that state met with wildlife officials this summer to request participating in the aerial surveys........(continued)